ExxonMobil has released a model framework for industry-wide methane regulations and urged stakeholders, policymakers and governments to develop comprehensive, enhanced rules to reduce emissions in all phases of production.
“ExxonMobil has been applying the principles of this framework to our oil and natural gas operations for several years, resulting in improvements that demonstrate what’s practicable and achievable,” says Darren Woods, chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corporation.
“We offer this blueprint to companies across our industry as they consider how to make improvements to reduce the sector’s methane emissions. Our industry has developed high-tech advances to curb emissions, and we also hope this framework will be helpful for governments as they develop new regulations,” Woods adds.
The ExxonMobil model framework is based on its voluntary methane reduction program, which involves prioritised replacement of components with a high-leak potential at production sites, technology enhancements to infrastructure and substantial data gathering and research. More comprehensive than current federal rules, the proposed regulations would apply to new and existing sources. The company has reduced methane emissions from its U.S. unconventional operations by 20% since 2016 and remains on track to reach its target of 15% reductions across the company.
To achieve meaningful reductions in methane emissions, regulations should address and include four primary requirements:
- Leak detection and repair programs across oil and gas infrastructure.
- Minimisation of venting.
- Operational equipment controls.
- Record keeping and reporting to support agency enforcement.
ExxonMobil has advocated in the United States for a cost-effective, federal regulatory standard to manage methane emissions from both new and existing oil and natural gas facilities. The company will continue to work constructively with state and federal regulators, industry and nongovernmental organisations to develop and implement cost-effective and reasonable methane-emission regulations.
ExxonMobil supports the Methane Guiding Principles for reducing methane emissions across the natural gas value chain, which were signed in 2017. The guiding principles are being implemented in collaboration with many stakeholders, including the Environmental Defense Fund, the International Energy Agency, the International Gas Union, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative Climate Investment Fund, the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Sustainable Gas Institute, the Energy and Resources Institute and United Nations Environment.