ExxonMobil announced an enhanced program to reduce methane emissions from its production and midstream facilities across the United States. The 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.
Methane detection and repair relies on a technical-mechanical-professional collaboration to ensure the best results. There is no one solution, and finding the next emission-reduction opportunities requires investment today. The newly announced methane emission reduction program at XTO Energy will build on practices already in place. The new steps include:
Switching out more than 1,000 high-bleed pneumatic devices for lower- or no-bleed devices that can significantly reduce methane emissions. That work will unfold over the next three years.
Investing in cutting-edge technologies to detect, quantify and reduce emissions at production sites. The company is testing the latest ground-based, mobile and aerial solutions to help reduce methane emissions.
Increasing research with ExxonMobil’s Upstream Research Company and in collaboration with academia, government and technology providers. This program builds on more than two dozen existing methane research projects and ongoing pilot programs across the country.
Expanding personnel training and sharing best practices across the company.
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. Our comprehensive initiative is underscored by a technology research and testing effort, and includes personnel training, equipment phase out and facility design improvements.—XTO president Sara Ortwein
XTO recently completed a pilot project in the Midland Basin 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.
XTO’s efforts also include research conducted with ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company and third-party equipment manufacturers to continue development of more efficient, state-of-the-art equipment to detect, quantify and reduce emissions at production sites. These research efforts build on an extensive portfolio of more than two dozen existing methane research projects and pilots already under way.
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.
As part of the company’s efforts to better understand the magnitude and characteristics of oil and gas industry-related methane emissions, ExxonMobil participated in studies conducted by the University of Texas and Environmental Defense Fund.
ExxonMobil is active in ongoing methane research, including participation in a methane measurement reconciliation study with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and in supporting research currently underway at Harvard, the University of Texas Energy Initiative, and Stanford University’s Natural Gas Initiative.