Preserving Air Quality,
To help sustain air quality and reduce emissions, Chesapeake announced a series of corporate goals and actions to achieve net zero direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2035.
Net zero direct GHG emissions by 2035
Pathway to Achievement
- Eliminate routine flaring on all wells completed from 2021 forward
(enterprise-wide by 2025)
- Reduce methane intensity to 0.09% by 2025
(volume methane emissions/volume gross natural gas produced)
- Reduce GHG intensity to 5.5 by 2025
(tCO2e/gross mboe produced)
To achieve our pledges and reach our goal of net zero emissions, Chesapeake takes a thoughtful, integrated approach.
A Responsible Approach to Reducing Emissions
Identify and adopt technology to drive down our emissions profile
Reduce emissions through facility design, routine inspections, monitoring, data efficacy and field-level training
Certify production across two major shale basins (first operator to do so); continue expanding learnings to other assets
Participate in scientific research to better characterize air pollution, GHG emissions and climate implications
Collaborate with government organizations and other stakeholders for science-based regulation
Chesapeake’s robust air program has regulatory compliance at its foundation. We utilize an electronic compliance management system that allows task tracking, report generation and emissions calculations to facilitate compliance with state and federal requirements, as well as integration with maintenance tasks and inspections with field employees.
Regulations are specific to the sources and pollutants emitted. At the federal level, the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants and the New Source Performance Standards are EPA rules and regulations that govern our operations. Each state has its own regulations, many of which require emissions inventories that account for the amount of pollutants released into the atmosphere.
We support science-based regulation of our operations, including the federal regulation of methane that we believe promotes natural gas as an integral part of a lower carbon future.
To ensure awareness of site emissions compliance, Chesapeake’s Air Permitting and Compliance team developed on-site training for field staff. During this training, our Air team meets with operators in the field, walking them through facilities to identify emissions sources and ensure we meet operational and record keeping emissions requirements. To date, approximately 225 field employees and contract operators have participated in the training.
Smart Design Reduces Emissions
Although operational compliance is the fundamental goal of our air program, we also voluntarily implement measures to reduce air emissions from the inception of our facility design.
Emissions Reduction and Management Practices
- Automatic tank gauging
- Increased pipeline infrastructure (reduced truck traffic)
- Leak detection and repair (LDAR)
- Preventive maintenance practices
- Solar- and wind-powered equipment
- Electric distribution systems
- Pneumatic controller emissions reduction
- Elimination of high-bleed pneumatic devices
- Remote facility monitoring and shut down
- Vapor recovery
- Use of diesel-alternative fuels
- Green completions
Chesapeake is piloting the use of internally coated pipe in areas with increased potential for corrosion. We’re evaluating whether operational and maintenance issues, such as scale build-up, are reduced when this internal coating is applied. We’re also studying whether this application results in better overall system performance, which leads to enhanced emissions reduction and lowers maintenance costs.
Monitoring and Maintenance
Regular site inspections are an important step to identify potential emissions events. Our field staff visit production sites routinely, conducting on-site monitoring for air emissions and logging data in Chesapeake’s proprietary WellTender mobile application. Key site sensor data is tracked through the app, and if a data input is outside normal operating and environmental parameters, the app alerts the lease operator.
In addition to monitoring, regular maintenance can reduce emissions. We initiate and manage maintenance activities through our Enterprise Asset Management software application. This program allows for the centralized management of equipment and asset data and offers a standardized work order system. Creating such consistency across our operating areas enables increased visibility and accountability for maintenance activities. It also provides data for trend analysis and preventive improvements to our sites.
Innovative Transportation Solutions
For safety and environmental purposes, we utilize pipelines for natural gas, oil and water transportation when possible. Across our operations, we’re building an extensive pipeline network to move freshwater and produced water. Aside from promoting water reuse, dedicated water pipelines reduce truck traffic and tailpipe emissions.
If pipelines are not available or feasible for economic or logistic reasons, we’ve developed other innovative solutions to limit trucking and reduce transportation emissions. In South Texas and Wyoming, Chesapeake designed and implemented central production facilities (CPFs) that use a pipeline-gathering system to bring the production of multiple pads into a single facility. Not only do CPFs reduce surface, wildlife and air impact through reduced equipment counts, they increase equipment reliability and product stream volumes, enabling additional natural gas to be captured and sold.
Eliminating routine flaring, the flaring of natural gas at the primary separator during normal operations, is a key step to achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2035. Chesapeake is committed to finding solutions for our associated gas and venting volumes through innovation, pilot projects and enhanced design and development of our equipment.
Flaring Reduction Practices
- Working with gas-gathering companies to minimize flaring due to operational upsets
- Capturing emissions through vapor recovery units that direct vapors into a natural gas sales line
- Designing facilities to reduce or eliminate flaring from tanks
- Using produced gas as on-site fuel and for artificial lift
- Securing natural gas sales infrastructure or evaluating mobile solutions to prevent emissions
- Setting sales equipment before a well is ready to produce to minimize or eliminate flaring during start-up
Through strategic planning, innovation and partnerships, we’ll eliminate routine flaring from wells completed in 2021 and across all operations by 2025.
