A new report shows the U.S. methane mitigation industry has undergone massive growth as state and federal policy makers have acted to reduce methane pollution and waste through new regulatory requirements. Since 2017, the methane mitigation industry’s service sector has nearly doubled in size, while the number of manufacturing firms has grown by one third since 2014.
The report, Find, Measure, Fix: Jobs in the U.S. Methane Mitigation Industry, was authored by Datu Research and offers a comprehensive assessment of this growing business sector and the jobs it creates. The report identified more than 200 companies with over 750 locations across the country that provide products and services to help the oil and gas industry reduce emissions.
“In recent years we’ve seen a range of operators – from small independent producers to multi-national companies – embrace methane reductions as a critical part of doing business,” said Andrew Baxter, Director of Energy Strategy for Environmental Defense Fund. “Sensible methane standards that apply nationwide will even the playing field among operators and yield significant benefits to the economy and the environment.”
Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas responsible for 25% of today’s global warming. It is also the main component of natural gas and represents wasted product when released into the atmosphere. EDF estimates U.S. oil and gas companies emit upwards of 16 million metric tons of methane annually, representing $3 billion worth of wasted gas.
“People think you have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment but the fact of the matter is we have 25 years of proof that reducing methane saves money, creates jobs and protects our climate,” said Audrey Mascarenhas, President and CEO of Questor, one of the companies profiled in the report. “It’s a win-win-win that can be achieved very cost-effectively and can be done right now to have a great impact on quality of life for all.”
As the Environmental Protection Agency and several states advance rules to limit methane pollution from oil and gas operations, the demand for services and products from this sector is expected to grow. According to the report survey, 75% of manufacturing firms and 88% of service firms anticipate hiring more employees if future state or federal methane emission policies were implemented, as is expected.
This week, EPA is preparing to gather public input as it moves forward to reduce methane pollution from new and existing oil and gas sources. Additionally, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration plans to develop new standards requiring the use of commercially available advanced leak detection technologies to control methane emissions from the nation’s gas pipelines. The agency also recently announced that pipeline operators must, before the end of this year, detail how they plan to minimize methane releases. Meanwhile, other jurisdictions including the states of New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Colorado and the Navajo Nation are also in the process of finalizing new requirements to reduce pollution and waste from the oil and gas industry.
“We have seen the methane mitigation industry grow for more than 15 years,” said Craig O’Neill, Director of Business Development for Teledyne FLIR, a company that provides optical gas imaging equipment services to the oil and gas industry. “During this time, we are proud to have provided the key imaging technology that has helped create jobs by empowering operators to reduce emissions all the while increasing efficiency in production.”
Recognizing the value in reducing this waste and associated pollution, many oil and gas companies, trade associations and investors representing over $5.3 trillion in assets support robust federal methane rules. This report underscores that smart methane policies drive job creation and grow local economies, all while curbing pollution and protecting air quality.
The report demonstrates that sensible policies from governments and companies to reduce methane waste and pollution can stimulate job growth in a field that offers good, high-paying jobs that can’t be offshored. According to the report, the starting salary for methane mitigation jobs is nearly 10% higher than the national average, while employees can earn upwards of $140,000. Additionally, most of the firms in this sector (70%) are small businesses, which are known engines of economic growth.
“Jobs in the methane reduction industry have been growing rapidly and will continue to do so as more and more companies, their investors, and the general public demand cleaner energy production,” said Isaac Brown, Executive Director of the Center for Methane Emissions Solutions. “Reinstating and expanding methane limits for the oil and gas industry will undoubtedly help grow good-paying jobs across the country in this innovative sector.”
# # #One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 2.5 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund