Emissions-reducing Technologies Emerge as Wellsite Priority

U.S. shale producers and service providers focus on reducing their reliance on diesel fuel and identifying and mitigating greenhouse-gas leaks.

NexTier’s NexHub Digital Center is a remote operations center that helps integrate activities across the full scope of the well site, including cementing, hydraulic fracturing, wireline and coiled tubing. (Source: NexTier)

A combination of favorable market factors, including higher and stabilized commodity prices, proven returns on ESG investments and a push to increase production, has created an environment in which shale producers are adopting emissions-reducing technologies at the frac site with greater frequency.

That rapid adoption of both greenhouse-gas reduction practices and new technology deployment could lead many companies with stated net-zero goals to achieve those aspirations by the middle of the decade.

According to a report issued by Wood Mackenzie, “Most Scope 1 emissions could be addressed by mid-decade, given progress companies have made already. Look for continued capex spend of more than $100 million per year for many companies to continue the significant reduction.”

Methane and flaring emissions are quickly falling for many companies, as high natural gas prices have encouraged companies to sell associated gas rather than flare, while technologies being deployed at the well site are helping monitor, identify and even monetize leaked gasses.

For many companies, reducing their emissions profile starts at the well site even before production begins. Decreasing a reliance on diesel fuel for fracking equipment helps cut down on CO₂ emissions. And later during the production phase, knowing where leaks may occur and having the ability to predict when and where those leaks are helps bring emissions reduction efforts to the full life cycle of the well.

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Brian Walzel

Brian Walzel is senior editor for Hart Energy’s E&P Plus.