The Environmental Partnership – Private Companies and the New Methane Initiative
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In December 2017, The American Petroleum Institute (API) announced the establishment of The Environmental Partnership, a coalition of 30 companies committed to improve environmental performance of the U.S. natural gas and oil industry. The partnership aims to serve as a forum for its members to “share information, and analyze best practices and technological breakthroughs”. Participating companies represent operations in every U.S. oil and natural gas basin.  

The Environmental Partnership’s first initiative focuses on reducing methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from industry operations. To this end, members of the coalition have committed to participating in three environmental performance programs:

Pneumatic Controller Program
Control valves at natural gas and petroleum facilities are often powered by natural gas through pneumatic controllers that release small amounts of methane and VOC to the atmosphere.  The pneumatic controller program consists of converting the motive gas from natural gas to compressed air. Member companies have committed to remove, replace, or retrofit high-bleed pneumatic controllers with low-or-zero-emitting devices within the next five years. 

Manual Liquids Unloading Program
Manual liquids unloading is a process to divert the flow of natural gas from a well to an atmospheric vent to allow liquids to flow to the surface without the assistance of automated equipment.  During this process, some methane and VOCs can be released to the atmosphere.  Member companies have committed to monitor manual unloading operations and close wellhead vents to the atmosphere, with the exception of swabbing or plunger lift operations or conditions that may present a safety hazard. The partnership will report the number of monitored manual unloading procedures conducted on an annual basis.

Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) Program
There are substantial amounts of valves, pumps, flanges, and connections associated with the production and transportation of natural gas.  Participating companies will implement instrumentation monitoring programs using EPA Method 21 or optical gas imaging (OGI) technology to detect leaks at selected sites by June 30, 2019, with a goal of having all sites incorporated into the program within five years.  The program also includes a 60-day leak repair period unless the leaking equipment meets delay-of-repair (DOR) requirements.

Interested in Participating?
Currently, participation in this initiative is limited to companies with facilities where all three environmental performance programs can be implemented. If your company fits these parameters, click here to learn how you can join.

The Environmental Partnership also welcomes collaboration with other organizations who share their priorities in producing energy in an environmentally responsible manner.

More details on this voluntary environmental stewardship initiative and contact information can be found at https://theenvironmentalpartnership.org/.

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