Natural Gas STAR International
In 2006, the Natural Gas STAR Program expanded to include oil and natural gas companies throughout the world in support of the Global Methane Initiative. The launch of Natural Gas STAR International significantly increases opportunities to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations worldwide and creates a framework for global application of the Program's principles including cost-effective methane emissions reduction technology and practice implementation.
- Benefits to Participation
- How to Join Natural Gas STAR International
- Technical Resources
- Technical Document Translations
According to the EPA, Global Anthropogenic Non CO2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 1990-2030 report, dated December 2012, oil and natural gas operations are a significant source of global methane emissions, constituting approximately 23 percent of total human-made methane emissions. The report also indicates that in 2010, global oil and natural gas methane emissions totaled approximately 1,677.3 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e). Based on an average natural gas price of $4 (USD) per thousand cubic feet (Mcf), this equates to approximately $16.6 billion (USD) worth of gas lost. Given these results and methane's role as both a potent greenhouse gas and clean energy source, reducing these emissions can have significant economic and environmental benefits.
The United States is a partner in the Global Methane Initiative , an international public-private partnership that advances the cost-effective, voluntary recovery of methane for use as a clean energy source. Global Methane Initiative (formerly Methane to Markets) was launched in November 2004 when 14 national governments signed on as partners. The partnership has since grown to include 40 partner governments and the European Commission and more than 850 public and private sector organizations. Under this framework, EPA launched Natural Gas STAR International, a global partnership with oil and natural gas companies. Natural Gas STAR International [see background document (PDF) (2 pp, 143K, About PDF)] builds on the success of the domestic Natural Gas STAR Program, which has partnered with oil and natural gas companies in the United States since 1993 to promote cost-effective methane emission reduction activities. Natural Gas STAR International Program requirements mirror that of the domestic Natural Gas STAR Program. For additional information on the benefits to participation and company examples, download the Natural Gas STAR International presentation (PPT). (16 pp, 2.6 MB, About PDF)
Membership in Natural Gas STAR International is open to all oil and natural gas companies worldwide. View the current list of companies participating in Natural Gas STAR International. Together, the United States and international oil and natural gas companies are promoting the voluntary implementation of technologies and practices that have been proven to reduce methane emissions from operations.
Benefits to Participation
Created through consensus and collaboration with industry advisors, Natural Gas STAR International, in conjunction with its partner companies, serves as a credible and trusted resource for oil and natural gas companies interested in reducing methane emissions. By participating in this Program, partners drive innovation and build a lasting record of their accomplishments and a reputation for integrity and best practice leadership. Partnership benefits include:
- Information Sharing and Technology Transfer – EPA facilitates Technology Transfer and Annual Implementation Workshops. In addition, EPA publishes detailed Lessons Learned Studies, Partner Reported Opportunities (PRO) Fact Sheets, technical reports and studies, annual partner summary reports, and a quarterly newsletter to help partners learn about new and innovative technologies and practices.
- Program and Technical Assistance – Natural Gas STAR offers a full range of Program support and technical assistance to partners. Through such services as project- and operational-level analyses, technical workshops, and administrative Program support, EPA provides guidance that helps partners reap the full economic and environmental benefits of reducing methane emissions. The Natural Gas STAR Team includes technical experts from all sectors of the oil and natural gas industry, as well as communication and outreach professionals.
- Peer Networking – Partners can participate in Technology Transfer Workshops, Annual Implementation Workshops, and Web-based communications to build strong networks with industry peers and keep up on industry trends, initiatives, and the latest technologies.
- Public Recognition – EPA provides recognition, honors, and distinctions to highlight partner achievements at an annual awards ceremony, in articles in the Program newsletter and industry journals, public service announcements, and technical studies and fact sheets. EPA also helps partners communicate Program achievements to shareholders, customers, and the public.
How to Join Natural Gas STAR International
The following lists the key steps to joining Natural Gas STAR International. Companies decide the level of participation that best suits them, evaluating company-wide, site-specific, or pilot projects.
Joining Natural Gas STAR International requires that participating companies:
- Sign and submit a one-page Memorandum of Understanding. This important step initiates the partnership, demonstrates the company's commitment to the Program, and identifies company points of contact. For more information about becoming a Natural Gas STAR partner, roles, and responsibilities, visit Guidelines to Participation.
- Evaluate current and future voluntary activities that reduce methane emissions.
- Submit an Implementation Plan summarizing how your company plans to incorporate Natural Gas STAR International in its operations. After your MOU has been received by EPA, you will be contacted by a Program representative to offer assistance in working with you to plan your company's participation and implementation strategy. Natural Gas STAR can also provide you with a variety of tools and resources to assist you in implementing the Program across your company's operations.
- Report the results of these activities to EPA after one full calendar year of participation and on an annual basis thereafter.
Essentially, joining Natural Gas STAR International requires partners to commit time, personnel, and resources for communicating with EPA, analyzing and implementing projects, and preparing and submitting annual reports. For more detailed information about implementing/administering Natural Gas STAR International at your company, visit Join the Program and Guidelines to Participation.
To assist Natural Gas STAR International partners in identifying and prioritizing methane emission reduction opportunities and to make the most of Program participation, EPA provides the following services and resources:
- International Partner Challenge Service — Please note that the Partner Challenge Service has changed. The service is now available to international partners only. The goal of the Natural Gas STAR International Partner Challenge Service is to assist international partner companies in identifying and implementing new methane emission reduction opportunities by developing estimates of key methane emission sources, identifying and prioritizing these emission sources, and proposing economically and environmentally beneficial mitigation, technologies and practices. The end product is a detailed report that quantifies estimated methane emissions by source and provides detailed economic and methane emissions analyses for implementing targeted methane emission reduction technologies or practices. Services provided through the International Partner Challenge are free of charge. While international partner companies are in no way obligated to implement U.S. EPA's recommendations, demonstrated company commitment to methane mitigation is a key factor in selecting candidates for this service.
- Technical Resources including documents describing more than 120 technologies and practices that can cost-effectively reduce methane emissions. These are proven, commercial technologies that have been successfully implemented by members of the oil and natural gas industry. Technical documents are also available in Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish.
- Technical Workshops to raise awareness about the sources and volumes of methane emissions, identify available technologies, and measure and reduce emissions. Targeted to environmental, operations, maintenance, and engineering staff, workshops provide technical detail on recommended technologies and practices, including operational considerations, economic analyses, environmental benefits, and case studies from companies that have implemented the target activities.
- Technical Guidance Natural Gas STAR offers a full range of Program support and technical guidance to partners. Through the Partner Update (the Program newsletter), case study analyses, technical workshops, and administrative Program support, EPA provides guidance that helps partners reap the full economic and environmental benefits of reducing methane emissions.
These resources and services are provided free of charge by EPA, and partner companies are not obligated to implement any of EPA’s recommendations. For a complete listing of all the resources and services available to partners, visit:
- Documents, Tools and Resources – Natural Gas STAR provides tools and resources to assist partners in identifying and prioritizing new methane emission reduction opportunities, quantifying emission reductions, collecting and managing data, and administering the Program.
- Beyond the Basics – Achieving and Maintaining Excellence – Learn how to take your Natural Gas STAR Program to the next level—identify emissions reduction opportunities, motivate personnel, and communicate your successes.