Self-Regulate, While You Still Can

August 9, 2018: Self-Regulate, While You Still Can

I read recently that Mexico is the latest country to crack down on methane emissions from its oil and gas wells, and is even looking to use some regulations that were established by the Environmental Defense Fund.

Mexico’s President-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, made the announcement as part of a $16 billion investment plan to boost flagging oil production, refinery capacity and electrical generation.

Drew Nelson, international affairs director of the Environmental Defense Fund said, “Mexico has shown real leadership in developing sound regulations to address methane pollution. The draft rules draw on learnings from other oil and gas jurisdictions already successfully controlling methane emissions across North America.”

This initiative is commendable, but I believe that programs such as ONE Future also serve as a great example of the benefits of self-regulation based on science rather than arbitrarily set goals. If companies are able to achieve measurable results on their own, they won’t be at the mercy of the “one size fits all” regulations that governments might impose, not to mention the expense which will ultimately affect the end users.

ONE Future’s members begin with a focus on the outcome we want to achieve. In the case of methane emissions, our desired outcome is to utilize a voluntary performance-based approach to collectively achieve an average rate of emissions across all facilities that is equivalent to one percent (or less) of total produced and delivered natural gas.

With that goal in mind, each member company has the flexibility to deploy their capital where it will be maximally effective in reducing emissions. For one company that may be deploying an innovative technology, for another modifying a work practice, or another retiring an asset. To demonstrate credible and measurable results, ONE Future companies agree to measure their emissions and track their progress over time according to uniform, EPA-approved reporting protocols. This is effective, because most studies demonstrate that the majority of methane emissions come from a small fraction of sources. Our approach allows companies to focus their resources on identifying and addressing those sources.

If you have questions or are interested in becoming a member, we hope you’ll reach out.

Richard Hyde, Executive Director