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XTO Energy reduces methane emissions

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

ExxonMobil subsidiary, XTO Energy Inc., has reduced methane emissions from its operations by 9% since 2016, demonstrating significant progress in the company’s methane emissions reduction programme and other initiatives.

Of that amount, a reduction of close to 4% (or more than 7200 t of methane) was achieved through XTO’s voluntary programme and other operational improvements, XTO President Sara Ortwein said at the World Gas Conference in Washington, DC. Across ExxonMobil operations, the reduction equates to a 2% reduction.

Through its continued efforts, XTO will contribute to ExxonMobil’s measures to reduce methane emissions across its worldwide operations by 15% by 2020.

In 2017, XTO implemented a methane management programme to mitigate emissions associated with its operations. The program includes a commitment to phase out high-bleed pneumatic devices over three years, extensive personnel training, research and facility design improvements for new operations.

To date, XTO has phased out approximately two-thirds of existing high-bleed pneumatic devices across its US operations. Low-emission design technologies are also being deployed in new developments, such as in the Permian Basin in west Texas and New Mexico. These technologies include improved tank emission control design and installing instrument air packages, which use compressed air instead of natural gas to actuate pneumatic controllers, at new tank batteries and compressor stations.

Through the company’s expanded leak detection and repair programme, progress has been made in verifying data and identifying components with high potential for leakage, and this data will be used to continue to prioritise equipment for replacement or implementation in new designs.

In April, XTO began a pilot programme at its James Ranch facility in New Mexico to evaluate new technologies in its efforts to reduce emissions. The facility incorporates low-emission technologies and will serve as a model for future development.

As part of its commitment to manage emissions, the company has also partnered with organisations working to develop technologies to further reduce emissions. These partnerships include advising on the Stanford University and Environmental Defense Fund Mobile Monitoring Challenge, and participating in studies conducted by the US Department of Energy, Colorado State University, and the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Oil and Gas Initiative.

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