As a result of the company’s Climate Change Action Plan, in 2012, ConocoPhillips businesses worldwide completed numerous projects to improve energy efficiency, recover product, and reduce GHG emissions . Examples include:
- Use of closed loop gas handling systems for well completion and service
- Plunger lift optimization and controller upgrades
- Compressor and gas plant optimization
- Pneumatic controller replacement
- Small-scale solar for remote power, and
- Flare reductions
These projects are estimated to have reduced or avoided 1 million tonnes of CO2e emissions from ConocoPhillips-operated assets. This is equivalent to 4% fewer emissions from the post-split scope of the company’s operations. (Former downstream operations that were spun off in 2012 are excluded from both 2011 and 2012.)
It is important to note that emission reductions resulting from some projects, for example reduced methane venting during well completions, occur only at the time that the activity takes place, while others will continue to deliver energy efficiency and GHG reduction benefits for a number of years into the future.
The list above does not represent a complete inventory of ConocoPhillips GHG reduction activities and the resulting emission reductions have not all been third-party verified.
ConocoPhillips recognizes that there are questions about GHG emissions from oil sands production.
Industry has successfully reduced the GHG intensity per barrel of oil sands crude produced by 39 percent since 1990. To capture both economic and environmental benefits, the Company continues to work to reduce per-barrel GHG intensity. We are investigating technologies focused on running our facilities more efficiently, using less energy, and reducing greenhouse gas and other air emissions. We are also designing plans for improved heat integration and testing an enhanced oil production technology, both aimed at maximizing fuel efficiency while reducing air emissions associated with steam generation.
The research and development groups at our global and Canadian Headquarters spent over $41 million on oil sands technology development in 2010. We increased this funding to $70 million in 2011. For the 2009 – 2013 commitment period we are on track to spend $300 million.
We are evaluating technologies that address environmental performance including:
Flow distribution control – using less steam to extract bitumen, this technology can reduce our operations’ greenhouse gas emissions, NOx emissions and water use by up to 10 percent. It can also potentially reduce the overall land footprint of our well pads by one third.
Gas turbine once-through steam turbine generator – switching from coal-fired electricity generation to natural gas could reduce our NOx emissions by up to 25% and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15%. It can also reduce many of the land disturbances associated with power corridors and local substations.
Enhance steam-assisted gravity drainage can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption by up to one third.