Energy Exchange

New companies oppose methane rollbacks but industry divide remains

The stakes are high for businesses to support strengthened Environmental Protection Agency methane regulations.

While there are multiple pathways to achieve a net zero carbon emissions future by 2050 in the U.S., it’s clear that the oil and gas industry can and must virtually eliminate methane emissions. Not only is methane control an environmental priority, it is the most immediate and cost-effective decarbonization option for natural gas. Action on methane is a litmus test of industry’s ability to make necessary changes, and build the muscle to support responsible public policy that cuts emissions and stimulates innovation.

The late November close of the comment period on EPA’s proposal to eliminate methane regulation and exempt large segments of industry from pollution control requirements shows a growing industry divide. A review of industry filings to EPA reveals three game changers for the politics and policy of federal methane regulation.

Read More »

Posted in Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

2019 grades are in: OGCI companies get an “incomplete” for climate action

Earlier this week, the head of EDF’s energy program, Mark Brownstein, asked whether the oil and gas industry was serious about climate and proposed that Monday’s annual CEO meeting of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative companies, which includes BP, Exxon, Shell and others, could provide an answer.

I attended the meeting and listened for a real plan to transition to a low carbon economy. Though there were some bright spots, it was clear that however serious the industry is about climate, it’s not serious enough. If OGCI companies, individually and collectively, are going to demonstrate that industry can be part of the climate solution at the necessary pace and scale, 2020 is going to have to be a big year.

On the positive side, there is widespread agreement among OCGI members that substantial changes must be made to the energy system to reduce emissions. There were also encouraging reports about advances in methane monitoring and stated ambition to accelerate carbon removal technology, whether from the energy system or the atmosphere.

Read More »

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

Four ways EPA methane rollbacks threaten American natural gas

At the behest of the American Petroleum Institute, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to eliminate nationwide limits on methane pollution, sending America’s natural gas industry backwards to the days of uncontrolled emissions. This dangerous proposal threatens the climate, the communities living near oil and gas development and the increasingly vulnerable status of American natural gas in a transition to a net-zero carbon emission economy.

Any business depends on four fundamentals to operate successfully: demand from customers, acceptance from society at large, financial capital to invest and talent to do the work. America’s natural gas industry is no different.

Eliminating methane standards would increase risk to each part of this foundation, making this proposed rollback a prime opportunity for risk-conscious executives and investors to speak out this fall.

Read More »

Posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

Industry momentum builds for nationwide methane regulation

Oil and gas companies in the United States are the latest to add their voices to the broad set of stakeholders supporting federal regulation of methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector. These companies have a major responsibility to reduce methane emissions, a key step in the energy transition. This week in Houston, at CERAWeek, Shell, ExxonMobil and BP took important steps to support nationwide direct methane regulation, with Shell urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to not deregulate methane emissions and to even tighten standards.

There is more opportunity than ever before to regulate and reduce emissions in ways that work for industry and the environment. As ExxonMobil wrote, federal methane regulation “helps build stakeholder confidence, and provides long-term certainty for industry planning and investment while achieving climate related goals.”

Read More »

Posted in Fourth Wave, Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

EDF and ExxonMobil discuss technology and regulation to reduce methane emissions

Since 2017, ExxonMobil has expanded its U.S. methane leak detection program, committed to its first global methane target, supported methane monitoring technology innovation and encouraged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate methane emissions at new and existing sources. Although Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and ExxonMobil are not always aligned on certain important issues, the organizations are working together to understand and reduce methane emissions. Ben Ratner, senior director with EDF+Business, sat down with Matt Kolesar, regulatory manager at ExxonMobil’s XTO Energy affiliate, to discuss the company’s perspective on why methane is such a key issue for the industry and how technology and regulation can accelerate industry’s progress.

Read More »

Posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

One year after corporate methane advocacy commitments, serious doubts emerge

The credibility of recent industry methane commitments is under the microscope.

One year ago, many of the world’s top oil and gas companies publicly committed to support methane policies and regulations to reduce emissions from the global oil and gas industry. But today, serious doubts are emerging about whether the companies will keep their promise in the face of extreme regulatory rollbacks in the largest oil and gas producing nation in the world—the United States.

Companies with significant U.S. production—like BP, Chevron, Equinor, ExxonMobil, and Shell—committed to “advocate sound policy and regulations on methane emissions,” including working “constructively” with governments and others “in the development and implementation of effective methane abatement policies or regulations.” EDF, which worked with industry and others to develop the principles, welcomed the companies’ commitments. We noted that “done right, voluntary action is a way for leaders to raise the bar for industry’s performance, but fair competition and a healthy environment are not possible unless all companies meet the same basic standards that only sensible government regulation can achieve.” The five companies noted above have since joined others in the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative in committing to a voluntary methane target. But government regulations are under threat, creating the imperative for an unequivocal industry response.

Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed