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Natural Gas STAR Program

Methane Challenge Program

Methane Challenge Program logoEPA launched the Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program with 41 founding partners at the Global Methane Forum on March 30, 2016 in Washington, D.C. and announced the founding partners of the ONE Future Commitment Option on October 28, 2016.

 

The Methane Challenge Program provides a new mechanism through which U.S. oil and gas companies can make more specific and transparent commitments to reducing methane emissions. The Program provides a platform for partners to showcase their efforts to reduce methane emissions, improve air quality, and capture and monetize this valuable energy resource.

Methane Challenge Program partners will transparently report systematic and comprehensive actions to reduce methane emissions and be publicly recognized as leaders in reducing methane emissions in the U.S. Doing so reduces operational risk, increases efficiency, and demonstrates company concern for the environment, with benefits spanning from climate change to air quality improvements to conservation of a non-renewable energy resource.

Methane Challenge Program partners will be publicly recognized as leaders in reducing methane emissions in the U.S. Doing so reduces operational risk, increases efficiency, and demonstrates company concern for the environment, with benefits spanning from climate change to air quality improvements to conservation of a non-renewable energy resource.  Methane Challenge partners also enjoy the benefits of our Natural Gas STAR Program: 

  • Information Sharing and Technology Transfer – EPA facilitates Technology Transfer and Annual Implementation Workshops to help partners learn about new and innovative technologies and practices.
  • 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.
  • Voluntary Record of Reductions – Through Program participation and reporting, companies create a permanent record of their voluntary accomplishments in reducing methane emissions. In addition, annual reporting allows EPA to provide feedback to partners through individual, detailed summary reports.
  • Public Recognition – EPA provides recognition to highlight partner achievements in articles, industry journals, technical studies and fact sheets. EPA also helps partners communicate Program achievements to shareholders, customers, and the public.

The BMP Commitment is intended to spur near-term, widespread implementation of methane mitigation activities across the oil and natural gas value chain, and offers the opportunity for partner companies to demonstrate comprehensive action to address methane emissions from key emitting sources. This option provides flexibility for companies in several ways. Companies may:

  • Focus their commitment on one or more sources
  • Select from BMP mitigation options affiliated with each source
  • Set the target year for company-wide implementation of best practices (within five years of start date), and establish the timeframe for implementation and relevant milestones

In addition to the BMP Commitment, EPA has finalized the ONE Future Emissions Intensity Commitment Option program materials, giving potential partners a second commitment option they could choose. The ONE Future Commitment offers partner companies flexibility in determining the most cost-effective pathway to achieve their respective segment emission rate. The Commitment supports members of the Our Nation’s Energy Future Coalition (ONE Future) partnership, who have agreed to segment-specific emissions intensity targets that inform a collective goal of reducing methane emissions associated with the production, processing, transmission and distribution of the U.S. onshore natural gas value chain to 1% or less by 2025. 

Becoming a Methane Challenge partner involves the following steps (forms are available under the Program Materials tab):

  • Step 1 - Complete the Partnership Agreement Form: This step formalizes a partner's commitment to company-wide implementation of BMPs to reduce methane emissions from key sources by a future target date. Partners use the form to specify participating sources, start date, and target achievement year. 
  • Step 2 – Prepare an Implementation Plan: The Implementation Plan provides an outline of a partner's commitment(s) under the Methane Challenge Program and details on their planned participation, such as anticipated rate of progress and key milestones.  An Implementation Plan is a living document that changes over time as each partner's goals and commitment evolve. Companies develop an Implementation Plan within 6 months of joining the Program. View the Implementation Plan Guidelines for more information. 
  • Step 3 – Execute the Program: The Implementation Plan provides a roadmap that defines the key elements of a company's participation in the Program. As progress is made, partners are encouraged to evaluate the adoption of additional commitments.
  • Step 4 – Submit an Annual Progress Report: Partners will collect and submit emission and reduction data each spring.  The first report will be due after one full calendar year of participation in the Program. 

The Program will accept new partners at any time. Interested companies are encouraged to contact Justin Pryor (202-343-9258 or pryor.justin@epa.gov) for more information.

The following documents provide important programmatic information for oil and gas companies considering the BMP Commitment of the Methane Challenge Program.

Topic Document Title
Learn More Methane Challenge Program Best Management Practice (BMP) Commitment Framework
Join the Program BMP Commitment Option Partnership Agreement

BMP Commitment Partnership Agreement: Appendix A - Commitment Table (1 pg, 17 K)
Submit Implementation Plan Implementation Plan Guidelines

Methane Challenge Implementation Plan Template(2 pp, 375 K)
Program Logo Methane Challenge Program Logo
Supplementary Technical Information BMP Commitment: Distribution Segment Supplementary Technical Information

BMP Commitment: Onshore Production through Transmission and Storage Supplementary Technical Information

The following documents provide important programmatic information for oil and gas companies considering the ONE Future Emissions Intensity Commitment of the Methane Challenge Program.

Topic Document Title
Learn More Methane Challenge Program ONE Future Emissions Intensity Commitment Framework
Join the Program ONE Future Commitment Option Partnership Agreement
Submit Implementation Plan Implementation Plan Guidelines
Supplementary Technical Information ONE Future Commitment Supplementary Technical Information

In 2015, EPA received feedback on all elements of the proposed voluntary Methane Challenge Program. In response, EPA structured the final Methane Challenge BMP and ONE Future Commitment Frameworks based on extensive stakeholder feedback on the program proposal issued in July 2015. Comments received through the Methane Challenge feedback mechanism are provided in the document below.


EPA announcements regarding the program can be found below.