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Washington, DC (August 13, 2021) – EPA has published new data showing that, from 2016 through 2019, oil and natural gas companies that participated in EPA’s Methane Challenge Program reduced methane emissions equivalent to over 7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide – all through voluntary actions to mitigate emissions from key sources across their operations.
“For nearly 30 years, EPA has been working with leading companies in the oil and gas sector to foster uptake of proven, cost-effective technologies and practices for minimizing methane pollution,” said Joseph Goffman, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation. “Oil and gas operations are the largest industrial source of U.S. emissions of methane, and we are all benefitting from the initiative these companies have taken to reduce emissions of this potent greenhouse gas.”
The Methane Challenge Program is a voluntary program that was launched in 2016 by the EPA in collaboration with oil and natural gas companies and trade associations. It builds on the successes of the Natural Gas STAR program, through which partner companies have achieved cost-effective methane reductions for more than 25 years. The Methane Challenge Program provides partner companies a platform to make a company-wide commitment to cut methane emissions, track and report their actions, and be recognized by EPA for their achievements. More than 60 companies from all segments of the industry—production, gathering and boosting, processing, transmission and storage, and distribution—are now program partners. The Methane Challenge program includes several members of the ONE Future Coalition; these ONE Future Commitment Option Methane Challenge Partners report a comprehensive dataset to Methane Challenge detailing methane emissions, as well as methane emission reductions, across their operations.
The extensive data provided by Methane Challenge Partners on their voluntary efforts provides important information to the public and serves as a guide for other companies looking to improve efficiencies and reduce emissions. Highlights from the reported data include the following:
- Partners’ methane reductions to-date have kept over $45 million worth of natural gas in the pipeline.
- Transmission segment companies have reduced methane emissions from pipeline “blowdowns” during planned pipe replacement/maintenance activities by nearly 6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent since the program began.
- Distribution segment companies reported replacement of over 4,000 miles of cast iron pipelines and over 5,000 miles of unprotected steel pipelines since the program began. These actions reduced methane emissions from old, leaky pipes by over 744,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
EPA’s voluntary programs for the oil and gas sector have resulted in an extensive suite of technical information on viable, cost-effective methane mitigation technologies and practices, playing an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector in conjunction with current and future regulations. EPA has sought input from a wide range of stakeholders to develop a regulatory proposal to achieve further reductions in methane pollution from new and existing sources, following the directive under President Biden’s executive order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.
As early actors in implementing reduction measures, our voluntary program partners are a step ahead in the effort to reduce methane pollution from the oil and gas sector.
To learn more about our Methane Challenge Partners, their commitments, and their achievements to date, see: https://www.epa.gov/natural-gas-star-program/methane-challenge-partners
More information on the Methane Challenge and Natural Gas STAR Programs, as well as details on how to join, can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/natural-gas-star-program
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