Calgary’s Encana is one of the two most secretive natural gas producers in North America in what it reveals about its management of methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide over this century, a new study finds.
Three corporate social responsibility non-profits, You Sow, Boston Common Asset Management, LLC, and the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN), reached that conclusion in a Disclosing the Facts scorecard that ranked companies’ transparency on their methane releases and control effort on a 13-point scale.
“At the top of the list, with 12 of a possible 13 points, were Apache Corporation, BHP Billiton, and Southwestern Energy,” JWN Energy reports.
Encana—a corporate descendant of the storied Canadian Pacific Railway that now produces natural gas and oil—got zero points. None. The only other company with that distinction was Houston-based Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation. [The score table published by JWN Energy errs in showing that the other last-place company was Whiting. The correct table is on the Disclosing the Facts site here. – Ed.]
“This year’s [Disclosing the Facts] report reflects rising investor concern that excessive methane emissions from oil and gas operations will undercut the potential net climate benefit of substituting natural gas for coal, especially in decarbonizing energy markets,” said Steven Heim, managing director at Boston Common Asset Management.
Eight of the world’s biggest fossil producers, including BP, Statoil, Shell, and ExxonMobil, committed last month to step up measures to reduce methane losses from their operations.
Earlier this year, Canada’s government bowed to pressure from gas producers to delay by three years a regulation to limit methane emissions in this country, despite evidence that implementing better control of the potent and dangerous gas would create hundreds of jobs in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
“As our scorecard demonstrates, there are sharp differences among companies in how well they disclose their actions to reduce methane emissions,” noted Richard Liroff, executive director of the Investor Environmental Health Network. “Those companies taking effective action will reduce their carbon risk, a key consideration for investors.”
Encana appears to be making the opposite bet: that it can brush the subject of methane aside without facing a penalty from its shareholders.