Methane Emissions Down 47% Locally

A new report shows that methane emissions from oil and natural gas development continue to decline in many of the top basins across the United States even as oil and gas production continues to increase.

The findings are based on data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program for the years 2011-2016.

Locally, methane emissions have fallen by 47 percent in the San Juan Basin since 2011, from 8.6 mmt to 4.6 mmt (million metric tons).

In fact, methane emissions are declining everywhere WPX operates, including the Permian Basin in southeastern New Mexico and the Williston Basin in North Dakota.

So how’s this possible? In addition to investing in dedicated in-house staff who specialize in air quality and environmental protection, here are a couple steps we’ve taken:

– voluntary green completions on oil wells to minimize vented gas and only flare gas when conditions are not amenable for sales (e.g., gas quality)

– monthly inspections are being conducted on closed-vent systems used to route emissions from tanks to vapor recovery units and emission control devices

– our San Juan facilities utilize enclosed combustors, flares, vapor recovery towers and vapor recovery units. 

– our San Juan SCADA systems monitor and have an alarm for tank pressures that indicate possible venting so that repairs can be made as quickly as possible.

You can learn more about our comprehensive methane emissions management program in our guide we published online.

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