2016-2017 Corporate Responsibility

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 ensures we stay 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.

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Production Operations

MethaneEmissions2016MethaneEmissionsRate2016

Our focus on operational efficiencies has led to a decline in our total methane emissions from 2011 to 2016—despite an increase in domestic production in our operational areas. Over the past five years, our production increased 26 percent, while methane emissions have decreased 60 percent.

Our methane emissions represented only 0.12 percent* of our domestic production in 2016, down 69 percent from 2011 levels. Reporting by this method allows us to consistently benchmark our methane reduction efforts against our peers while also putting our methane emissions in perspective, encompassing the full scope of our producing operations. The majority of our methane emission volumes are based on indirect measurements using agency-approved emission factors, hydrocarbon composition and gas analysis. In North Dakota, however, we measure emissions directly from flared gas; 98 percent of our facilities in the area are equipped with meters.

Methane emissions account for only 1.1 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.

Gathering and Boosting

After the production phase, oil and gas are collected at the well pad. In accordance with a new 2016 rule for the gathering and boosting phase, we now report on emissions from gathering pipelines and other equipment associated with collection. In 2016, greenhouse gas emissions resulting from gathering and boosting processes represented five percent of our total emissions.

2016GHG
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Reducing Emissions

Newfield was an early adopter of methane reduction technology. We voluntarily made the decision to adapt and put into operation green completions 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 removed all high-bleed controllers from 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 accordance with air quality regulations, we design our wells and facilities to avoid intentional venting and minimize venting practices during operations. In North Dakota we are working closely with midstream partners to improve the capture of produced gas into pipelines. Gas volumes that we are unable to capture are flared as allowed by state regulations. In 2016 we were able to significantly reduce flared gas volumes by 63 percent from 2015 levels.

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.  

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 plans to minimize flaring, 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.

2016Summary

Reduced Truck Traffic

Truck

Replacing trucks with pipelines correlates 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 harsh weather conditions—protecting drivers and reducing traffic accidents and the risk of spills.

Truck use has been further reduced by connecting both existing producing wells to newly available infrastructure and new wells to pipelines more quickly, eliminating the need for interim truck transport. Using pipelines to move oil from our production operations directly to a transportation terminal eliminated 1.3 million miles of truck travel and nearly 1,835 metric tons of CO2e in 2016.

By the end of 2016, 72 percent of our wells were connected to pipelines in North Dakota, transporting 76 percent of our product in the Williston Basin. Plans are to continue expanding the utilization of pipelines.



Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR)

valvesA compliance-based leak detection and repair (LDAR) program is in place to inspect equipment, tanks, vapor collection systems, connections, pumps and valves daily. As a standard industry practice, we use audio, visual and olfactory (AVO) methods to evaluate our production facilities at our operations. Additionally, each of our facilities are formally inspected at least once a year using both AVO and infrared methods.

Our LDAR program also utilizes infrared camera technology to detect methane leaks not visible to the naked eye. The infrared camera allows for quick and safe monitoring of all equipment and helps identify which components may need repair. The team immediately attempts to repair identified leaks while on site. If an immediate repair cannot be made, the leak is prioritized for repair according to state and federal regulations with the goal to repair leaks within 30 days.

We employ and train a full-time compliance team to perform these inspections and repairs daily on operational units. To receive LDAR inspection certification, the compliance team completes a field exercise that demonstrates their ability to operate the infrared camera and successfully record leaks and repairs. We also provide leak detection training to all operation production staff about common types of leaks, methods for testing and repair and protocol for reporting.

While our LDAR program is regulatory-based, some of our leak reduction efforts do extend beyond compliance. In order to maximize environmental benefit from these voluntary inspections, we strategically target facilities and equipment with the greatest potential for fugitive emissions. This selection strategy also is based on identification of high producing locations and geographical proximity.

We strive to enhance and innovate processes in our LDAR program to advance methane emission management. For example, we utilize advanced tablet-based technology to log all LDAR and AVO inspections onsite with identifying information, affected equipment and repair updates. Using this digital logging system allows all data to be automatically sent to our compliance tracking system and also enables us to analyze trends on equipment leaks.

As a result of our successful LDAR program, in 2016 we repaired 2,500 leaks through 765 inspections in Utah and North Dakota using infrared technology—13 percent of which were voluntary. In addition, 1,539 AVO inspections were performed at our Utah operations. In 2017, AVO inspections were extended to every Newfield operating area.



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.
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Our Vehicle Fleet

Though our vehicle fleet is small by industry standards, 15 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. Using CNG fuel in place of gasoline avoided 30 tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.

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Page last updated on October 25, 2017