Reducing greenhouse gas emissions of engines in the oil and gas sector for improved sustainability


The oil and gas sector’s environmental footprint differs between its upstream, midstream and downstream activities. For midstream, refineries collectively represent the majority of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted in this stage of the processing. On the other hand, many different activities contribute to the sector’s GHG emissions produced during upstream processing. These activities range from onshore production and gathering, to natural gas processing. In fact, a collection of these upstream activities makes up over 10% of GHG emissions of the industrial sector in the U.S.1

Oil & gas sector's emission of greenhouse gases spread across several activities

For the rest of this article, we will focus on upstream oil and gas activities, ways to reduce greenhouse gases emitted from engines, and power systems used across upstream activities. From drilling contractors to oilfield services companies, GHG reduction is getting more traction, driven by a combination of regulatory and societal factors. 

A good starting point in reducing emission contaminants within upstream oil and gas activities is diesel engines. There are many emission regulations focused on reducing diesel engines’ environmental footprint; you can read more about these regulations in our previous article. Let’s start with diesel engines and reducing emissions.

Diesel engines’ emissions are significantly reduced with Tier 4, and equivalent emission regulations

In recent decades, the diesel engines’ emission  contaminants have been significantly reduced through various regulations. For instance, Tier 4 high-horsepower diesel engines used within oil and gas applications emit 80% less particulate matter, and 45% less NOx compared to their Tier 2 counterparts. These reductions also translate into financial gains; check how operators saved over $30 million in fuel, and avoided enough pollutants to fill a 15-mile long train through these Tier 4 solutions.

Most recently, two technologies have been adopted by the industry to achieve these ultra-low emissions with diesel engines: selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR). While there are many technical differences between the two technologies, there is one key distinction between them: SCR is considered a post-combustion solution, while EGR is considered an in-cylinder solution to reduce the amount of contaminants released into the atmosphere. 

Engines with SCR technology often consume less fuel than engines with EGR technology, delivering fuel savings for their owners

Engine manufacturers could reduce combustion temperature to lower the emission of certain contaminants, but reduction of engine temperature often increases fuel consumption. SCR technology reduces NOx emissions external to the engine, without the need for reducing combustion temperature. With the higher combustion temperature allowed by SCR technology comes lower fuel consumption for operators. 

Implementation of SCR technology introduced minimal changes in engine design, helping you leverage the proven technologies you already rely on

Engineers had to introduce minimal architectural changes in existing engines to accommodate the SCR technology, since it is external to the engine. This means the reliability of existing engines proven through millions of hours of operation remain available to you. Plus, since this is a technology external to the combustion chamber, you can upgrade your older engines to meet the newer emission standards often required by exploration and oilfield service companies to contract on different sites.

Newer engines with SCR technology and their older versions have many common parts, making it more efficient and cost effective to maintain

Limited architectural changes from previous engines to the most recent engine platforms mean a higher degree of commonality when it comes to parts. Moreover, technicians who work with these ultra-low emission engines in oil fields can carry forward their familiarization with previous generations of engines.

Beyond diesel, emission reduction is also achieved through gaseous and renewable fuels 

Emission regulations and associated technologies covered above have greatly reduced the emission of contaminants from diesel engines. Meanwhile, there is another path ahead in reducing emissions in a drilling or well site: use of fuels beyond diesel. 

Natural gas offers lower CO2 emissions per unit of energy output among fossil fuels

Gaseous fuels, including natural gas, often reduce the emission of GHGs compared to diesel. For example, natural gas has one of the lowest CO2-to-energy content across all fossil fuels2. Moreover, natural gas engines often have much less Sulfur and NOx emissions than comparable diesel engines. On sites where there is an unlimited supply of natural gas, this also could translate into financial savings in the form of operational expenses (OPEX). 

Renewable fuels, including solar and wind, are the final destination and getting increasing attention within the oil and gas sector. For instance, ExxonMobil and Ørsted have entered into an agreement in 2018 for Exxon to source over 300MW of renewable power from over 100 wind turbines for its operations within the Permian Basin3. These renewable fuels offer carbon zero power for drilling and well sites.

Diversification will be the key word in the next couple of decades when it comes to energy and power solutions within upstream oil and gas operations. It is forecasted that a diverse set of fuels and technologies ranging from diesel and hydrogen, to renewables will co-exist to deliver the reduced environmental footprint in a manner that is financially manageable by oil and gas sector players. 

