Energy Exchange

The defining decade for oil and gas in the energy transition

Business as usual for the oil and gas industry is over. Investor confidence is flagging just as the talent pool shrinks and competition from cleaner energy sources intensifies. Pressure on companies to respond to the climate crisis to maintain their future viability has never been higher.

BP’s recent “net-zero” announcement is a case in point. And though time will tell whether BP delivers on its ambition, CEO Bernard Looney deserves credit for putting his company on the right path. It’s critically important — for the planet and the entire industry — that other energy companies meet or beat the mark of BP’s ambition, and that all turn their sights next to implementation.

As BP’s new plan changes the conversation in boardrooms around the world, energy companies that are serious about performing while transforming will need to step up in four areas. Here’s what to watch for as industry’s defining decade begins.

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Posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

Clean water regulators at the brink — Changes to the Clean Water Act spell trouble for New Mexico

Earlier this year, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its proposal to dismantle significant portions of the Clean Water Act. Historic federal protections for some rivers and streams and wetlands will no longer be there — essentially allowing polluters to dump untold amounts of waste into our waterways unless state provisions stop them.

The decision could generate unknown repercussions to waterways across the country, and perhaps no state is more vulnerable than New Mexico.

The reason? New Mexico has very few surface water protections of its own, which means without federal standards, the state is facing an uphill battle to develop the tools it needs in order to step in and prevent polluters from contaminating water.

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Posted in Natural Gas, New Mexico, produced water, produced water / Comments are closed

These 4 trends prove electric trucks and buses are revving up

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we’ll need to accelerate electrification of the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases in the world: medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. These include vehicles from big semitrucks and delivery vans, to city buses and garbage trucks.

Fortunately, this sector looks poised to grow through 2020 and beyond, good news for the climate and the millions of people who live in cities, where trucks and buses are leading contributors to local air pollution.

Here are four trends that I’ll be monitoring in the year ahead.

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Posted in Air Quality, Electric Vehicles, New York / Comments are closed

Demonstrating with data: Shifting the oil and gas industry from awareness to action on methane emissions

In 10 short years, the climate impact of methane emissions from the oil and gas industry has moved from abstract understanding to a widely-recognized fact. Scientific studies conducted around the world have quantified the risk that methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, poses to climate.

Studies have also demonstrated that the oil and gas supply chain is among the largest industrial sources of methane and that reducing oil and gas methane is one of the most immediate and cost-effective ways to limit near-term climate warming today.

Some in industry have begun to respond. Companies like BP and Shell, and coalitions like the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative and One Future have committed to methane reduction targets and begun public reporting. Meanwhile, a group of companies, working with the United Nations Environment Program, European Commission, EDF and others have raised the ambition of another multi-stakeholder initiative — the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership — to improve the scope and rigor of methane management and reporting.  These commitments are important, especially when they are made publicly and demonstrate the oil and gas industry’s commitment to playing a role in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

If the 2010s was a decade of awareness and words, the 2020s must be a decade of action and results. We must move past press releases announcing that companies will reduce methane emissions and begin seeing and believing they are actually doing it.

EDF’s new whitepaper, Hitting the Mark: Improving the Credibility of Industry Methane Data, provides industry a roadmap to the most critical piece of genuine methane action: good data. Hitting the Mark follows the 2018 publication of EDF’s Taking Aim, which presented criteria for establishing an environmentally ambitious methane target. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

How oil & gas states did (and did not) protect land and water in 2019

By Adam Peltz and Nichole Saunders

Regulating the day-to-day details of an oil and gas operation can be a complex task, with both regulators and operators working hard to prevent leaks, explosions and other threats to worker safety, community health and the environment. As we learn more about technical advancements in the oilfield as well as risks from various aspects of production, it is vital that the regulations requiring best practices are kept up to date.

EDF believes this process of continuous improvement is foundational for protecting land, water and communities from development-related impacts. That’s why we track what states are up to on a consistent basis. Building on our review of state progress toward this goal in 2018, we’ve gathered up the big changes states made this past year and assessed the trends.

Here are the big things we saw in 2019.

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Posted in Methane, Natural Gas, produced water / Comments are closed

Amid an oil and gas boom, New Mexico legislators need to refill regulators’ tanks

As lawmakers convene in Santa Fe for the current legislative session, they face a state transformed by an oil and gas boom. Expanded oil and gas drilling has made New Mexico the No. 3 oil producer in the nation and is transforming large swaths of the state’s landscape.

However, while oil and gas production has skyrocketed over the past decade, years of funding cuts under former Gov. Susana Martinez have left New Mexico’s energy and environmental agencies unable to guarantee oil and gas operations take place safely and responsibly.

The state’s leaders can chart a new course this year by ensuring these agencies have the resources they need to keep pace with industry’s growth and protect the health, air and water of New Mexicans across the state. This will mean going above and beyond the budget proposed for these agencies by Gov. Lujan Grisham in order to get vital regulators back on their feet.

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Posted in Climate, Methane, Natural Gas, New Mexico / Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments are closed