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Natural Gas STAR Program

Natural Gas STAR International

In 2006, the Natural Gas STAR Program expanded to include oil and natural gas companies throughout the world. NGSI builds off of the framework of the Global Methane InitiativeExit, an international public-private partnership that advances the cost-effective, voluntary recovery of methane for use as a clean energy source.  

The launch of NGSI significantly increases opportunities to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas operations worldwide and creates a framework for global application of the Program's principles including cost-effective methane emissions reduction technology and practice implementation.

Membership in NGSI is open to all oil and natural gas companies with operations outside of the U.S. By participating in the Program, partners drive innovation and build a lasting record of their accomplishments and a reputation for integrity and best practice leadership. Partnership benefits include:

  • 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 following lists the key steps for joining NGSI:

  • Step 1 - Sign a One-Page Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): This step initiates the Partnership, demonstrates the company’s commitment to the Program, and identifies company points of contact. By signing the MOU, the company is signifying its intent to evaluate current and future technologies and management practices that reduce methane emissions, implement them when cost-effective, and report these activities to EPA on an annual basis. 
  • Step 2 – Develop an Implementation Plan: The Natural Gas STAR Program works to advance cost-effective technologies that reduce methane emissions, but it is up to each partner to determine which technologies and practices it will implement to reduce emissions. The Implementation Plan facilitates the development of a strategy for how partners will identify non-regulatory methane emission reduction activities they are undertaking, plan new activities, and develop mechanisms for tracking methane emission reduction data and activities. 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 to 12 months of joining. 
  • Step 3 – Execute the Program: The Implementation Plan provides a roadmap that defines the key elements of a company's participation in the Program. While Natural Gas STAR Program representatives are available to provide assistance in identifying and prioritizing technologies and practices based on company-specific circumstances, it is ultimately up to partners to ensure that their program moves forward and that cost-effective activities are implemented. Over time, partners are encouraged to continue expanding on their emission reduction activities by communicating their achievements and engaging management and operations personnel.
  • Step 4 – Submit an Annual Progress Report: After one full calendar year of participation in the Program, partners begin submitting annual reports documenting the previous year’s emission reduction activities and corresponding methane emissions reductions. More detailed guidance about the annual reporting process can be found on the Reporting tab.

Annual reporting is a key requirement to remain a partner in NGSI. Following the first full calendar year of participation in the Program, EPA requires partners to submit an annual report documenting the previous year’s methane emission reduction activities. It is important to note that all reported emission reduction activities must be voluntary and not driven by a regulatory requirement, whether it is environmental or otherwise.

In the spring of each year, EPA distributes annual reporting packages with the information that partners need to complete their annual reports. Natural Gas STAR encourages partners to report current and past activities that have resulted in methane emissions reductions. Through Program participation and reporting, companies create a permanent record of their voluntary accomplishments in reducing methane emissions. It is through annual reporting that partners receive an individual detailed summary report. This document summarizes the progress a company has made since joining the Program.

  • How do Partners Report to EPA?

    The Natural Gas STAR Program has developed an online reporting system to allow partners to quickly and easily submit annual methane emissions reduction data to EPA. Access to the Natural Gas STAR Online Reporting SystemExit is password-protected to keep company information private. Only the Natural Gas STAR Program and its contractors may access the information submitted by partners. 

  • What Is Included in an Annual Report?

    Natural Gas STAR annual reporting consists of voluntary (non-regulatory driven) methane emission reduction activities that partner companies have implemented in the previous year, including corresponding methane emissions reductions achieved, and to the extent available, the economics associated with each activity. Partners are also encouraged to report past activities that have resulted in methane emissions reductions, but that have not been previously reported to EPA.

    The implementation of certain technologies and practices reduces methane emissions for multiple years; therefore, Natural Gas STAR allows these to count toward a partner company’s emissions reductions beyond the initial year of implementation. Natural Gas STAR designates the maximum length of time that emissions reductions can accrue as “sunset dates.” Companies may either report the corresponding methane emissions reductions each year up to the allowable sunset date, or allow EPA to automatically roll-up their reductions for the designated period of time. View a complete list of Natural Gas STAR recommended technologies and practices and corresponding sunset dates.

