ExxonMobil Expands Methane Emissions Reduction Program

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ExxonMobil’s enhanced methane emissions reduction program prioritizes actions at sites operated by subsidiary XTO Energy and includes efforts to develop and deploy new, more efficient technologies to detect and reduce facility emissions.

The program includes a commitment to switching out more than 1,000 high-bleed pneumatic devices over 3 years, personnel training, research, and facility design improvements for new operations.

XTO recently completed a pilot project in the Midland Basin, where it has more than 180 horizontal wells producing, that tested new low-emission designs that use compressed air instead of natural gas to operate pneumatic equipment that helps regulate conditions such as level, flow, pressure, and temperature. The results successfully demonstrated the feasibility of using similar designs for new and existing central tank batteries and satellites to reduce the potential for methane emissions.

Earlier this year, ExxonMobil, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and others evaluated the use of aircraft-mounted leak detection surveys to guide equipment repair, and continue to assess the use of satellite, aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and mobile and ground-based technologies to refine the company’s methane monitoring.

To better understand the magnitude and characteristics of methane emissions in the oil and gas industry, the company participated in studies conducted by the University of Texas and Environmental Defense Fund. It also participates in a methane measurement reconciliation study with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and supports research currently underway at Harvard, the University of Texas Energy Initiative, and Stanford University’s Natural Gas Initiative.

XTO President Sara Ortwein said, “We are implementing an enhanced leak detection and repair program across our production and midstream sites to continually reduce methane emissions, and are also evaluating opportunities to upgrade facilities and improve efficiency at both current and future sites. Combining our field experience with the research capabilities at ExxonMobil Upstream Research provides us with unique insights as we look to develop and deploy new, more efficient technologies.”