Minimizing our impact on the air.
Climate change, emissions reductions, and sustainable energy production are common areas of focus amongst the regulatory and oil & gas communities. In line with these themes, CONSOL Energy has implemented an air quality strategy consisting of five components: tracking regulatory requirements, engaging in stakeholder dialogue, understanding our emissions, identifying opportunities to improve performance, and implementing reduction strategies.
Achieving the most accurate and complete representation of our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions continues to be one of our top environmental priorities. Our inventories have evolved from including select sources based on mandatory regulatory requirements to development of a comprehensive emissions inventory including sources not previously characterized such as fugitive leaks, tanks, blowdown events, and pigging operations. Expansion of our inventory allows us to identify our largest emissions sources and opportunities for targeted reductions.
Emission Reduction Strategies
As a member of the Center for Responsible Shale Development, and in the spirit of continuous improvement, we’ve voluntarily adopted operational emissions reduction strategies that go above and beyond current regulatory requirements. For instance, we exclusively use green completions, in which gas produced during flowback operations is captured, rather than being vented to the atmosphere. It is our policy to only flare gas in cases of low flammability content or if necessary due to site safety concerns. For production, we install emissions controls on all tanks or storage vessels located on unconventional well pads with potential VOC emissions in excess of 6 tons per year. Our unconventional production facilities are also equipped with only low-bleed pneumatic controllers, with a natural gas bleed rate of less than 6.0 scf/hr. Finally, we’ve developed a Directed Inspection and Maintenance (DI&M) program consisting of routine site inspections using Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) cameras. Leaking components identified during inspection are subsequently repaired to limit fugitive emissions.
Our emissions reduction approach extends to our service partners. We require 95% of contractor drilling rig engines and 75% of contractor diesel fracturing pump engines to achieve compliance with U.S. EPA Tier 4 Emissions Standards for particulate matter. In addition, we require 80% of contractor heavy-duty engines used to power hydraulic fracturing pumps and 95% of freshwater transport trucks to comply with U.S. EPA Final Particulate Matter Emission Standards for 2007 and Later Model Year Heavy-Duty Vehicles and Engines.
Implementation of these voluntary emission control strategies has facilitated a reduction in our GHG emissions for the fourth consecutive year. Since beginning to track and disclose our Air Quality performance in 2012, we’ve achieved a 65% reduction in GHG emissions, on a ton per Bcfe of gas produced basis. We convey our approach and emissions inventory to third parties and other stakeholders through our continued participation in multiple disclosure assessments, such as CDP. Within these assessments, we report our indirect and lifecycle emissions in addition to direct emissions associated with our operational activities. Through technical stakeholder engagement, we ensure that our operations are prepared for the future.