Skip to main content

Benchmarking Methane and other GHG Emissions of Oil and Natural Gas Production in the United States

May 23, 2023 Category: Industry Work Area: Methane
benchmarking report

Updated analysis from Ceres and Clean Air Task Force benchmarks the relative emissions intensity and total reported methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide emissions of more than 300 U.S. oil and gas producers and finds dramatic variations between companies and basins. This third annual report analyzes the production-based emissions of the largest oil and gas producers in the United States and highlights dramatic variation among producers and basins.   

The report provides clear, consistent information that investors, operators, natural gas purchasers, policymakers and regulators can use to compare producers’ performance in an industry where voluntarily reported emissions metrics have historically been inconsistent and non-comparable. 

This year’s analysis found that reported methane and greenhouse gas intensity in the oil and gas sector have declined 28% and 30%, respectively, between 2019 and 2021, despite an increase in natural gas and total hydrocarbon production. However, these trends are not consistent across basins or individual companies and can fluctuate year to year.  

While overall emissions trended down in this year’s report, the gap between leaders and laggards continues to grow. The report found that natural gas producers in the highest quartile of methane emissions intensity have an average emissions intensity that is nearly 26 times higher than natural gas producers in the lowest quartile of methane emissions intensity. 

The findings can help shareholders differentiate between potential investments, and inform regulators, lawmakers and company executives about the main causes of reported methane emissions, as well as which companies are disproportionately responsible for them.  

The report is a collaborative effort between Ceres and the Clean Air Task Force, with support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. The full interactive datasets are available at ERM, which provides strategic consulting services to support the transition to a net-zero emissions economy — performed the analysis using data from EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.