A pump jack for pulling oil from the ground is seen near New Town, North Dakota, on February 25, 2015. Source: AP/Matthew Brown
Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)–June 20, 2016. In 2014, ConocoPhillips topped the list of companies with the most methane pollution in the onshore oil and gas production sector. In a new report released today, the Center for American Progress found that only 11 companies were responsible for nearly half—49 percent—of the methane pollution from onshore oil and gas production.
CAP analyzed the 2014 data on methane emissions reported by the oil and gas industry to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, and found that the onshore oil and gas production sector released the equivalent of 48 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2014, which is approximately the same amount of pollution as 14 coal-fired power plants. The oil and gas industry is the single-largest contributor of industrial methane pollution in the country.
“The United States has made significant strides in the last decade to cut dangerous air pollution, but methane pollution from the oil and gas industry remains largely unchecked,” said Alison Cassady, Director of Domestic Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress, and author of the report. “This report shows that without mandatory limits on methane pollution from all sources in the oil and gas sector, the industry will continue to pump millions of metric tons of dangerous methane gas into the nation’s atmosphere and its communities.”
ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chesapeake Energy, EOG Resources Inc., and BP America ranked first through fifth for the most methane emissions from onshore production. Even though ConocoPhillips reduced its methane pollution between 2013 and 2014, the company still released 4.65 million metric tons—33 percent more methane than the next highest ranking company.
Methane is the primary component of natural gas and is wasted at oil and gas operations through venting, flaring, and leaks. Last month, the EPA adopted a rule to cut methane pollution from new and modified oil and gas sources, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is expected to finalize a rule later this year to cut methane waste on federal and tribal lands.
Alongside methane, oil and gas operations also pollute ozone-forming volatile organic compounds and toxic chemicals, such as benzene. The same strategies and technologies that companies deploy to cut methane would have the co-benefit of cutting other dangerous air pollutants.
Click here to read the report.