WPX Energy GHG Goals 2014
|Company||WPX Energy, Inc.|
|Filer||Mercy Investment Services, Inc.|
|Sector||Oil and Gas|
|Subject(s)||Energy Efficiency (industrial); Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Methane Emissions|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Quantitative goals for reducing GHG emissions|
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that the Board of Directors adopt quantitative goals, based on current technologies, for reducing total greenhouse gas (GHG) including methane emissions and flaring resulting from all operations and that the Company report to shareholders by fall 2014 on its plans (omitting proprietary information and prepared at reasonable cost) to achieve these goals.
WHEREAS: The economic, business and societal impacts of climate change are of paramount importance to investors. Investors with $87 trillion in assets have supported CDP’s request to over 6,000 companies for disclosure of carbon emissions, reduction goals, and climate change strategies to address these risks. WPX Energy (the Company) has not responded to CDP’s survey request.
Methane represents over 25% of 20-year CO2 equivalent emissions in the EPA Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Methane’s impact on global temperature is 86x that of CO2 over a 20-year period, emissions contribute significantly to climate change.
Further, domestic flaring has propelled the U.S. into the top 10 gas flaring countries globally. Approximately 29% of gas produced in the Bakken is flared; gas flared in North Dakota more than doubled between May 2011 and May 2013, with $1 billion worth of gas lost in 2012.
Studies from Cornell, the University of Colorado and the University of Texas estimate highly varied methane leakage rates as a percentage of production, creating uncertainty and garnering attention from Forbes and The New York Times, where methane leakage was referred to as “the Achilles’ heel of hydraulic fracturing.”
The International Energy Agency (IEA) highlights the risk of failing to implement best practice methane management in “Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas,” recommending actions “necessary to realise the economic and energy security benefits [of gas development] while meeting public concerns.” Recommended actions are to “eliminate venting, minimise flaring,” and “consider setting targets on emissions as part of their overall strategic policies to win public confidence.”
Reducing methane emissions in upstream oil and gas production is one of four policies proposed by the IEA that “could stop the growth in global energy-related emissions by the end of this decade at no net economic cost.” The policies “rely only on existing technologies” and “would not harm economic growth.”
Methane leakage and flaring has a direct economic impact on the Company as lost and flared gas is not available for sale. We recognize some operations may incorporate best practice management; however, leakage risks at high growth or select geographies can negate best practices elsewhere. A disciplined business strategy with clear cut targets and goals to cut GHG emissions from operations and products would help the Company stay ahead of regulatory and legal risks.
We believe a report adequate for investors to assess the Company’s strategy would include a description of how the Company is measuring and mitigating emissions including methane leakage rate as a percentage of production, flaring reduction, best practices, worst performing assets, risk mitigation measures, and environmental impacts.