Key Components of Natural Gas STAR
Participation in the Natural Gas STAR Program has numerous benefits. By working together to reduce methane emissions, EPA and Natural Gas STAR partners are successfully improving performance, increasing natural gas supply, saving money, and protecting the environment.
Becoming a Natural Gas STAR partner and participating in the Program involves the following steps:
Step 1 - Sign a One-Page Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): This important step initiates the Partnership, demonstrates the company’s commitment to the Program, and identifies company points of contact. By signing the MOU, the company is signifying its intent to evaluate current and future technologies and management practices that reduce methane emissions, implement them when cost-effective, and report these activities to EPA on an annual basis. MOU forms for each oil and natural gas industry sector and international companies are available online. To learn more about becoming a Natural Gas STAR partner, visit Join the Program.
Step 2 – Develop an Implementation Plan: The Natural Gas STAR Program works to advance cost-effective technologies that reduce methane emissions, but it is up to each partner to determine which technologies and practices it will implement to reduce emissions. Natural Gas STAR Program Implementation Plans facilitate development of a strategy for how partners will identify non-regulatory methane emission reduction activities they are undertaking, plan new activities, and develop mechanisms for tracking methane emission reduction data and activities. An Implementation Plan is a living document that changes over time as each partner's goals and commitment evolve. Companies develop an Implementation Plan within 6 to 12 months of joining.
Partner approaches to developing an Implementation Plan vary. To provide guidance to partners and to minimize the administrative burden, Implementation Plan Forms are available online. In addition, Natural Gas STAR staff can provide assistance, Program information, and resources, as well as sample Implementation Plans.
Step 3 – Execute the Program: The Implementation Plan provides a roadmap that defines the key elements of a company's participation in the Program. While Natural Gas STAR Program representatives are available to provide assistance in identifying and prioritizing technologies and practices based on company-specific circumstances, it is ultimately up to partners to ensure that their program moves forward and that cost-effective activities are implemented. Over time, partners are encouraged to continue expanding on their emission reduction activities by communicating their achievements and engaging management and operations personnel. Natural Gas STAR provides a variety of tools and resources to facilitate Program implementation:
- The STARtracker software tool can be used to input and access data from any location and catalog methane emissions reductions across the company.
- The ON TIME Tool gives users easy access to information on cost-effective technologies and practices that reduce methane emissions in the oil and natural gas industry. The Tool also displays interactive flow diagrams of the oil and natural gas industry.
- Various communication tools are available to partners including templates for news articles and press releases, as well as template presentations, to facilitate the sharing of Program successes with internal and external stakeholders.
Please see Beyond the Basics–Achieving and Maintaining Excellence to learn about ways you can gain more from your participation and how other partners have achieved Program success.
Step 4 – Submit an Annual Progress Report: After one full calendar year of participation in the Program, partners begin submitting annual reports documenting the previous year’s emission reduction activities and corresponding methane emissions reductions. Partner approaches to reporting vary and are flexible. Some partners devise their own reporting format (e.g., EMiS tracking databases, spreadsheets), while others use the Program’s standard reporting forms. Annual reporting forms for each industry sector are available online. The Natural Gas STAR Online Reporting System is also available to partners who prefer to submit their data to EPA electronically. More detailed guidance about the annual reporting process can be found on the Annual Reporting page.