2020 Routine Flaring Metrics
|Gross annual volume of flared gas (mcf)(1)||293,595||711,934|
|Flaring intensity – gross annual volume of flared gas (mcf) / gross annual production (mcf)||0.01%||0.05%|
|Flaring intensity – gross annual volume of flared gas (mcf) / gross annual production (boe)||0.0007||0.002|
In some circumstances, we may need to flare primary gas for safety reasons. These events are not included in our flaring elimination commitment because they’re considered non-routine according to the World Bank Group’s definition.
Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR)
Oil and natural gas equipment can develop leaks despite regular maintenance and the requirements imposed by state and federal regulations. These leaks can release methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere.
Chesapeake utilizes two primary methods — infrared cameras and regular on-site inspections — to identify leaks at our wellsites. Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras allow field technicians to visualize leaks that may not be detected by unaided senses, as well as help pinpoint the source of the leak to direct specific maintenance activities.
While many of our FLIR inspectors and staff are certified through the Infrared Training Center, a national organization with thermal imaging expertise, Chesapeake also developed an in-house certification program focused on oil and natural gas operations. Both trainings teach optimal inspection techniques and how to determine root causes of leaks and may include shadowing experienced FLIR inspectors.
Most of our FLIR inspectors have lease operator experience or other suitable training, giving them the knowledge and authority to repair certain leaks immediately.
FLIR Monitoring Program
- 14 certified inspectors
- 13 FLIR cameras
- 3,688 FLIR inspections
- More than 80% of leaks repaired within one day of detection
- Leaks are repaired before the regulatory deadline, 2.5 days on average
- Sites are re-inspected after repair
- Common leak causes: Loose valves or gaskets that no longer seal properly
- Leak trend analysis drives preventive maintenance and future inspections
- Companywide system schedules inspections and records details for each leak and repair
- Robust monitoring system allows for compliance assurance
Chesapeake complies with state and federal LDAR regulations, conducting leak detection surveys at the prescribed frequency. This commitment includes inspecting sites within 60 days of a new producing well.
As of Dec. 31, 2020
The importance of targeted leak detection has led Chesapeake to voluntarily survey a number of our sites, exceeding regulatory requirements. We utilize a risk-based approach to determine which sites should be voluntarily inspected. In addition to FLIR camera surveys, our field staff regularly conduct audio, visual and olfactory (AVO) inspections when visiting their well sites.
FLIR Inspection Schedule
Assigned FLIR Inspectors
Federal (semiannual) and state (quarterly)
Eagle Ford Shale
Federal (semiannual) and state (quarterly)
Federal (semiannual) and state (quarterly)
Powder River Basin
Federal (semiannual) and state (quarterly)
Of the sites we surveyed in 2020, more than 31% were inspected voluntarily.
Continuous Methane Emissions Technology
We continue to evaluate new technologies that could improve leak detection, including monitoring equipment currently in market development.
Through our RSG certification efforts, we’ve deployed continuous fixed methane monitors at more than 50% of our pad locations, representing more than 50% of the production in the Haynesville and Marcellus shales. In the Eagle Ford, Chesapeake is piloting a portable methane monitor capable of identifying and quantifying released volumes in real time.
In our Haynesville operating area, we utilize Scientific Aviation’s SOOFIE continuous methane monitoring technology to detect emissions at our production sites.
Operating on diesel-alternative fuels reduces both emissions and waste and provides cost savings for the company. Across Chesapeake-operated areas, we have a number of alternative fuel source capabilities.
In 2020, we powered approximately 25% of Chesapeake-operated rigs with diesel-alternative fuels. As a result, we reduced our use of diesel fuel for drilling by more than 400,000 gallons.
Electric Frac Fleet
In 2021, we completed our first Marcellus Shale well using an all-electric fracturing spread. Leveraging Chesapeake’s local field gas network for 25 megawatts of lower carbon power generation, we reduced on-site emissions by 32%.
Because of this successful deployment, Chesapeake will continue to implement electric fracturing across the Marcellus with potential expansion to the Haynesville Shale by year-end 2022. Electric fleets will displace 100% of Chesapeake’s associated diesel consumption during the stimulation operation, resulting in lower GHG emissions and reduced noise.
The use of an electric fleet in our Marcellus operating area alone could displace up to 4.4 million gallons of diesel per year.
The Environmental Partnership
In 2017, Chesapeake joined The Environmental Partnership, a coalition of nearly 90 U.S. oil and natural gas companies working together to improve the industry’s environmental performance through collaboration and knowledge sharing.
The partnership has focused on reducing emissions as a primary industry goal and established six separate Environmental Performance Programs for participating companies to phase into their operations. We support these programs and their goal of reducing emissions through the adoption of cost-effective technologies.
The Environmental Partnership Emissions Reduction Programs
Pneumatic Controller Program
Replace, remove or retrofit high-bleed pneumatic controllers
Manual Liquids Unloading Program
Minimize emissions during removal of liquids
Leak Detection/Repair Program
Timely repair of leaking equipment
Implement various compressor emission reduction practices
Pipeline Blowdown Program
Reduce emissions during pipeline blowdowns
Flare Management Program
Reduce domestic high pressure flaring of associated gas