Methane emissions remain the second-largest cause of global warming and leading companies are accelerating changes to policies, reporting procedures, and technologies to meet new emissions targets. Policymakers on a national and international scale are enacting change, but those along the oil and gas value chain must find ways to tackle methane abatement at scale.
Implementing a methane reduction plan can help guide your company toward reduced emissions. Your plan should address programs, policies, regulatory actions, and technology upgrades for effective methane emission reductions. Consider including the following seven elements in your plan.
Regulatory Review: Understand the regulatory landscape by conducting an in-depth review of the policies from agencies such as the International Energy Agency, EPA, Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), and IPCC Guidelines. Be aware of the monitoring, reporting, and verification requirements, such as those in National Inventory Reports (NIR) and in the Transparency Framework outlined in Article 13 of the Paris Agreement. Just a few weeks ago, the European Commission released a revised 2030 Climate Target Plan aimed at significantly cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
Discovery and Inventory: Conduct a comprehensive view of your facility, technology, policies, and procedures. Pick apart each segment and flag areas of potential improvement. Conducting a full greenhouse gasses inventory helps clarify and inform the scope of your emissions reduction plan. Identify opportunities to convert to RNG, wind, solar, and photovoltaics.
Goals and Policies: Gather key members and stakeholders and, using the data you’ve gathered comparing your operation with the applicable regulations, set absolute, time-bound emissions reduction goals and build an actionable strategy around them. Consider creating a shareable timeline with milestones to report out the progress made to date.
Data and Reporting: Accurate data and reporting serve as the keystone to measuring the success of your plan. Wherever possible, develop a rigorous reporting structure around your infrastructure to track progress, especially if your organization submits reports to regulatory agencies. Consider using a third-party for verification and increased transparency. Follow a communication plan to convey results to your employees and to your stakeholders to build support.
Optimized Operations: Methane abatement requires you to take a hard look at the processes you use across the entire value chain. Modernizing your procedures can reduce waste, such as using temporary compression or drawdown instead of venting off the gas into the air. Enacting odorization policies can help improve safety and detect leaks. Consider taking a more preventative maintenance program to increase equipment uptime and get ahead of potential methane leaks. If you’re not already doing so, investigate remote monitoring systems such as theYZ Connect for real-time connection to remote sites.
Reduce Fugitive Methane Emissions: An LDAR, or Leak Detection and Repair strategy, examines storage, transmission, and distribution pipelines and identifies target areas of improvement. Look at fittings, pipes, valves, gas distribution mains, and above-ground infrastructure. Replace cast iron, bare steel, and copper with new materials.
Technology Replacement – Innovative technologies exist today that enable oil and gas companies to reduce emissions quickly and effectively, such as vapor recovery systems, electrically driven equipment, waste-heat-recovery technologies, efficient gas odorization equipment, and more.
According to the International Energy Agency, a 75% reduction in global oil and gas methane is possible with today’s technology. YZ’s Zero Emission Odorizer (ZEO) system advances the oil and gas industry’s move towards greener natural gas production and transportation. With zero methane emission within the odorizing step, this technology offers organizations the ability to expand on their methane reduction plans.