Report: Oil & gas industry continues emissions progress

A report from Enverus Intelligence Research (EIR) found that the U.S. oil & gas industry made strides in reducing emissions between 2020-2022.

Using data issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Enverus EIR analyzed trends in the upstream and gathering sectors during those years, highlighting where operator efforts are paying off and which sources are harder to mitigate. EIR’s analysis also compares the top-producing operators and identifies the main reasons behind the most notable step changes in emission intensity.

“The upstream and gathering sectors successfully reduced venting and flaring emissions while still increasing production from 2020-2022, leading to a 12% drop in emission intensity across the Lower 48,” said Ivana Petrich, senior associate with EIR. EIR is a a subsidiary of Enverus, a leading and energy-dedicated SaaS company.

“Operator performance varied, however, and we believe the next five years will prove critical for companies to address easier-to-abate emissions ahead of quickly changing regulations. Despite a 23% drop in reported methane emissions, we calculate that many plays would still, on average, be exposed to the Inflation Reduction Act’s waste emissions charge that came into effect on Jan. 1, based on 2022 emissions,” Petrich said.

According to the report:

  • Reported upstream and gathering emissions fell from 2020-2022, albeit at a decelerating pace, mainly because of decreases in upstream venting and flaring emissions. Total emissions declined by 5% despite a 9% increase in production, leading to a 12% drop in emission intensity across the Lower 48.
  • Total reported methane emissions decreased by 23% from 2020 to 2022 ahead of the final Quad O rules and the Inflation Reduction Act waste emission charge. Despite this, EIR calculates that eight of the 13 top-producing U.S. plays would still, on average, breach the EPA’s upstream methane intensity threshold based on 2022 emissions.
  • Of the top 50 U.S. operators in 2022 by production volumes, over two-thirds reported Y/Y decreases in cross-sector emission intensity; however, 18 companies still sit above the broader U.S. average.
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