A coalition of U.S. natural gas and oil producers formed in late 2017 to innovate and add best practices to improve environmental performance and reduce emissions from Lower 48 operations said it has grown to 69 members and represents more than one-third of total domestic output.

The Environmental Partnership, which began with 26 exploration and production (E&P) companies, now includes 70 natural gas and oil operators, including 32 of the top 40 gas producers, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API), which administers the group.

“The rapid growth of The Environmental Partnership in its first two years demonstrates the commitment of the U.S. natural gas and oil industry to delivering solutions that lower emissions while meeting society’s growing energy needs,” said program director Matthew Todd. “The collective actions of the industry...have already proven effective in reducing emissions.”

Overall, methane emissions from the natural gas industry have fallen an estimated 14% even as production has increased since 1990 by 50%, API said, citing figures from the Energy Information Administration.

“This is effectively a 43% reduction in the rate of emissions, further demonstrating the industry’s continued progress in minimizing emissions as we maximize efficiency in getting energy to the consumer,” executives said.

The E&P partnership also highlighted work underway by its members, noting they have conducted more than 156,000 surveys across nearly 80,000 production sites to reduce emissions.

“The surveys inspected more than 56 million components and found that only 0.16% of components were in need of repair,” the partnership said. Nearly all (99%) were repaired within 60 days.

Members also are upgrading and replacing emissions-related equipment, with more than 31,000 high-bleed pneumatic controllers replaced, retrofitted or removed from service.

API’s 600-plus members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, marine businesses, and service/supply firms.

In September, an oil and natural gas climate accord made up of 13 of the largest global producers launched initiatives that include decarbonizing industrial hubs to reduce methane emissions and pledged to support policies "that attribute an explicit or implicit value to carbon."

Meanwhile, Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA), which counts among its members some of the world's largest gas producers and marketers, said earlier this month it supports carbon pricing "as a critical pathway to aggressively reducing carbon emissions."

CEO Dena Wiggins said the association wants to create “a clean energy future that is affordable for all and we believe a price on carbon will help get us there. Pricing carbon will help reduce carbon emissions now, while encouraging the development of innovative technologies like carbon capture that will drastically reduce or even eliminate emissions in the future...

"We believe a national carbon pricing plan across all sectors would achieve the best results, but if states are designing individual approaches to reducing emissions right now, we urge them to incorporate a price on carbon in power markets, ideally coordinated with other states."