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1 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (n.d.). GHGRP Petroleum and Natural Gas Systems Sector Industrial Profile [PDF file]. Retrieved from
2 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (n.d.). How much carbon dioxide is produced when different fuels are burned? [Web page]. Retrieved from
3 Orsted (n.d.). Our onshore wind farms in the U.S. [Web page]. Retrieved from

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Aytek Yuksel - Cummins Inc

Aytek Yuksel

Aytek Yuksel is the Content Marketing Leader for Cummins Inc., with a focus on Power Systems markets. Aytek joined the Company in 2008. Since then, he has worked in several marketing roles and now brings you the learnings from our key markets ranging from industrial to residential markets. Aytek lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two kids.

Employee projects highlight World Water Day at Cummins

Students learning about Cummins

Cummins Inc. employees will conduct more 20 projects tied to World Water Day 2023 as the company celebrates the event highlighting the importance of fresh water and the critical issues facing the natural resource.

The activities range from a river cleanup in South Africa and a community engagement event at a dam along a river in India, to an oil recycling project in Turkey and an education program reaching students in Brazil.

“Our company and employees work diligently to be better stewards of this increasingly important world issue,” said Scott Saum, Program Manager for Cummins Water Works, the company effort to address the global water crisis. “We have been very successful in implementing creative solutions to reduce water consumption in Cummins’ facilities and operations around the world. And I’m proud to know we are creating positive change in local communities with our many employee involvement activities.”

The alarming reality is water scarcity is growing exponentially. There are currently an estimated 785 million people around the world lacking access to safe water. About 1.7 billion – 1 in 4 – lack access to a toilet. At current consumption rates, it’s estimated by 2050 around two-thirds of the world’s population will be facing water shortages.

Those sobering statistics led Cummins to create Cummins Water Works.  Launched in 2021, Cummins Water Works partners with leading water experts to invest and engage in sustainable, large-scale, high-impact water initiatives around the world. By 2030, the program’s goal is to become net water positive by creating community water benefits that exceed the company’s water usage in all regions where Cummins has a presence.

The multi-million-dollar program has projects underway in Brazil, Canada, China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa and the United States. The employee projects connected to World Water Day are spread across the entire month of March.

One of the larger efforts is taking place in Guarulhos, Brazil near São Paulo, the most populous city in the country. Cummins Brazil, working with Trata Brasil, a public interest organization dedicated to improving sanitation, and, are holding 18 sessions this week in three public schools to reach 1,200 students, 7- to 13-years old, on the importance of sanitation and clean water (see photo above).

“The objective of this action is to promote environmental education through playful actions focusing on water supply and sanitary sewage, impacting not only students, but also school professionals, the school community, and the students' parents,” said Soraia Senhorini Franco, Regional Corporate Responsibility Manager for Cummins in Brazil.

All of the employee initiatives around the world have the same bottom-line goal as Cummins Water Works: strengthening communities by helping them address the global water crisis.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Cummins works to be good stewards of world water supply

Water reuse project at Cummins' Rocky Mount Engine Plant

Cummins Inc. has been working to be good water stewards both in the company’s plants and operations, and in the communities where the global power technology leader has a presence around the world.

As the world celebrates World Water Day today (March 22), the company has established 2030 goals in both areas that are part of Cummins’ PLANET 2050 environmental sustainability strategy.

In the company’s plants and operations, PLANET 2050 includes the 2030 goal of reducing absolute water consumption by 30%. The strategy also establishes the 2030 goal of producing net water benefits that exceed the company’s annual water use in all Cummins regions around the world.

“We can’t have a prosperous world without clean air, water and land, and every employee has a role to play,” said Brian Mormino, the company’s Executive Director of Technical & Environmental Systems, speaking during Cummins’ most recent June Environmental Month.


Cummins implemented a water strategy in 2014 for its plants and facilities and has been improving its stewardship ever since, achieving a 53% reduction in direct water use, adjusted by hours worked, in 2020 compared to a 2010 baseline. That reduction surpassed the company’s 2020 goal of a 50% reduction compared to 2010, again adjusted by hours worked.

