Author Archives: Ben Ratner

Here’s how Chevron’s next CEO can turn over a new leaf

Chevron, the nation’s second largest oil and gas producer, is in the news this week as reports surface that long-time CEO John Watson is expected to step down. It’s no secret that Mr. Watson has too often lagged on his response to climate change. As the board selects a new CEO, it has a chance to turn a new leaf and move Chevron toward the right side of history on climate change, better positioning the company to address investor and social demands for cleaner energy and climate risk management.

Here’s what their new CEO should bring to the table:

A vision for how the company adapts and leads in the low carbon transition

Chevron withheld support for the Paris climate accord even as peers like Exxon and Shell supported it. Opposing the vast majority of the rest of the world is not an economically sustainable posture for a global company –and it creates unnecessary risks for shareholders. The board should select a CEO with a vision to adapt and lead in the transition to a cleaner energy economy. Simply acknowledging the reality of climate change is no longer enough – a 21st century energy leader also develops a sound business plan to navigate that reality and help the global community address one of its costliest challenges. Read More »

Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

When Trump’s agencies undermine small businesses supporting responsible energy

Every physician would tell you that regular check-ups are important for your health, to catch problems before they become big issues, and to let you know that everything is in working order. Regular check-ups are also important for the oil and natural gas industry, whose leading actors benefit from periodic site inspections for natural gas leaks, which let product go to waste and pollute the air our families breathe.

Unfortunately, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt slammed the brakes on these regular check-ups for methane emissions (the main component of natural gas), when EPA announced its intention to freeze for two years safeguards that include a national standard for twice annual leak detection inspections at new well pads. And mere hours later, the Bureau of Land Management suspended waste prevention standards on federal and tribal lands. While these actions might initially be popular among some in the oil & gas community in Texas, the long-term repercussions will be severe.

With commodity prices recovering and a wave of development expected in the Permian Basin, the leak detection requirements were to take effect in time to support responsible development of new resources. Read More »

Posted in BLM Methane, General, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

Three lessons industry should learn from surprising methane loss

 This post originally appeared on Forbes

Last week, the oil and gas lobby suffered a major and unexpected loss, when the Republican controlled Congress refused to eliminate the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) natural gas waste rule. While API has since requested a two-year stay in compliance, they should instead pause, learn the lessons presented by the CRA, and move forward according to the wishes of the American public.

Here are three lessons industry should learn.

1. They misread the mood of the American public

In the early days of the Trump Administration, its anti-climate, anti-environment agenda came into sharp focus. This looked like a golden opportunity to roll back environmental safeguards, including the BLM protections, which minimize the unnecessary flaring, venting, and leaking of natural gas on federal and tribal lands. With President Trump still in the early days of his victory, and single party control of both Houses of Congress, some saw a political opening, or even a voter mandate to weaken environmental protections.

But what they saw was a mirage: Absolutely no one voted for more pollution. Read More »

Posted in BLM Methane, Methane, Natural Gas| Read 1 Response

Trump Undermining Jobs That Conserve Natural Gas, But States Should Create Them

The biggest irony of the Trump Administration’s attack on environmental safeguards is that it will undermine a central promise of his candidacy: supporting boots on the ground, American jobs in growth sectors. One prime example? The emerging service industry that puts people to work finding and fixing harmful natural gas leaks.

American workers in the methane mitigation industry keep the product, methane (the main ingredient in natural gas), in the pipes and out of the sky. That’s a win for workers, who receive technology training, competitive wages, and opportunities for upward mobility. It’s a win for surrounding communities, as methane emission reductions also help keep smog-forming pollutants out of the air they breathe. It’s a win for oil and gas operators, which make operations more efficient and improve safety. And it’s a win for the climate, since methane is 84 times more potent in the near term than carbon dioxide.

In other words, if winning were more than a campaign slogan, supporting America’s methane mitigation industry would be an obvious opportunity to seize. Unfortunately, President Trump’s anti-jobs approach to undermining methane safeguards does just the opposite. Read More »

Posted in General, Jobs, Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed

Can Technology Save the Climate? These Companies are Betting $1 Billion It Can

Last November, on the same day the Paris climate agreement took effect, 10 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, including BG Group, BP, Eni, Pemex, Reliance Industries, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Statoil and Total, announced a billion-dollar investment in climate solutions. Together, the member-companies of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) produce 20 percent of the world’s oil and gas and operate in 55 countries.

Their commitment was the beginning sign of a growing and public recognition by the oil and gas industry that tomorrow’s low carbon energy transformation has become today’s new energy imperative.

Right now, the biggest, most pressing climate item for the oil and gas industry is methane. Importantly, OGCI’s announcement included a global focus on reducing methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Far more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year timespan, methane is responsible for about a quarter of the warming we feel today. Read More »

Posted in Climate, General, Methane, Natural Gas| Tagged | Read 1 Response

Will Shareholders Get Money’s Worth As Oil Giants Link Executive Pay to Climate Results?

Wednesday, October 09, 2013 - Delegates at the 2013 Shell SEF Canada Conference in Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada. Photo by Chris Bolin / For POLARIS IMAGES Image File Name: 20131009_CB_Shell_SEF_0068.JPG ///

Money talks. That’s why one key element in the battle against climate change must be aligning the financial compensation of executives to tangible corporate efforts to decarbonize.

Better aligning incentives is particularly important in energy intensive industries, where the status quo can encourage decisions on strategy, investment, and operations that jeopardize the planet’s climate, while also generating risk to investors that can, ultimately, undercut a company’s long-term viability.

In a promising sign, Royal Dutch Shell CEO recently announced that executive bonuses at the oil and gas giant will include greenhouse gas goals. “We have linked executive remuneration in the past to energy intensity and next year we are going to make it even more specific to the CO2 footprint metrics associated with these energy efficiencies” he said. Ten percent of bonus payments to executives, including the CEO and CFO at Shell, will reportedly be linked to “greenhouse gas management”. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas| Comments are closed
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