How Is the Natural Gas Industry Leading the Way to Reduce Emissions?

natural gas industryJennifer Stewart
Senior Vice President for Government and Regulatory Affairs
Southwestern Energy Co.

The natural gas industry is making enormous progress and, in fact, leading the way in reducing emissions, says Southwestern Energy, one its own leaders.

As the world’s top natural gas producer, the United States is also leading the world in curbing emissions. Thanks to increased use of natural gas to generate electricity, energy sector carbon emissions have reached their lowest levels in more than 25 years.

natural gas industry

The environmental benefits generated by natural gas are particularly clear in Pennsylvania and the Marcellus Shale region that also includes West Virginia and Ohio. According to Carnegie Mellon University researchers, natural gas has already enabled Pennsylvania’s power sector to meet the emissions reduction targets outlined by the Paris agreement.

Our natural gas industry is deeply committed to further reducing emissions as production continues to increase, as evidenced by a recent analysis showing methane emissions intensity – or emissions per unit of production – declined by 82 percent in the Appalachian Basin between 2011 and 2017. Forward-thinking companies all along the natural gas value chain are taking a collaborative, science-based approach to further improving our environmental performance.

At Southwestern Energy, protecting natural resources and being a good steward of the environment are core values. Through state-of-the art facility and production design and best-practices such as voluntary lead detection and repair protocols we lead the industry in reducing our methane emission intensity rate to nearly zero.

Additionally, in 2014, Southwestern Energy co-founded Our Nation’s Energy Future (ONE Future), a coalition of natural gas companies working to voluntarily reduce methane emissions across the natural gas supply chain – from wellhead to burnertip. In 2017, the collaborative reduced methane intensity levels below 1 percent eight years ahead of its goal, demonstrating how quickly the industry can respond to communities’ calls for environmental action.

Capturing methane – which is the product we produce, distribute and sell – makes good business sense in our industry. It’s also key to meeting our responsibility to protect our environment and improve the communities where we’re privileged to work. Through innovative, collaborative efforts our industry is leading the world in reducing emissions while providing safe, affordable energy for families across the globe.

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