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EPA, International Partners to Reduce Methane Emissions

Release Date: 09/26/2006
Contact Information: Roxanne Smith, (202) 564-4355 / smith.roxanne@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. - Sept. 26, 2006) Seven oil and gas companies are signing on as charter members of the Natural Gas Star International program, an expansion of the successful Environmental Protection Agency domestic program to reduce methane emissions. This cost-effective program to capture and use methane as a clean fuel not only enhances the environment but also provides immediate economic and energy security benefits, since methane is the primary component of natural gas.

"EPA is proud to be working arm-in-arm with some of America's leading companies to prove that doing what's good for the environment is also good for business," said U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "Under the Bush Administration's aggressive yet practical strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the oil and gas industry is powering our economic success and helping improve our environmental future."

Charter partners participating include
ConocoPhillips Canada, Devon Energy Corp., Enbridge Energy Co. Inc., ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil Corp., Occidental Petroleum Corp., and TransCanada.

Natural Gas Star International partners agree to submit an implementation plan within one year of signing. They also agree to implement within three years technologies and practices to reduce methane emissions where it is cost effective. As part of this agreement, partners also submit annual reports describing the measures implemented and corresponding methane emission reductions. EPA will assist partners with program implementation by analyzing emerging technologies, developing workshops and training courses, and communicating best practices. This partnership supports the international Methane to Markets Partnership and complements the existing suite of U.S. international climate change programs.

Natural gas systems are made up of wells, processing facilities, and transmission and distribution pipelines. All industry sectors, including gas production, processing, transmission, and distribution emit methane to the atmosphere to varying degrees.

Under EPA's, domestic Natural Gas Star program, 110 U.S. industry partners have collectively reduced methane emissions by about 460 billion cubic feet since 1990, the equivalent to annual greenhouse gas emissions from more than 33 million vehicles. Today, the U.S. oil and gas industry emits approximately 6 percent less methane than it did in 1990, largely because of the industry's proactive methane emissions reductions in collaboration with the Natural Gas Star program.

The Methane to Markets Partnership, launched by President Bush in November 2004, is a public-private partnership to advance methane recovery and use projects in four sectors: agriculture, coal mines, landfills and oil and gas systems. Member countries work in collaboration with the private sector, multilateral development banks, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations through the partnership's project network. The United States has committed $53 million to this initiative over the next five years.

Information on EPA's Natural Gas Star International program: epa.gov/gasstar/international.htm

Information on the Methane to Markets program: http://www.methanetomarkets.org/