STAR program launches new partnership

The EPA is expanding its volunteer STAR program to promote cost-effective management practices that could reduce more than 70%�as much as 25 bcf�of the natural gas annually lost by the gathering and processing segment of the industry.


The US Environmental Protection Agency is expanding its STAR program to promote cost-effective management practices that could save up to 25 bcf, or more than 70%, of the natural gas lost annually by the gathering and processing segment of the industry.

The new program proposes to reduce gas losses through market-based activities that are both profitable for industry partners and beneficial to the environment. Industry partners would choose among a number of best management practices recommended by EPA to minimize equipment leaks, reduce gas releases from unit operations, and improve equipment efficiency.

The nine partners in this latest program include BP; Conoco Inc.; Dynegy Midstream Services LP; El Paso Field Services; ExxonMobil Production Co.; ONEOK Field Services; Pioneer Natural Resources USA Inc., Gas Processing; Texaco Exploration & Production Inc.; and UtiliCorp United Inc.

EPA launched the STAR Program in 1993 as part of the US Climate Change Action Plan, the federal government�s strategy for fulfilling voluntary greenhouse gas reduction commitments under the 1992 United Nation�s Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Since then, industry partners have reduced total methane emissions by 117.6 bcf, worth more than $235 million, EPA officials claimed EPA. That's equivalent to removing more than 9.5 million cars from the road for one year or planting 14.5 million acres of trees, they said.

STAR program reported Tuesday that industry partners cut methane emissions from unit operations and equipment leaks by 27 bcf in 1999, creating gas savings worth $54 million at $2/Mcf.

The program initially focused on the transmission and distribution sectors of the gas industry before expanding in 1995 to include production companies. Currently, the program�s production sector partners represent more than 40% of domestic gas production, while transmission and distribution partners represent 70% of transmissions mileage and 47% of distribution service connections.

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