Sustainability goes beyond statistics and data; it is the product of our employees working together to implement innovative technologies and solutions across our operations. The collaboration amongst departments to work together to enhance industry best practices remains key to our success.
This concept of taking bold ideas and executing on them together is not new to Range; it has been part of our philosophy for years. Our employees are passionate about their jobs and dedicated to environmental responsibility, a combination that has been successful.
This collaboration is evident within our emissions reductions efforts and the data speaks for itself. According to Rystad Energy’s third-party research, Range has the second lowest CO2 emissions intensity amongst global natural gas and oil producers. Pairing data like this with our team’s vision gave us confidence to set ambitious short-term and long-term emission reduction goals. These goals include a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2025, as compared to 2019 GHG emissions intensity levels and achieving net zero GHG direct emissions by 2025.
One of Range’s key environmental programs, Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR), has been a proactive contributor for our emission reduction goals. With efforts spanning from Environmental Compliance to Field Operations to Facilities Engineering, this team effort has increased Range’s efficiency and more importantly decreased emissions.
Every bolt, fitting, well head, and connection found on equipment receives a comprehensive inspection each quarter. While regulations only require Range to inspect a small amount of wells each quarter and others twice a year, Range has chosen to voluntarily inspect all unconventional wells quarterly.
“We should all be proud of these commitments and achievements, none of which would be possible without our smart, dedicated employees.” Said Jeff Ventura, CEO. “We will continue to hold ourselves accountable to heightened sustainability-related goals we set for ourselves and the industry and look forward to building on this progress in the coming years.”
Identification and Solutions
The woman behind the inspections, Field Environmental Compliance Specialist Erica Taylor, examines roughly 700,000 connections each quarter and nearly 3 million connections a year.
“The decision to increase inspections was an easy one, it’s the right thing to do,” Taylor said. “This allows us to catch the rare leak much faster and drastically reduce our emissions.”
This effort has paid off in the form of a drastic reduction in Range’s leak ratio. In 2015, Range identified 2,645 leaks across our well sites. Fast forward to 2020, we detected only 923 total leaks despite an increase in wells and inspections.
Range’s Production team works closely with Erica Taylor to ensure any leaks found are addressed immediately.
Regulations require that leaks on LDAR sites be corrected and eliminated within 15 days. In keeping with the strict deadlines, Range has applied this rule to all its sites, regardless of deadline requirements or not.
“Going from twice a year to quarterly has lowered our leak rate tremendously,” Jordan Hribal, Production Supervisor said. “We are finding leaks sooner and making less costly repairs from a financial standpoint.”
For example, some of the gaskets can be cleaned and reused rather than replaced, which prevents the need from ordering new materials. “Our Lease Operators check the sites personally every single day,” he said, “if we detect something with our eyes, we do our best to fix it right then on the site.”
The next step was to implement Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software to better optimize this process. Range’s internal team was able to develop an LDAR system that was user-friendly on a portable tablet, which allowed the inspections and data to go digital.
Another major improvement has been the use of a FLIR (Forward-Looking Infrared) camera, a device that detects leaks through infrared technology. The FLIR camera can visualize leaks undetectable to humans by sight, smell, or sound.
“The number of leaks that I find is minimal compared to what it used to be. It was unheard of in the past to go on location and not find at least a few leaks,” Taylor said. “Now, I can go entire days without finding any just because of the frequency of the inspections paired with the technology we use.”
With the development of the LDAR program and leak data, the Environmental Compliance department joined with Facilities Engineering to address areas of improvement regarding equipment design. Facilities Engineering has worked with our Environmental Compliance department on addressing equipment shortfalls where leaks are most frequently detected, which has driven the change in the production facility designs to find more efficient ways to manage hydrocarbons.
The collective effort of several departments makes it possible to reduce leaks on existing sites while preventing leaks on new sites. With frequent inspections that go above industry standards, operators can detect and repair leaks on site sooner, often without requiring expensive parts. Implementing newer designs that ease the repair process helps to save additional funds by reducing emissions and costly repairs.
These efforts combined with the dual-fuel drilling rig, electric frac fleet, zero emissions flowback turn-on procedure and other practices have given us the confidence in achieving our net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) direct emissions by 2025 goal.
For more information visit our Corporate Sustainability Report website.