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4 MIN   |  Environment

Read Our Climate Change Action Plan

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October 29, 2021

Achieving meaningful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions to meet the world’s climate challenge — while ensuring families around the world have reliable access to affordable energy — will take a combination of government policies, innovation, industry initiatives, and a partnership of businesses, governments, nonprofits and universities. No single approach can achieve the dual goals of reducing GHG emissions and providing energy to all.

America’s natural gas and oil industry is proud to have its own plan for climate action, designed to ensure the industry is doing its part to help address the risks of climate change. 

Here are the five components of our plan:

  1. Develop New Technology and Innovation — Even Faster

Natural gas and oil companies are investing millions of dollars into technology that will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with a particular focus on carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) projects:

  • Shell’s Quest facilityin Alberta, Canada, has captured and safely stored more than 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide since opening in late 2015.
  • ExxonMobil has captured 120 million metric tonsof carbon dioxide (CO2) since 1970 — the equivalent of taking 26 million cars off the road for a year. The energy company runs carbon capture sites in Australia, Qatar and Wyoming. 
  • Occidentalis developing the world’s largest direct air capture facility in the Permian Basin in the United States. Direct air capture removes significant amounts of carbon dioxide from atmospheric air, compared to traditional carbon capture technology, which captures the greenhouse gas from flue stacks.
  1. Further Cut GHG Emissions from Operations 

For more than fifty years, the natural gas and oil industry has been focused on developing cleaner burning fuels and making its own operations more efficient. The work has paid off: Methane emissions relative to production in America’s largest producing basins were down nearly 70% between 2011 and 2018 and continue to trend downward.

Energy companies are working to develop and deploy new ways to reduce GHG emissions from their operations. Today, satellites, drones and thermal imaging systems are used to identify methane leaks, so they can quickly be fixed, preventing future emissions. And, the Environmental Partnership, a group of 90 natural gas and oil companies, installed thousands of new, more efficient production equipment across the country.

Researchers at companies and partner institutions, such as the University of Texas at Austin and Colorado State University, are experimenting with new technologies that can be used to cut methane emissions even further. 

  1. Endorse a Carbon Price Policy

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has called for Congress to pass an economy-wide, transparent carbon price policy that covers CO2 emissions from all major sources across the US

Carbon pricing can be the most impactful and transparent way to achieve meaningful progress on the dual goals of reducing GHG emissions while simultaneously ensuring continued economic growth. This policy would incorporate a transparent CO2 emissions fee into the cost of doing business and drive consumers and producers to seek the most efficient ways to use processes and products that generate less CO2 emissions.. 

  1. Advance Cleaner Fuels

America’s abundant supply of natural gas has helped the world reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as the cleaner-burning gas replaces coal as an energy source. According to the International Energy Agency, in 2018, switching to power plants that generate energy using natural gas rather than those using coal avoided 95 megatons of CO2 emissions globally. Natural gas provides many benefits to an increasingly lower-carbon electricity grid — both in the United States and around the world – because natural gas is a flexible, affordable, reliable and cleaner fuel for power generation.

To build on this progress, the natural gas and oil industry supports efforts to develop markets for “differentiated” natural gas: a standardized and transparent market for natural gas classified by its GHG emissions intensity.  The natural gas and oil industry also supports technology-neutral government policies at the federal level in the US in the transportation sector, taking a holistic approach to drive GHG emissions reductions across fuels, vehicles, and infrastructure systems.

  1. Drive Climate Reporting

In 2021, API launched a new template for individual companies in the natural gas and oil industry to more consistently report and track greenhouse gas indicators. The template aims to provide a consistent and uniform set of core GHG indicators to enable greater comparability in climate-related reporting, building on the 20+ years that many natural gas and oil companies have reported GHG indicators.

Better, more accurate data will help identify new ways greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and serve to inform future government policies.

These five steps will help to set us up for a future with fewer greenhouse gas emissions and the affordable, reliable energy we need.

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