January 2021, Vol. 248, No. 1


ONE Future Data Shows Methane Goal Eclipsed

Special to P&GJ  

ONE Future, a coalition of 32 natural gas companies, said its 2019 report on methane showed the companies registered an intensity number of 0.334%, beating its 1% goal by 67%.  

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

To demonstrate quantifiable results, members agree to measure company emissions and track progress over time, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved reporting protocols. The results reflect reporting from 24 of ONE Future’s member companies.  

ONE Future members in each of the sectors show the following 2019 intensity results versus their baseline goals:  

  • Production: intensity rate of 0.085% vs. goal of 0.28%, beating the goal by 70%  
  • Gathering and boosting: intensity rate of 0.033% vs. goal of 0.08%, beating the goal by 58%  
  • Processing: intensity rate of 0.012% vs. goal of 0.11%, beating the goal by 89%  
  • Transmission and storage: intensity rate of 0.112% vs. goal of 0.17%, beating the goal by 34%  
  • Distribution: intensity rate of 0.092% vs. goal of 0.22%, beating the goal by 58%  

Overall production increased 32% and deliveries to customers increased by 58%, according to the coalition.  

“I know I speak for each of our member companies when I say we couldn’t be prouder of this year’s report,” said Richard Hyde, executive director of ONE Future. “Our members have consistently delivered better-than-estimated improvement in methane emissions reduction for the last three years, and that proves that our efforts are not just working but are sustainable.”  

ONE Future’s overarching goal is to ensure the future of natural gas as a long-term sustainable fuel. That objective will be assured as additional players in the natural gas value chain continue to step up and embrace the benefits of reducing methane emissions.   

“We understand that methane emissions reduction, when implemented on a flexible performance-based approach selected by each company, is not just good for the environment, but it is also good for the natural gas industry, its employees, customers, communities and investors,” Hyde added.  

ONE Future was formed when seven companies came together in 2014 with a focus to collectively achieve a science-based average rate of methane emissions across its facilities, equivalent to 1% or less of total natural gas production.   

Member companies include Antero Resources, Apache, Ascent Resources, Atmos Energy, Berkshire Hathaway Pipeline Group, BHP, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, LP, Caerus Oil & Gas, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, EagleClaw Midstream, Enbridge, Encino, Equinor, EQT, Equitrans Midstream, Hess, Kinder Morgan, National Grid, New Jersey Natural Gas, Noble Energy, NW Natural, ONE Gas, ONEOK, Southern Company Gas, Southern Star, Southwestern Energy, Summit Utilities, TC Energy, Williams, Woodland Midstream and Xcel Energy.  

Methane Reduction and ‘Carbon Neutral’ Levels  

While some governments have interpreted “net zero” to mean cutting back only on carbon dioxide emissions the main greenhouse gas, other gases, including methane have been contributing to global warming as well.  

Many scientists now conclude that it is more important to try to achieve “climate neutral,” rather than “carbon neutral” levels. They suggest governments should take responsibility for international shipping and air travel emissions, as well, even though these occur outside their borders.  

One issue that governments have yet to agree on is how to ensure the integrity of international markets that will be used to offset emissions caused in one country against carbon captured elsewhere.   

Preventing offsets from being counted twice will be key to the integrity of such a system and the global effort to curb emissions.  

Gas emits roughly 50% less CO2 than coal when burned in power plants, but it is associated with leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.  

Exxon Mobil said recently it planned to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions over the next five years. By 2025, the company would reduce the intensity of its oilfield greenhouse gas emissions by 15% to 20% from 2016 levels.   

The reduction would be supported by a 40%-50% decrease in methane intensity and a 35%-45% decrease in flaring intensity across Exxon’s global operations, with routine natural gas flaring eliminated within a decade, the company said.

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