    The Natural Gas STAR Program is also available to assist partners in conducting economic analyses related to the implementation of cost-effective technologies and practices. Please contact a EPA Natural Gas STAR Program Manager or STAR Service Representative for assistance.

Natural Gas STAR International partners reported 6.7 Bcf in methane emissions reductions in 2014 for a total of 115 Bcf since the inception of Natural Gas STAR International Program. To date, international partners have undertaken methane emission reduction activities in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Oman, Poland and Qatar. In 2014, these companies reported methane emissions reductions from the implementation of 15 technologies and practices.

The 2014 voluntary international methane emissions reductions are equivalent to:

  • The additional revenue of more than $26.8 million in natural gas sales (assumes an average natural gas price of $4.00 per thousand cubic feet).
  • The avoidance of 3.2 million tonnes CO2 equivalent.
  • The carbon sequestered annually by more than 2.6 million acres of U.S. forests.
 
Year Annual (Bcf) Cumulative (Bcf)
2004 1.7 1.7
2005 1.3 3.0
2006 4.0 6.9
2007 7.4 14.4
2008 48.9 63.3
2009 10.7 74.0
2010 7.8 81.8
2011 8.5 90.3
2012 7.7 98.0
2013 10.8 108.8
2014 6.7 115.4

Partners can derive the most benefit from NGSI by incorporating its principles into day-to-day operations. Raising awareness about the Program and motivating employees to proactively seek out—and communicate about—new opportunities promotes strong participation and success without requiring significant additional resources. This section provides a brief description of concepts and ideas used by partners to generate this corporate momentum. 

  • Form a Cross-Functional Team

    Partners have found that establishing cross-functional Natural Gas STAR teams can facilitate comprehensive execution of the Program. By engaging representatives from management, EH&S, operations and maintenance, engineering, supply chain and project planning, Natural Gas STAR principles and messages can reach a wider audience. By educating these representatives on Natural Gas STAR, each can contribute ideas for how the Program can be implemented within their function.

    In addition to considering technologies and practices for implementation, the cross-functional team can identify key stakeholders, consider how the team is going to communicate, and identify and resolve barriers. Benefits of a functional team include:

    • Increasing collaboration with staff that are involved with day-to-day operations.
    • Receiving input and support from staff who will be responsible for implementing or managing the methane emission reduction technologies and activities.
    • Improving communications with management to ensure continued support and buy-in.
    • Providing a platform for vetting program ideas and priorities.
  • Evaluate Methane Emission Reduction Opportunities

    The Natural Gas STAR Program has developed a broad range of tools and technical resources to help evaluate and implement proven methane emission reduction activities. Periodic reviews of the following resources can ensure that a company is aware of the latest technologies and practices that are relevant for their industry sector.

    • Technical Documents — Natural Gas STAR provides information on more than 80 innovative, cost-effective methane emission reduction opportunities. Resources include Lessons Learned Studies and Partner Reported Opportunities (PRO) Fact Sheets.  The Recommended Technologies and Practices section of the Natural Gas STAR website provides a comprehensive list of these opportunities, including implementation costs and anticipated payback.
    • Natural Gas STAR Partner Update —These newsletters provide information about the Natural Gas STAR Program, cutting edge emissions reduction practices and technologies, partner accomplishments, workshops/events and other sector related news.
  • Communicate Success

    NGSI partner companies work hard to advance emission reduction technologies and practices. Effectively communicating success helps a company to maintain momentum, further engage employees, and share achievements with other stakeholders.

    • Announcing Your Partnership  — Companies new to the partnership are encouraged to announce that they have joined Natural Gas STAR in their company newsletter, website, or in a press release to advertise to individuals within the company, as well as outside entities, the company's commitment to the environment.
    • Publicizing Your Natural Gas STAR Accomplishments — After your company has begun implementing technologies and practices as part of your commitment to reducing methane emissions, you are encouraged to publicize your methane emissions reductions in your company newsletter, website, or shareholder report to illustrate the company's dedication to participating in the Program and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    Natural Gas STAR Logo:  As a partner in NGSI, you are encouraged to use the Natural Gas STAR Program's logo as part of your company's corporate communications program. The Natural Gas STAR logo can be used:

    • On promotional items.
    • On corporate letterhead for environmental communications.
    • In trade show exhibition booths.
    • As a link from a company's corporate website to the Natural Gas STAR Program home page.