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Twenty-six of America’s leading oil and natural gas producers today launched The Environmental Partnership, an industry-based coalition collaborating to reduce methane emissions and improve environmental impacts resulting from the production of oil and natural gas.

Top New Mexico producers Anadarko Petroleum, Apache Corporation, BP America, Chevron, Cimarex Energy, ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, Encana, EOG Resources, XTO Energy, Marathon Oil, Noble Energy, and Occidental Petroleum are among the 26 producers initially joining the partnership.

“Responsibly producing oil and natural gas is a top priority for all operators in New Mexico, and this partnership underscores our commitment to protecting the environment,” said NMOGA Executive Director Ryan Flynn. “Oil and natural gas producers are leading the way in developing and implementing innovative technologies to reduce the footprint of operations and increase gas capture. Market-based solutions like these are key to helping producers continue emission reductions.”

The program launches as national and state methane emissions from oil and natural gas production are plummeting. According to EPA data, oil and natural gas methane emissions nationally have fallen 16.3 percent from 1990-2015, while oil production is up 28 percent and natural gas production has increased by 52 percent. In New Mexico, methane emissions in the San Juan Basin have dropped an astonishing 47 percent and fallen 6 percent in the Permian Basin, as state oil production in has climbed 104 percent and natural gas production has increased by 1 percent.

The methane reduction initiative will be comprised of environmental performance programs such as Leak Program for Natural Gas and Oil Production Sources; Program to Replace, Remove or Retrofit High-Bleed Pneumatic Controllers; and Program for Manual Liquids Unloading for Natural Gas Production Sources. The program will be implemented beginning Jan. 1, 2018.

Last month, the New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department reported to legislative committees that venting and flaring of methane has dropped by 52 percent from June 2016 to July 2017, even as the number of drilling rigs operating in New Mexico has more than quadrupled. EMNRD also reported that vented or flared gas only represents 1 percent of all natural gas produced in New Mexico.

To learn more about the environmental partnership or today’s announcement, visit API.org and www.TheEnvironmentalPartnership.org.