In support of our GHG emissions and flaring intensity reduction targets, we track and monitor air emissions at each of our assets and undertake a variety of emissions reduction initiatives. Our efforts focus on our largest emitting facilities, on opportunities that are technically and economically feasible, and where we are able to achieve stakeholder approval.
Efforts supporting reduced flaring – including the more than $3.4 billion that has been spent on midstream infrastructure in North Dakota over the past nine years – and methane emissions are discussed in detail on pages 49–52 of our 2020 Sustainability Report . The following case studies are additional examples of emissions reduction initiatives at Hess.
Natural Gas Capture
We have continued to use technology developed through our partnership with GTUIT – a designer, manufacturer and operator of wellsite natural gas capture and natural gas liquid (NGL) extraction equipment – to recover high British thermal unit (BTU) gas from locations in North Dakota that were previously flaring this raw, wet natural gas. The GTUIT equipment successfully addresses some of the technical challenges associated with capturing NGLs from the Bakken gas. The units are modular and mobile, they can operate reliably unmanned, and they can adapt to the changing flow conditions at the well level.
In 2020, we operated four GTUIT mobile units and two ColdStream energy recovery units (14 MMSCFD of capacity in total), allowing us to capture 2.2 million gallons of NGLs. As a result of this NGL capture, about 120 MMSCFD of gas flaring was avoided, and CO2e emissions were reduced by an estimated 13,705 tonnes. This project provides dual economic and environmental benefits because it converts gas into marketable products, as well as reduces the amount of gas flared and the associated air emissions. Utilization of the units was scaled back in 2020 due to the pandemic amid record low commodity prices.
Flexible Hose for Freshwater Transport
In North Dakota, we continue to utilize flexible hose to transport fresh water directly from the water sources to our wells, instead of using truck transport. In 2020, 100% of the water we used for hydraulic fracturing in North Dakota (approximately 20 million barrels) was transported using flexible hoses, eliminating 178,042 truck deliveries and 8.9 million truck miles driven and reducing about 19,392 tonnes of transportation related GHG emissions.
Utilizing Wellsite Natural Gas for Electricity
In 2020, we initiated a pilot project through a company called Digital Stream Energy to take natural gas from a wellsite that would otherwise be flared to generate electricity. The electricity generated then powers computer servers. The natural gas consumed by this pilot project was 250,000 SCFD, which equated to around 1,300 tonnes of CO2e emissions in 2020. We will continue to monitor this pilot and will evaluate expansion options at additional wellsites.
Replacement of Diesel with Natural Gas
Hess Midstream LP’s compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel facility near the Tioga Gas Plant in North Dakota has been in operation since 2016. The CNG is partially displacing diesel in high horsepower engines for drilling and in water heaters for well completion operations in the region and is capable of fueling CNG/gasoline bifuel light duty trucks. In 2020, the operation of this facility helped to displace 1,230,000 gallons of diesel fuel, resulting in a reduction of 3,561 tonnes of CO2e.
Initiatives to Reduce Flaring in Midstream Operations
In 2020, several initiatives were pursued to reduce flaring at individual compressor stations and the Tioga Gas Plant in North Dakota. One such effort, for which we collaborated with Kinder Morgan, is detailed in the Social Responsibility section of our 2020 Sustainability Report . As a result of these efforts, in total, our Bakken flaring volume was reduced by 1 billion cubic feet in 2020, which is equivalent to a reduction of 81,238 tonnes of CO2e.