Much of Cummins’ water efficiency improvements then were achieved through low- and no-cost efforts, such as fixing leaks and optimizing processes. Efforts also involved capital projects, primarily equipment efficiency upgrades and other high-impact projects such as single-pass cooling elimination, additional regenerative dynamometer installations to cool test engines more efficiently, and innovative wastewater reuse projects. (The reuse project at Cummins' Rocky Mount Engine Plant in North Carolina is photographed above.)

In its 2021 Sustainability Progress Report, which includes the most recent data available (2022 data will be released later this year), Cummins reported using just under 840 million gallons of water in 2021 compared to about 960 million in 2018, a roughly 12.5% reduction.

The company’s 2030 goal is an absolute reduction in direct water use, unadjusted by hours worked or revenues. So, to meet that goal, Cummins will need to reduce water consumption even if hours worked, or revenues, increase.

Cummins plans to continue reducing consumption through low- and no-cost efforts, notably fixing leaks and optimizing processes, but will also work to eliminate water use in some areas, if possible, to meet its aggressive 30% reduction goal.


Cummins Water Works will play a key role in meeting the company’s other water-related 2030 goal. On July 14 this year, the multi-million-dollar program will mark its second anniversary, strengthening communities through sustainable water by addressing the global water crisis.

Through partnerships with The Nature Conservancy and, Cummins Water Works has helped more than 500,000 people, providing nearly 6 billion gallons in annual water benefits to communities around the world, increasing access to clean water and improved water quality.

The program’s support for, for example, has allowed the nonprofit to complete thousands of infrastructure improvement projects, installing spigots, plumbing, taps, pumps and water storage tanks.

Additionally, Cummins’ funds supported the marketing of loan opportunities to families in vulnerable communities. The funds also helped teach banks how to process low-capital environmental loans and show that the loans are profitable.

Cummins Water Works helped mobilize more than $40 million in capital with a loan repayment rate of just over 99%. More than 80% of the applicants were female.

Cummins Water Works projects are currently underway in Brazil, Canada, China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa and the United States. These projects address an array of local needs, from building oyster reefs that filter algae from the water and remove nutrients that can be harmful to other aquatic life, to sponsoring low interest loans for underserved populations, and installing indoor plumbing.

In these and many other ways, Cummins is working to be good stewards of water, in keeping with its mission of making people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world.

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. blair.clafl[email protected]


More than 140 tons of waste saved from landfills


E-waste is the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream, according to the United Nations; yet, less than 18% of electronics are collected and recycled. Community recycling days are helping to change that by limiting what ends up in landfills, incinerators and other means of waste disposal. Once a year, however, Cummins Inc. provides the place, manpower, and funding to oversee the proper, safe disposal of hard-to-recycle items like waste paints and electronics through Cummins’ Community Recycling Day.

The Columbus Engine Plant (CEP) is one of several Cummins plants to hold this event during Environmental Month. The combination of community involvement and responsible environmental practices supports CEP’s internal Cummins certification of Zero Disposal (zero landfill) for the site, which it acquired in June of 2018.

Zero disposal and landfill status

One of the Cummins requirements for attaining zero landfill status is that a site has to successfully recycle 100% of its waste and can prove four consecutive quarters of zero waste. Keeping materials out of the landfill and conserving natural res

urces whenever possible has been important to CEP as it falls in line with the overall Cummins commitment to environmental stewardship. It’s also part of PLANET2050, a Cummins strategy to reduce emissions, water and waste, and reuse or recycle responsibly. 

Plant goals of zero landfill status have extended to surrounding communities too, which have consistently participated in properly disposing their waste during Cummins Community Recycling Day. As proof, the popularity of Cummins Recycling Day has grown from 150 cars lined up to drop items off at its inception in 2010, to over 1,500 cars participating last year. 

Through this event held in Columbus, Ind. (U.S.) and another at the Jamestown Engine Plant (JEP) in Jamestown, New York (U.S.), CEP and JEP have overseen the responsible disposal of more than 370 tons of household waste over a five-year period. That’s waste equivalent to 92 elephants – imagine over 7 Olympic-sized swimming pools full of waste.

Infographic card
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With the help of partners – hundreds of Cummins employee volunteers, vendors, organizations, and local residents – these plants have combined a positive impact on their communities they serve, aligning with Cummins core mission and PLANET2050 targets. And they’ve done it while diverting batteries, tires, paint, electronics and more from settling in landfills, saving countless people and wildlife from serious health risks that can result from toxic, corrosive chemicals and substances such as mercury, lead and cadmium leaching into the soil and ground water.

