Oil and gas methane emissions gap widens, report says

By Carlos Anchondo | 06/03/2024 06:52 AM EDT

A new study found a wide range of methane emissions for onshore oil and gas producers even as total industry emissions of the heat-trapping gas dropped.

A gas flare burns at a well site.

A gas flare burns at a well site. Matthew Brown/AP

The gap is expanding between U.S. oil and gas producers that are making strides in lowering methane emissions and industry stragglers, according to a new analysis of EPA data.

The annual report from sustainability consultancy ERM found that total reported methane emissions have declined since 2019 — but that there’s still a wide range of emissions for onshore oil and gas producers. Nineteen companies were responsible for half of the industry’s methane in the United States in 2022.

The analysis — developed for the nonprofits Ceres and the Clean Air Task Force — identified Hilcorp Energy as the industry’s largest emitter of methane, a greenhouse gas that has about 80 times the heat-trapping capability of carbon dioxide over a 20-year span. The company was followed by Diversified Energy, Caerus Oil and Gas, ConocoPhillips and BKV Operating LLC as the biggest dischargers of methane.


The report is based on 2022 data reported to EPA under the agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program and data calculated from assumptions in its annual greenhouse gas inventory. The analysis looked at data from 300 oil and gas producers, including for methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. Methane is the largest component of natural gas.