XTO cuts methane emissions in operations by 9 percent

ExxonMobil’s XTO Energy, a firm with nearly 300 employees in Oklahoma and more than 1 million acres of holdings in the state announced it’s reduced methane emissions by 9 percent since 2016.

The company said a reduction of nearly 4 percent or more than 7,200 metric tons of methane was achieved through the company’s voluntary program and other operational improvements.

XTO President Sara Ortwein made the announcement at the World Gas Conference in Washington, D.C. She said across ExxonMobil operations, the reduction amounted to 2 percent. ExxonMobil has a goal of reducing methane emissions in its worldwide operations by 15 percent by 2020.

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

“Over the past nine months, we’ve gained significant insight from the data collected through our methane management program,” said Ortwein. “We are building on what we have learned to make continued progress in reducing emissions and identifying areas for further improvement.”

To date, XTO has phased out approximately two-thirds of existing high-bleed pneumatic devices across its U.S. 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.

In April, XTO began a pilot program 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.

XTO has more than 280 employees in Oklahoma and operates in 25 counties and holds more than 1,075,000 acres in the state. It also works closely with the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board in encouraging the pursuit of math and science through programs and partnerships.