Exxon, oil giants team up to reduce methane emissions

thehill.com  By Devin Henry - 11/22/17

ExxonMobil Corp. and seven other energy firms have teamed up to tackle natural gas sector greenhouse gas emissions, the companies announced on Wednesday.

Exxon was the only American-owned company to sign an agreement to crack down on emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that producers tend to emit along the natural gas production line.

The companies agreed to take steps to reduce methane emissions, work with institutions and governments to write new methane regulations, improve emissions reporting data and increase transparency.

The oil industry has increasingly touted natural gas as an effective way to cut down on electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions, because it burns cleaner than other fossil fuel alternatives like coal.

But methane emissions pack about 25 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide, a fact that has caused regulators to turn their eye to pollution controls on natural gas producers.

In the United States, the Trump administration is working to roll back methane pollution rules from the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The oil industry has opposed the regulations, arguing they are costly and duplicative of state pollution standards, and noting they have cut emissions on their own. Environmentalists say the warming potential of methane make the regulations necessary.

“Since natural gas consists mainly of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, its part in the transition to a low-carbon future will be influenced by the extent to which the oil and gas industry reduces its methane emissions,” read the agreement.

Besides Exxon, oil companies BP, Eni, Repsol, Shell, Statoil, Total and Wintershall all signed the methane reduction agreement.

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