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3 MIN   |  Environment

Five Ways We’re Helping to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

New technology, programs and even water houses are helping to get it done.

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April 17, 2020

Emissions of carbon dioxide in the U.S. are at the lowest levels in a generation, thanks to individuals and companies changing the ways they operate. Here are just four innovative efforts by natural gas and oil companies doing their part to cut emissions:

1) Putting renewables to work

Energy companies fueling their own operations with solar power are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Occidental’s 120-acre solar facility directly powers natural gas and oil operations in Texas. The solar facility, with 174,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels, has a capacity of 16MW and is expected to eliminate more than 20,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year.

And, companies such as Murphy Oil, are using solar energy to power wellpad measurement and communication devices they use to produce energy.

2) Investing in carbon capture technology

Carbon capture and sequestration projects worldwide are helping to reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere. The facilities use a variety of technologies to trap carbon and then securely store it.

There are more than 60 existing and planned carbon capture and sequestration facilities globally. In partnership with the Canadian government and joint-venture partners, Shell operates the Quest CCS project in Alberta that captures and stores carbon dioxide. In less than four years, Quest has captured and safely stored four million tonnes of CO2. Shell also recently joined with BP, Eni, Equinor and Total to work on a carbon capture project in Teesside, United Kingdom. It has the potential to capture 6 million tonnes of carbon a year starting in the mid-2020s, the equivalent to the annual energy use of up to 2 million homes in the U.K. And, in 2019, Chevron began burying carbon dioxide into a deep reservoir beneath an island off the coast of Australia. It is expected that 100 million tonnes of CO2 will be injected underground over the lifetime of the project.

3) Rethinking water transportation

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In North Dakota, Hess uses flexible hoses to transport water, used for hydraulic fracturing, directly from water sources to its wells, instead of using trucks. In 2018, 100% of the water the company used for hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota — roughly 18 million barrels — was transported using flexible hoses, eliminating 130,000 truck deliveries and cutting about 12,200 tonnes of transportation-related GHG emissions.

4) Helping cars and planes go the extra mile

Natural gas and oil companies are developing new fuels specifically designed to make it possible for cars and planes to travel further on less.

Phillips 66 recently launched a new line of heavy-duty engine oils in 2019 that proved through extensive testing to improve fuel economy by 2-3%.

And, Chevron is part of a first-of-its-kind project to accelerate the global transition to sustainable fuels in airplanes. The San Francisco International Airport is working with a group of eight airlines and fuel producers to expand the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels at the airport. Airlines at SFO currently use more than 1 billion gallons of jet fuel annually, and the use of SAF could reduce GHG emissions by nearly 4.8 million metric tons per year — equivalent to the annual GHG emissions of a million cars.

Collaborating Across Companies to Reduce Emissions

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5) Working with start-ups to reduce emissions in the Permian Basin
When natural gas is extracted from the ground there is excess oxygen in the gas, so Shell introduced a third-party technology, EcoVapor ZERO2, to solve this issue at their operations in the Permian Basin in western Texas. The ZERO2 technology removes the oxygen, so the gas can meet strict pipeline oxygen standards. In 2019, this resulted in diverting potential emissions of 46,000 tons of CO2 equivalent by selling the gas instead, and reduced flaring at the site by 13,000 tons of CO2 equivalent, compared to 2018.

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