Energy Exchange

Your investors are asking about methane risk: here's why, and what you can do

A version of this piece originally appeared in Petroleum Economist.

With the annual corporate shareholder meeting season coming to a close and the World Gas Conference around the corner, one thing is abundantly clear – investors are strengthening their stance on climate, and they want the oil and gas industry to step up and reduce methane emissions.

In an open letter in the Financial Times earlier this spring, investors overseeing more than $10.4 trillion wrote they are expecting the oil and gas industry to change how it operates and transition its operations and corporate strategy to a low-carbon economy. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

How virtual reality can help the oil and gas industry confront its invisible challenge: methane

I’m a certified oil and gas tech nerd, and I’ve never been so excited about my job. I love data, the insights that come with it, and especially the ways of applying those insights to catalyze continuous improvement. There are few decisions I make without an Excel spreadsheet – and after spending several years working for an oilfield services company, I’m passionate about solving one of the biggest environmental problems of our time: methane emissions.

Methane is the main ingredient in natural gas and a common byproduct of oil production. Unburned, it’s also a powerful greenhouse gas. Worldwide, about 75 million metric tons of methane escape each year from oil and gas operations through leaks, venting and flaring – making the industry one of the largest sources of man-made methane emissions.

As methane risk draws increasing attention from public officials, major investors and industry leaders, tech solutions are increasingly relevant and “digitization of the oilfield” is becoming industry’s hottest new term.

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Posted in Fourth Wave, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Oilfield digitization advancing solutions to meet an environmental challenge

Two global trends are converging in the energy industry, and the result could spur the biggest environmental advancement in a generation.

Known by some as the “digitization of the oilfield,” it’s the new wave of technologies linked with big data that is transforming an established industry. For the world's oil and gas industry, this push toward digitization is emerging as a central part of strategic planning, as the energy landscape is reshaped by increasing competition from renewables and electrification. But competitiveness means more than bringing new efficiencies online, it also means improving environmental performance.

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Posted in Fourth Wave, General, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

What the heck is an environmental group doing at the World Gas Conference?

The simple answer is this. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) approaches challenges pragmatically. If we want to rid the planet of harmful climate pollution, our efforts must include working with the industries that can make the biggest difference.

That means I spend a lot of my time working with leaders from the oil and gas industry. While we don’t always agree, we forge solutions wherever we can.

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Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

As Permian drilling booms, will the Texas Railroad Commission stand against wasted gas?

This piece originally appeared as an op-ed in the Midland Reporter-Telegram

The West Texas Permian oilfield is poised for rapid development in the next decade; the Energy Information Administration projects oil production in the Permian could grow 60 percent by the year 2030. But oil wells in Texas’ Permian Basin don’t just pump oil, they also produce large amounts of natural gas – which many companies aren’t equipped to handle.

That is posing a problem for Texas, as producers run out of capacity to move associated gas to market. Without reasonable action from the state’s oil and gas regulator, the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC), producers could resort to simply burning away excess gas – something we’ve seen in other oil fields where gas is not the primary production target.

This process, also known as flaring, is a recipe for widespread waste and pollution.

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Posted in Methane, Natural Gas, Texas / Comments are closed

Huge new Utah oil and gas project could have serious impacts on air quality

A proposal under review at the Bureau of Land Management to bring thousands more oil and gas wells to a region of Utah already struggling with unhealthy air could cause more pollution and more waste.

The Greater Chapita Wells Project Area is slated to bring nearly 3,000 new wells to the state’s Uintah basin – an area the Environmental Protection Agency recently designated as having harmful levels of ozone.

Ozone, commonly known as smog, can trigger asthma attacks and other health concerns. Recent research suggests emissions from oil and gas facilities are the leading cause of the region’s ozone pollution problem.

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Posted in Air Quality, BLM Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed