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ExxonMobil proposes methane regulations framework for oil and gas industry

Energy giant ExxonMobil has proposed a model framework for industry-wide methane regulations, urging stakeholders, policymakers and governments to develop comprehensive rules to reduce emissions in all phases of oil and gas production.

“ExxonMobil has been applying the principles of this framework to our oil and natural gas operations for several years, resulting in improvements that demonstrate what’s practicable and achievable,” said Darren Woods, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation.

“We offer this blueprint to companies across our industry as they consider how to make improvements to reduce the sector’s methane emissions. Our industry has developed high-tech advances to curb emissions, and we also hope this framework will be helpful for governments as they develop new regulations.”

The model framework is based on ExxonMobil’s voluntary methane reduction programme, which involves prioritised replacement of components with a high-leak potential at production sites, as well as technology enhancements to infrastructure and substantial data gathering and research.

The proposed regulations, which are reportedly more comprehensive than current federal rules, would apply to new and existing sources.

ExxonMobil has reduced methane emissions from its US unconventional operations by 20% since 2016 and remains on track to reach its target of 15% reductions across the company.

The company proposes that regulations to reduce methane emissions should include four primary requirements: leak detection and repair across oil and gas infrastructure; minimisation of venting; operational equipment controls; and record keeping and reporting to support agency enforcement.

In the US, the company has advocated for a cost-effective, federal regulatory standard to manage methane emissions from new and existing oil and gas facilities. ExxonMobil also supports the Methane Guiding Principles for reducing methane emissions across the natural gas value chain, which were signed in 2017.