The Business of Clean Air

At Noble Energy, our commitment to continuously improve environmental performance is a fundamental element of our business strategy and approach to risk management.  It is also the right thing to do. 

Sky-high Goals to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

Since 2010, we have lowered our greenhouse gas emissions intensity in Colorado by nearly 70 percent compared to average emissions across company operations. More importantly, we are using new technology to systematically reduce or eliminate the principal remaining sources of greenhouse gas emissions – both CO2 and methane – from our operations in Colorado.

And we are on track to help Colorado meet its new statutory greenhouse gas reduction targets.


How We Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Electrification

Historically, combustion engines used for compression have been the largest source of carbon emissions for Noble Energy in Colorado. We are ushering in a new era of technology and innovation at our  Mustang Comprehensive Drilling Plan (CDP), where we are working with Xcel Energy to electrify new compressor engines across nearly 100 square miles of operations.  This will dramatically reduce a large source of greenhouse gas emissions in this part of our operating area.  

Pneumatic Valve System

Natural Gas Pneumatic Devices are valves that use natural gas pressure to open and close. They have been our second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado. Now we use compressed air instead of natural gas to actuate these valves. And in our Mustang CDP, we are going a step further by electrifying the air compression instead of using combustion engines. The result is a pneumatic valve system that does not emit greenhouse gas. Continued conversion of our production systems to air-actuated valves in Colorado will further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our Colorado operations.

Tankless Production

Storage tanks have been our third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. We are systematically removing these tanks as we replace older vertical wells with state-of-the-art horizontal wells and production facilities where everything moves by pipeline. In our Mustang CDP for example, we will remove nearly 500 old storage tanks and 1,500 vertical wells from the landscape – eliminating another large source of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Reduced Truck Traffic

Our commitment to develop tankless facilities is reducing the need for truck loading of oil and water. Transporting these products via pipeline will have significant air quality and road safety benefits as we remove millions of miles of truck traffic from county roads. In our Mustang CDP, we estimate conversion to the use of pipelines and centralized facilities will reduce truck traffic by nearly 6.9 million truck trips on county roads. That equates to a reduction of almost 770,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

Eliminating VOC Incinerators

Burners that incinerate Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) vapors that come off storage tanks have been our fourth largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. The burning prevents VOCs from being released to the environment but burning these hydrocarbon gases emits a much smaller amount of CO2. Taking it a step further, removing storage tanks from the landscape will largely eliminate the need for VOC incinerators on production facilities. 

Leak Detection and Repair

Fugitive emissions come from leaks in the system. Noble Energy worked with Colorado regulators in 2014 to create a regulatory program to use infrared cameras or similar technology to detect methane leaks in oil and natural gas production equipment. Today, our Leak Detection and Repair team (LDAR) finds and fixes the majority of leaks detected within 72 hours, and we are engineering leaking components out of the system.

Learn more about our management of climate-related risks and opportunities in our 2019 Climate Resilience Report.