“One of the items that got my attention and the attention of many of our volunteers was the number of old TVs we saw with the cathode-ray tubes,” said David Wehrkamp, former Health, Safety and Environment Leader at CEP. “There were some of the big heavy ones with the wood paneling. I didn’t think people still had them, but they do.”

Older TVs with cathode-ray tubes typically hold lead, cadmium-based phosphorus and other toxic chemicals that make them potentially dangerous and hard to recycle. Many places in the United States charge a few for handling them, which underscores the importance of events like this which take them at no cost.

So, how many tons of waste will Cummins’ recycling day divert from landfills this year? Stay tuned to find out.

Learn more about Cummins’ Planet 2050 and Destination Zero strategies.

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins, a global power technology leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from internal combustion, electric and hybrid integrated power solutions and components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, microgrid controls, batteries, electrolyzers and fuel cell products.

Cummins leads on gender equality as company celebrates International Women’s Day


The Cummins Powers Women program to promote gender equality has now served more than 27 million women and girls around the world, having invested $23 million in the effort since its inception in 2018.

The company released new statistics on the program as it celebrates both the fifth anniversary of Cummins Powers Women and International Women’s Day March 8 with a range of activities both inside and outside the company.

“I am so proud to work for a company that believes in advancing women everywhere,” said Mary Chandler, Vice President of Community Relations and Corporate Responsibility at Cummins. “Yes, building a diverse, inclusive and equitable workforce is vital to Cummins’ success, plain and simple. But we’ve taken that commitment another huge step forward with Cummins Powers Women.

"When we started this program five years ago, we could not have predicted the incredibly important ways Cummins has positively impacted the lives of girls and women around the world, from helping to reduce the scourge of child marriage and domestic violence, to bringing curriculum into schools to teach boys about gender equality so they can later carry the torch of change in their communities," she added. "It’s remarkable.” 


Cummins Powers Women partners with 10 global nonprofits in 18 countries to accelerate gender equality in educational attainment, economic empowerment, personal safety and legal rights.

The commitment has more than 1,300 Cummins employees engaged as Cummins Powers Women Ambassadors, and it has also gotten support from many of the company’s Employee Resource Groups aligned along different dimensions of diversity. In addition, more than 24 leaders around the world have been engaged in the effort. 

As part of Cummins’ focus on gender equality, it has long put a spotlight on International Women’s Day, held annually on March 8 to celebrate women’s achievement and raise awareness about the discrimination they face. This year’s theme, #EmbraceEquity, underscores the fact that gender equality needs each of us to play a role by actively supporting and embracing equality in our own areas of influence.


To kick off the week, Cummins President and CEO Jennifer Rumsey, along with Karen Quintos, Cummins Board Member and retired Chief Customer Officer of Dell Technologies, led an interactive discussion on March 6 to talk about work critical to achieving gender equality, both internal to the company and external to communities.
Next, Rise Up conducted a virtual panel on March 7 where its leaders shared impactful stories. Rise Up is one of the 10 global Cummins Powers Women nonprofit partners dedicated to advancing gender equality. It joins with visionary local leaders to provide training, funding and networks for meaningful and lasting change.  

Thirty-six organized events are taking place throughout the week in the seven regions of the world where Cummins has a presence. Employees can sign up to attend, either in person at local sites or virtually from all over the globe, to listen to and interact with leadership on varying topics such as young women enrolled in trade schools, future female leaders, embracing equality and more.

While Cummins is pleased by the success of Cummins Powers Women and other efforts, the company knows there is much work to be done and remains committed to its focus on creating a more prosperous and equitable world.

5 years of impact
Click the image to see the impact of the Cummins Powers Women program.


Tamra Knudsen smiling

Tamra Knudsen

Tamra Knudsen is a Brand Journalist for Cummins with extensive experience in the Capital Goods sector, serving over 20 years in various corporate communications roles. She began her career in accounting, moving into numerous positions within finance, marketing and administration, until she discovered her niche in the field of communications. Her passion is to create transparent and meaningful content that educates, informs and engages readers on a variety of topics for both external and internal audiences. 

Tamra graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Parkside, with a BS in Business Administration and Management.

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