Air Quality & Climate Change

Newfield is at the forefront in its pursuit of new technologies and processes to reduce air emissions in our operational regions. We have a long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship and an awareness that it is essential to our social license to operate. Our comprehensive air quality plan outlines our goals and keeps us on track as we work to meet our compliance, data quality and emission reductions in accordance with federal and state regulations. A summary of this plan may be found here.


Greenhouse Gas Emissions


Our focus on operational efficiencies has led to a decline in our total methane emissions from 2011 to 2015—despite an increase in domestic production in our operational areas. Over the past four years, our production increased 17 percent, while methane emissions decreased 44 percent. As a percentage of production, our methane emissions represented only 0.19 percent* of our domestic production in 2015, down more than 50 percent from 2011 levels. Furthermore, methane emissions account for only 1.3 percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions. For more information on our GHG emissions trends by operating basin, see our historic air emissions data.

*Calculated by converting total production in MBOE to Mcf.


Reducing Emissions

Newfield was an early adopter of methane reduction technology. We voluntarily made the decision to adapt and put into operation green completion technology on every Newfield oil well. This has enabled us to capture methane at the wellhead, and gather and deliver it to market.

We began to eliminate the use of high-bleed pneumatics in our operations in 2009. Today we have essentially removed all high-bleed controllers in our operations. Our new well sites, located in the SCOOP play of Oklahoma, are being constructed with non-pneumatic controls which are powered by solar energy, instead of natural gas.

In 2015, Newfield worked closely with our midstream partners to improve the capture of our produced gas in the Bakken. As of June 2016, we were able to significantly reduce flared gas volumes by 78.5 percent from 2015 levels. By capturing more gas, we will continue to decrease our greenhouse gas emissions.

We also power our operations with reduced emissions methods wherever feasible.

In the Uinta Basin, we upgraded our own drilling rigs with cleaner-burning engines that meet or exceed EPA Tier 3 standards. Since 2009, we’ve replaced more than 600 of our older pumpjack engines with more efficient clean-burning units, and when a connection to local utilities is possible, well pad operations are powered by electricity.

In our Anadarko Basin operations, we’ve outfitted a number of our rigs with bi-fuel engines that run on natural gas instead of diesel.  

We recently completed an environmental impact statement for our Uinta Basin operations, and have voluntarily committed to implementing a comprehensive suite of emission reduction initiatives. These include a continuation of our voluntary leak detection and repair program, installing low-emission equipment, lending technical support to scientific research and conducting air quality training for our employees. Read the full list of our commitments.


Reduced Truck Traffic

TruckReplacing trucks with pipelines has correlated to less gas venting from truck hatches during loading and fewer tailpipe emissions from truck traffic. The use of pipelines also keeps trucks off the roads during North Dakota’s harsh weather conditions—protecting drivers and reducing traffic accidents and the risk of spills. We eliminated over 600,000 miles of truck travel and nearly 900 metric tons of CO2e in 2015 by moving our product through pipelines.

Through increased utilization of pipelines in our Williston Basin operations, we have reduced the number of tanker trucks needed to transport our product. Pipelines can move oil from our production operations directly to a transportation terminal. After conducting trials in 2014, 63 percent of our wells were connected to pipelines by the end of 2015, transporting 31.5 percent of our product in the Williston Basin. Plans are to continue expanding our use of pipelines.

Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR)

valvesAs a standard practice, we conduct audio / visual / olfactory (AVO) inspections at each  of our production facilities as part of our daily operations. In 2015, we initiated a voluntary inspection program for leak detection and repair in our Utah operations that expands the scope of our state air quality requirements. Using infrared camera technology, the compliance team is able to detect methane and VOC leaks not visible to the naked eye. We recently expanded this program to include our North Dakota operations. In order to maximize the environmental benefits from this program, the enhanced inspection program strategically targets facilities with the greatest potential for fugitive emissions.

Our full-time compliance team inspects well pads daily to check equipment, connections and valves on operational units, and immediately repairs identified leaks. Providing leak detection training to a dedicated team ensures quick and efficient repairs. As a result of this successful program, we voluntarily inspected approximately 14 percent of our strategically-selected Utah facilities in 2015 and repaired 2,215 leaking components.

Consistent with many of our peers, we do not report a greenhouse gas emissions target due to a number of factors. With frequent changes to baseline greenhouse gas rules and the variety of factors at play in evaluating our total GHG emissions, we choose to focus our efforts on day-to-day activities and processes that can generate continuous, daily improvements instead of a specific, extended target. This method has paid off as we’ve continued to realize reduced greenhouse emissions over the course of the past five years—even as our production has increased.

Our Vehicle Fleet

Though our vehicle fleet is small by industry standards, 16 percent of our trucks are equipped to run on low-emission fuels like compressed natural gas (CNG) and flex fuel. Our flex fuel vehicles can run on gasoline-ethanol blends of up to 85 percent—reducing our fleet tailpipe emissions. While the limited availability of CNG fueling stations restricts our ability to implement bi-fuel CNG vehicles, we’ve optimized the placement of our vehicles to gain better access to available stations. Using bi-fuel CNG vehicles has contributed to reductions in both greenhouse and carbon monoxide gases.