Monthly Archives: May 2020

New report offers insights to improve environmental integrity and safety of underground gas storage facilities

By Dan Mueller and Hanling Yang

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For more than a century, the United States has been storing vast amounts of natural gas in large, underground storage facilities. Underground gas storage is an essential tool for providing reliable natural gas supply, but these facilities must be rigorously designed, maintained and managed to minimize potential failures that can significantly impact our health and environment. This was made abundantly clear in 2015 when a failure at an underground gas storage facility in Southern California sent massive amounts of methane and other toxic chemicals into the air for months on end, resulting in the largest gas leak in modern history.

U.S. UGS regulatory programs and practices continue to improve, drawing on recent lessons learned, and that has important implications for other countries looking to develop and enhance their own gas storage programs.

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Posted in China, Methane, Natural Gas / Tagged | Comments are closed

Methane: Europe’s missing link for effective energy decarbonization

The EU Sector Integration Strategy, expected in June, has become the top energy policy issue this year, and it will define the role of gas in Europe’s current and future transitions.

In recent weeks, there have been increasing calls for Europe’s gas decarbonization to focus on hydrogen and renewable gases, while saying very little — if anything — about energy-related methane emissions. Yet according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reducing methane is a critical complement to reducing carbon dioxide emissions if we are to reach our greenhouse gas reduction goals and stabilize the climate.

The commission’s plan thus far seems to be taking a cross-sector approach in addressing methane emissions across energy, agriculture and waste. It is sensible, given that human-made methane emissions from oil and gas, agriculture and other sources are responsible for over a quarter of the warming our planet is experiencing now.

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Posted in Climate, Europe, Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

However you measure it, Permian oil and gas operations have highest emissions ever measured in a U.S. oilfield

Two fundamentally different methods EDF is using to measure and understand methane emissions in the Permian Basin are producing strikingly similar results. The mutually reinforcing sets of data — one gathered using aircraft, the other by satellite — each show that oil and gas operators in the region are releasing more than 3.5% of the natural gas they extract from the ground into the atmosphere as methane pollution.

That’s roughly twice the average rate found in 11 other major U.S. oil and gas basins. The wasted gas in the Permian is enough to supply 2 million American homes for a year.

The first of these efforts is EDF’s year-long PermianMAP, which tracks emissions from the ground and in the air, and takes the unprecedented step of publishing data online in near-real time to help industry and officials reduce those emissions, while letting the public see the results. The other is the first peer-reviewed scientific study to take direct measurement of Permian emissions, using the European Space Agency’s TROPOMI instrument.

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Posted in Air Quality, Climate, Methane, Methane regulatons, New Mexico, PermianMAP, Texas / Comments are closed

CalSTRS says climate is major portfolio threat, companies must walk the walk on net-zero

A few weeks ago, EDF’s Ben Ratner spoke extensively with Brian Rice, a portfolio manager at California State Teachers’ Retirement Systems about key issues in environmental social and governance investing.

CalSTRS is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world with roughly $243 billion in managed assets. EDF has been working closely with the firm on corporate engagement for more than five years.

This is the first of a two-part Q&A series with CalSTRS examining prospects on ESG and climate investing through the energy transition. This portion of the discussion explores the rise of ESG, the importance of policy, and what comes next for companies with net-zero commitments.

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Posted in California, Climate, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed