Exxon aims to slash methane emissions

Exxon aims to slash methane emissions
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Exxon Mobil Corp. is rolling out a new program to cut methane emissions at its oil and natural gas drilling operations.

The moves at Exxon come as the Trump administration works to dismantle aggressive methane-reduction regulations that were written by the Obama administration's Environmental Protection Agency and Interior Department but opposed by much of the oil and gas industry.

Methane is the main component of natural gas, and a greenhouse gas as much as 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide by volume.

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Exxon’s efforts are focused mostly on its fracking and unconventional drilling subsidiary XTO Energy.

The company is switching to pneumatic pumps designed to reduce methane leaks, implementing new leak detection and repair programs and investing in new research, it said in a Monday statement.

“Our comprehensive initiative is underscored by a technology research and testing effort, and includes personnel training, equipment phase-out and facility design improvements,” XTO President Sara Ortwein said in the statement.

Exxon’s announcement elicited praise from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which has been working for years with industry and the government to try to cut methane emissions.

“XTO Energy is showing real leadership in addressing methane emissions at key sources across its U.S. operations. Delivering on this promise will make XTO a stand-out among the U.S. oil and gas industry,” Mark Brownstein, vice president for climate and energy at EDF, said in a statement.