As part of Southwestern Energy Company's (NYSE: SWN) commitment to driving innovation and advancing methods to reduce methane emissions from its operations, the Company participated in the recently released methane emissions air study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Texas and environmental consulting and testing firms URS and Aerodyne Research. The study was published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This groundbreaking study is a unique partnership and collaborative effort that included the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Southwestern Energy and eight additional energy industry partners. A Scientific Advisory Panel made up of six independent academic experts oversaw the study.
Key findings from the study include:
- Total methane emissions from natural gas production, from all sources measured in the study, are comparable to the most recent EPA estimates.
- Emissions from hydraulically fractured well completions are significantly lower than estimates used by the EPA in the national emissions inventory.
- The majority of hydraulically fractured well completions that were sampled during the study had equipment in place that reduces potential methane emissions by 99%.
- While pneumatic controllers account for 25% of the overall methane emissions from natural gas production, measured methane emissions from certain types of these controllers are higher than current EPA estimates.
- Additional study is required to more accurately quantify emissions associated with well liquids unloading and pneumatic controllers.
"This study shows that the amount of methane emissions from the natural gas production sector can be effectively minimized by applying reasonable emission capture and control practices. We strongly support the effort to capture methane emissions data across the entire natural gas value chain, and we look forward to participating in the next phase of the study that examines gathering and processing," said Mark Boling, President – V+ Development Solutions and General Counsel. "We are committed to preserving air quality and minimizing methane emissions as part of our continuing effort to achieve the proper balance among the economic, social and environmental impacts of our business."
As a result of information obtained from the study, SWN is taking a number of steps to pursue additional opportunities to minimize methane emissions. Examples include:
- Developing a comprehensive leak detection and repair program to minimize fugitive leaks of methane.
- Participating in additional studies to gather data on pneumatic controllers and liquid unloading events to increase the data set and improve knowledge.
- Participating in a research and development project to identify and/or develop cost effective methane emission monitoring devices.
- Working with other energy industry partners to develop a methane leadership initiative with a primary goal of reducing methane emissions from the entire natural gas value chain.
Value+ is SWN's core principle, representing our culture of continuous improvement, innovation and responsibility. Derived from our Formula, SWN announced a new division, V+ Development Solutions, in 2012. V+ Development Solutions is committed to finding and building solutions for achieving the proper balance among the economic, environmental and social impacts of our activities. It focuses in particular on advancing the development of America's abundant supply of domestic natural gas as an essential part of achieving a secure, low-carbon energy future.
Southwestern Energy Company is an independent energy company whose wholly-owned subsidiaries are engaged in oil and gas exploration and production, natural gas gathering and marketing. Additional information on the company can be found on the Internet at http://www.swn.com.
All statements, other than historical facts and financial information, may be deemed to be forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements that address activities, outcomes and other matters that should or may occur in the future, including, without limitation, statements regarding the financial position, business strategy, production and reserve growth and other plans and objectives for the company's future operations, are forward-looking statements. Although the company believes the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. The company has no obligation and makes no undertaking to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, other than to the extent set forth below. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. They are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may affect the company's operations, markets, products, services and prices and cause its actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. In addition to any assumptions and other factors referred to specifically in connection with forward-looking statements, risks, uncertainties and factors that could cause the company's actual results to differ materially from those indicated in any forward-looking statement include, but are not limited to: the timing and extent of changes in market conditions and prices for natural gas and oil (including regional basis differentials); the company's ability to transport its production to the most favorable markets or at all; the timing and extent of the company's success in discovering, developing, producing and estimating reserves; the economic viability of, and the company's success in drilling, the company's large acreage position in the Fayetteville Shale play, overall as well as relative to other productive shale gas areas; the company's ability to fund the company's planned capital investments; the impact of federal, state and local government regulation, including any legislation relating to hydraulic fracturing, the climate or over the counter derivatives; the company's ability to determine the most effective and economic fracture stimulation for the Fayetteville Shale play and the Marcellus Shale play; the costs and availability of oil field personnel services and drilling supplies, raw materials, and equipment and services; the company's future property acquisition or divestiture activities; increased competition; the financial impact of accounting regulations and critical accounting policies; the comparative cost of alternative fuels; conditions in capital markets, changes in interest rates and the ability of the company's lenders to provide it with funds as agreed; credit risk relating to the risk of loss as a result of non-performance by the company's counterparties and any other factors listed in the reports the company has filed and may file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). For additional information with respect to certain of these and other factors, see the reports filed by the company with the SEC. The company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.