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Charleston, W.Va. (April 24, 2019) – West Virginia’s natural gas industry is playing a major role in helping reduce overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and industry producers and distributors operating in the state are committed to furthering the cause.
“It is important to West Virginia’s natural gas industry that we be good stewards of not only the precious resource that we produce, but also the environment,” said Anne Blankenship, executive director of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association. Natural gas is comprised of 95 percent methane, a greenhouse gas. Minimizing methane leakage into the atmosphere during the production and distribution of natural gas is a priority for the industry.
Dominion Energy, which is a major natural gas distributor in West Virginia, recently announced an industry-leading initiative to reduce methane emissions from its natural gas infrastructure by 50 percent over the next decade, based on 2010 levels. The initiative will prevent more than 430,000 metric tons of methane from entering the atmosphere, the equivalent of taking 2.3 million cars off the road for a year or planting nearly 180 million new trees.
The company plans to do this by reducing or eliminating gas venting during planned maintenance and inspections, replacing older equipment across its system with new, low-emission equipment, and expanding leak detection and repair programs across its entire system.
One example of new technology Dominion plans to use is a process to reduce escape of methane emissions when working on its pipeline infrastructure. Known as ZEVAC® (Zero Emission Vacuum and Compression), the technology keeps methane in the system while conducting routine maintenance.
ExxonMobil, which owns West Virginia gas producer XTO Energy, announced its plan to significantly improve its emission performance, including a 15 percent decrease in methane emissions and a 25 percent reduction in flaring by 2020 compared with 2016.
Methane emissions from Southwestern Energy’s West Virginia and Pennsylvania assets dropped to 0.057 percent in 2018, which is over 96 percent lower than the industry average of 1.62 percent. In fact, the Environmental Defense Fund gave the company a “Leadership Spotlight” in its February 2018 report Disclosure Divide for transparent disclosure and continuous improvement on methane emissions.
Antero Resources methane emissions were 0.06 percent in 2017, which is well ahead of the gas production and gathering segment goal of 0.36 percent and the ONE Future target of 1 percent. The company’s emissions intensity remains flat even though production has increased significantly. To further their commitment to reducing emissions, the company participates in voluntary programs including EPA Natural Gas STAR, ONE Future, and API’s Environmental Partnership.
CLARKSBURG — There are two major pipeline projects underway in the Mountain State.
Both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline have provided employment, a boost to local and regional economies and the promise of helping the state retain more value from its extracted resources.
WEST UNION — The operators of the MarkWest Sherwood Complex in Doddridge County plan to further expand the facility’s capacity this year.
Randall Eastham, facility manager of the Sherwood Complex, said it has 2.2 billion standard cubic feet per day of processing capacity, making it the largest gas-processing facility in the nation.
CLARKSBURG — Following several years of planning, the developers of a natural-gas-fired power plant planned for a site in Clarksburg’s Montpelier Addition hope to begin construction this summer.
The plant will be West Virginia’s first gas-fired facility.
WEST UNION — Antero Resources’ Clearwater Facility in Doddridge County is now operating at nearly 70 percent of the facility’s fully designed capacity, according to company officials.
The $300 million facility, which cleans fracking water so it can safely be reused, is an entirely unique venture in the oil and gas industry, said Al Schopp, Antero’s chief administrative officer and regional senior vice president.
BRIDGEPORT — Energy producer Antero Recourses had a record-setting 2018, according to company officials.
Al Schopp, Antero’s chief administrative officer and regional senior vice president, said the company reached new levels of production in 2018.
BRIDGEPORT — Dominion Energy, one of North Central West Virginia’s leading energy companies, is constantly searching for new and innovative ways to advance practices within the oil and gas industry.
Brian Sheppard, Dominion Energy vice president, said 2019 is already shaping up to be a big year for the company.