The challenge of balancing energy supplies to meet growing global demands, while concurrently considering associated environmental impacts, is leading to an increased focus on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and their potential mitigations. Over the past five years, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association (IPIECA) have collaborated on a series of guidelines to promote the credible, consistent, and transparent quantification of GHG emission reductions from projects of interest to the oil and natural gas industry.

The Petroleum Industry Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Projects (referred to as the Project Guidelines) consists of a series of documents developed to provide oil and natural gas companies with a framework for evaluating, quantifying, documenting, and reporting GHG emission reductions achieved through discreet projects. The Project Guidelines address the selection of appropriate baseline candidates and boundaries for scenario assessment. The documents also address potential emission sources to be incorporated for the selected scenarios, along with compatible monitoring considerations. The guidelines focus on technical considerations and provide flexibility to adapt the approach in accordance with applicable public policy mandates.

This paper highlights a recent addition to the series - the Flare Reduction Guidance Document - that addresses GHG emission reductions associated with reduced flaring activities from oil and natural gas operations. Although flaring occurs along the oil and natural gas value chain, the document focuses on exploration and production operations, where the best opportunities for flare reductions reside. Case studies are used to demonstrate the application of the emission reduction principles for two categories of GHG emission reduction projects: (1) recovery of associated gas for processing and sale, and (2) utilizing a small flared gas stream for on-site power generation. Although the concepts for quantifying GHG emission reductions are illustrated through project examples relevant to the oil and natural gas industry, the information is applicable to a variety of project types and establishes the foundation for assessing GHG emission reductions from a myriad of project activities.

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