Home Energy assets Hilcorp, Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips are the main emitters of greenhouse gases

Hilcorp, Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips are the main emitters of greenhouse gases

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A pumpjack pumps oil into the Inglewood Oil Field as seen from the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area on July 13, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. – Consumer price inflation in the United States jumped 9.1% in the 12 months to June, the fastest increase since November 1981, according to government data released July 13. Driven by record gasoline prices, the consumer price index jumped 1.3% in June, reports the Labor Department.

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Hilcorp EnergyExxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips release the most greenhouse gases among U.S. oil and gas companies, according to a new report released Thursday by several sustainability organizations using U.S. government data.

The directory report ranks emissions data from the 303 oil and gas companies in the United States that report their emissions under the EPA’s greenhouse gas reporting program, and aims to bring transparency to emissions reporting , which has always been difficult to measure in a comparable and consistent way.

Non-profit associations Air Quality Task Force and Ceres commissioned the sustainable development consulting firm GRE to develop the report, and it uses government data up to 2020, the most recent emissions data available from the Environmental Protection Agency. Data for 2021 will be released in October.

Greenhouse gas emissions include emissions of methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, which differ in their impact on warming. For example, over 100 years, one tonne of methane emissions has the same impact on global warming as 29.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide. In many places, the report categorizes companies and regions by what are called “GWPs,” or units of global warming potential, which take these variabilities into account.

Total GWP units are not directly correlated to oil and gas production. For example, while Hilcorp Energy is the largest emitter of greenhouse gas units, it is the seventh largest producer of hydrocarbons. Conoco Phillips is the third emitter of greenhouse gases and the eighth producer of hydrocarbons.

“This new report clearly shows what experts have long known: there are clear steps oil and gas producers can take to reduce their emissions of methane and other greenhouse gases,” Lesley Feldman, senior analyst at the Clean Air Task Force, said in a written statement released alongside the new report. “Some take these steps while others don’t, and federal and state regulations are key to ensuring we can standardize best practices across the industry.”

Emissions intensity vs total emissions

To get a sense of the company’s operational capabilities to decarbonize, the report measures emissions intensity, or emissions per unit of energy generated. Total emissions will tend to favor larger producers, while emissions intensity will not.

In terms of total greenhouse gas emissions intensity for the 303 companies, Hilcorp Energy ranks 128th, ConocoPhillips ranks 191st and Exxon ranks 238th.

There is a marked divergence between the companies with the highest and lowest emissions intensity. For example, the emissions intensity of natural gas producers in the top quarter of methane emitters is nearly 24 times higher than that of natural gas producers in the bottom quarter, according to the report.

“Oil and gas producers are not equal when it comes to methane emissions, and this research clearly shows that a company’s climate impact is a direct result of operational decisions under its control,” said Andrew Logan, Senior Director of Oil and Gas at Ceres, in a written statement released alongside the report. “Companies most able to effectively minimize their own emissions will be best prepared for a future zero-emissions economy.”

The Oil and Gas Industry Trade Group American Petroleum Institute (API) declares the companies it represents, including Exxon and Conoco Phillipsare working to reduce methane emissions and found a drop in the average intensity of methane emissions of almost 60% in seven of the main producing regions (listed here).

“Our industry is at the forefront of data collection and advancing and using advanced technologies, including remote monitoring with satellites and lasers, to detect and reduce methane emissions and any suggestion to the contrary is false” , an API spokesperson told CNBC on Thursday. .

Hilcorp Energy told CNBC it has made improvements since 2020.

“The most recent data used in this year’s CERES report is from 2020 and does not reflect ongoing reductions made by Hilcorp since 2020. Based on Hilcorp’s gross and operated emissions as reported to the EPA and the gross and operated oil and gas production at the wellhead, Hilcorp’s GHG intensity decreased by approximately 37% from 2019 to 2020 with further reductions since,” spokesperson Nick Piatek told CNBC.

Additionally, Hilcorp said its emissions data was higher than its production data due to the nature of its business development strategy, which focused on acquiring older businesses.

“As we inherit the emissions profiles of the assets we acquire, we spend substantial capital to optimize, upgrade and refurbish equipment to reduce the emissions and intensity of these acquired assets,” said the gatekeeper. -word.

Exxon told CNBC that emissions intensity is the metric it focuses on, “because it’s the most accurate reflection of how manufacturing companies are reducing the greenhouse gases associated with each unit of production. “, spokesperson Casey Norton told CNBC.

Exxon has worked to “rapidly reduce methane emissions” by finding leaks and making repairs.

“This includes monitoring aerial overflights in addition to hand-held imaging cameras. We are also expanding our use of ground-based sensor technology for continuous methane detection and are working with Scepter, Inc. to deploy advanced ground-based monitoring technology. satellite,” Norton told CNBC. .

ConocoPhillips also said it sees emissions intensity as a more accurate measure of its focus on decarbonization work. “Due to the size of our business, we rank high in absolute emissions rankings, but intensity metrics allow for better comparison between companies and better reflect operational practices,” a spokesperson told CNBC. .