Carbon Intensity Measures for Oil and Gas Industry

Flare gas recovery system

The worldwide effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has resulted in carbon intensity metrics that can compare the relative amount of GHGs between companies and facilities. GHG emissions are expected from all oil and gas operations and total mass emissions of GHG is not a good measure of how efficient an operation is in reducing GHG emissions. Carbon intensity metrics normalize total mass GHG emissions to the amount of production (e.g., crude oil, condensate, natural gas). Two widely used GHG intensity metrics that compare oil and gas operations based on their production and greenhouse gas emissions include:

  • Carbon intensity: kg CO2e per BOE
  • Methane intensity: metric tons of CH4 emissions per metric tons of CH4 produced or throughput


Carbon Intensity

The carbon intensity is a metric used to compare GHG emissions for companies and operations in different geographic locations (e.g., onshore production, offshore production). Typically, the carbon intensity is based on Scope 1 GHG emissions only. Scope 1 emissions includes direct emission from a company’s operations. Methods to determine Scope 1 emissions are well defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Petroleum Institute (API).

The equation used to calculate is:

Carbon Intensity = (kg CO2e for operations for time period)/(BOE for operations for time period)

BOE calculation

A barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) is used to approximate the energy released by burning one barrel (42 gallons) of crude oil. BOE is used by oil and gas companies to combine oil and natural gas reserves and production into a single measure based on energy content.

The API Compendium of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Methodologies for the Natural Gas and Oil Industry (November 2021) BOE conversion factor is based on 5.8E+6 BTU/BOE and the BTU per standard cubic feet (BTU/SCF) of gas produced.

Equation for BOE

BOE = (bbls oil) + [(Gas Prod, SCF)(1 BOE/5.8E+6 BTU)(BTU/SCF)]

Example calculation:

  • Oil production = 10,000 BOPD
  • Gas production = 5,000,000 SCFD
  • Gas heat vale = 1026 BTU/SCF


  • BOE/day = (10,000 bbls/day) + [(5,000,000 scf/day)(1 BOE/5.8e+6 BTU)(1026 BTU/SCF)]
  • BOE/day = 10,000 + 884.48 = 10,884.48
  • BOE/year = (10,884.48/day)(365 days/year) = 3,972,835 


Methane Intensity

OneFuture is a leading organization setting goals for the oil and gas industry to reduce methane emissions in the United States. OneFuture has a goal of reducing the loss of methane to less than one percent (1%) of the amount of methane produced or throughput over the entire value chain. Each production segment is allocated a portion (Segment Intensity Targets) of the 1% goal. The value chain includes the following sectors and methane intensity goals as shown the following table from OneFuture’s Methane Emissions Estimation Protocol, December 2021.

The Methane Intensity is calculated by the equation:

Methane intensity % = (metric tons CH4)/(metric tons of CH4 throughput or production)(100)

Summary and Conclusions

Carbon intensity and methane intensity metrics are ways to compare operations and companies regarding their efficiency in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. The total mass GHG emissions will vary based on new wells drilled, well abandonment and acquisition of oil and gas properties. Using intensity factors such as kg CO2e per BOE and metric tons of CH4 emissions per metric tons of CH4 produced normalize GHG emissions to production of oil and/or natural gas.

Cimarron – Who We Are

Cimarron’s overall goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for all industries as we work with our clients to create a cleaner environment.

The company engineers and manufactures environmental, production and process equipment for the upstream, midstream and downstream energy industries, as well as environmental control solutions for biogas at wastewater facilities, digester tanks and landfills.

Cimarron offers our customers the know-how and environmental expertise to meet the environmental standards of today and tomorrow. Cimarron is committed to bring value to the Energy industry and their shareholders based on our financial strength, experienced personnel, and engineering capabilities.

As a company, we thrive every day to make a difference through innovation (e.g. ESG), customer focus, and operational efficiency. In addition to being present in all major regions in the US, Cimarron serves more than 45 countries around the world, ranging from offshore to desert. From key operational centers in the United States, Italy and the United Arab Emirates, Cimarron offers ongoing service and support through its own field service personnel and strategic third-party partners, creating a cleaner environment for our customers and their shareholders.

Since its founding in the mid-1970’s in Oklahoma, the company’s product offering has expanded from production equipment to include the largest line of environmental solutions that capture or incinerate fugitive vapors. With the acquisitions of HY-BON/EDI in 2019 and AEREON (including Jordan Technologies) in 2020, Cimarron has added strong brands, products, and services to its portfolio.

Please contact us to learn more about our products and services and about all our ESG solutions at or visit our website

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