Author Archives: Sean Wright

Methane leadership is a competitive advantage, says global investor

Early oil and gas industry adopters of methane management strategies and technologies are starting to see these reductions as an opportunity to gain a competitive edge.

Just last week, ExxonMobil announced  a new methane reduction program for its XTO Energy subsidiary, underscoring that the industry is paying close attention to the issue.

Methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, is leaked and vented across the oil and gas supply chain every day as the world energy mix shifts towards greater natural gas usage, according to the International Energy Agency. The oil and gas industry wastes billions of dollars a year of methane that simultaneously acts as a climate change accelerator, harming the brand of natural gas as a cheap and clean fuel source. Methane is 84 times more powerful as a heat-trapper than carbon in its first 20 years in the atmosphere.

In the second part of Environmental Defense Fund’s recent interview with Tim Goodman, Director of Engagement at London-based Hermes Investment Management, Goodman shares his views on why oil and gas companies addressing methane emissions are gaining a competitive edge, and how investors are paving the path for more companies to follow suit. (You can find the first part of the interview here.) Read More »

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Investor sees methane management as self-help for oil and gas companies

Q&A with Tim Goodman, Hermes Investment Management

When burned, natural gas produces half the carbon as coal, so it is often touted as a “bridge” fuel to a cleaner energy future. But the carbon advantage of natural gas may be lost if too much of it escapes across its value chain.

Natural gas is mostly methane, which, unburned, is a highly potent greenhouse gas accounting for roughly a quarter of today’s global warming. Worldwide, oil and gas companies leak and vent an estimated $30 billion of methane each year into the atmosphere.

EDF’s Sean Wright sat down with Tim Goodman, Director of Engagement at London-based Hermes Investment Management. Goodman, who views methane management as practical self-help for the industry to pursue, engages with oil and gas companies on strategies to manage their methane emissions. This is the first of a two-part conversation with Hermes, a global investment firm, whose stewardship service Hermes EOS, advises $330.4 billion in assets.  Read More »

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Global investor touts methane opportunity with oil & gas industry

Institutional investors worldwide are increasingly encouraging oil and gas companies to improve and disclose their management strategies to minimize methane risk.

Methane – an invisible, odorless gas and main ingredient in natural gas – is routinely emitted by the global oil and gas industry, posing a reputational and economic threat to portfolios.

Natural gas is widely marketed as a low-carbon fuel because it burns roughly 50 percent cleaner than coal. But this ignores a major problem: methane. Natural gas is almost pure methane, a powerful pollutant that speeds up Earth’s warming when it escapes into the atmosphere. Read More »

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Methane Emissions are Risky Business for Investors

No one likes uncertainty, least of all investors. From changes in interest rates, to supply chain disruptions, the list of risks investors must monitor is long and growing. Good, actionable information is investors’ most important tool for risk management and integral to successful investing. Without proper data, investors are flying blind.

A new report published by EDF this week  throws the spotlight on a growing risk for investors—methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. As so clearly demonstrated by the ongoing and massive leak at Aliso Canyon, methane emissions pose a multitude of expanding risks, with both short and long-term consequences.Three key risks from oil & gas methane

At 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in the short-term, methane emissions represent a potent and fast-emerging form of carbon risk. In a world looking to reduce carbon pollution, methane emissions pose regulatory, reputational and economic risks. Preparedness to comply with forthcoming rules varies across the industry, methane undercuts natural gas’ ability to play a role in a carbon-constrained world, and emissions of methane are lost product amounting to $30 billion a year globally. Read More »

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The Best New Job Opportunities in Oil and Gas Might Surprise You

People often think of the energy sector as a great place to find jobs, but some of the best, most stable job opportunities in the sector aren’t what you’d think. They’re not dedicated to resource production, but to minimizing the millions of tons of natural gas and associated pollution that leaks as the product is produced and delivered, wasting resources and causing a serious environmental problem.

Each year, more than 7 million tons of methane – the main component of natural gas and a powerful pollutant – escapes from oil and gas operations. These emissions pack the same short-term warming punch as pollution from 160 coal-fired power plants, and equal enough wasted natural gas to heat and cook meals for 5 million American homes.

Companies across the country are already harnessing the power of American innovation to solve this problem, creating new job opportunities in the process. And, a growing trend toward stronger state and federal safeguards to standardize methane reduction best practices is putting more wind in the sails of this growing industry.

Many of the positions being created are skilled, high-paying jobs for workers such as engineers and welders, according to a 2014 Datu Research report on the emerging methane mitigation industry. But these companies need a variety of other positions filled too, from sales to accounting to general labor. Read More »

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What do EPA’s Methane Rules Mean for the Energy Economy?

*Live morning webcast 9/29*

Around the country, people are talking about methane. Last week hundreds showed up to testify at public hearings in Dallas and Denver, weighing in on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to fight oil and gas methane pollution.

Tomorrow, EPA will hear from many more stakeholders in Pittsburgh, while a panel of experts that EDF is convening in Washington, DC, will discuss how we can cost-effectively reduce methane pollution using technologies already on the market.

The public hearings have largely reflected the concerns of local communities impacted by oil and gas industry air pollution. This is important as an overwhelming majority of voters support EPA’s proposal and view new rules as reasonable and necessary. This is hardly a surprise considering the oil and gas industry wastes over 7 million tons of methane pollution into the air every year, representing enough gas to heat 5 million homes and $1.2 billion dollars (at current prices) that could otherwise help boost our local economies. This tonnage of methane leakage also packs the same short-term warming power as 160 coal-fired power plants each year.

Though the energy waste and pollution is enormous, cutting methane emissions is not an insurmountable problem. That’s what you can expect to hear from tomorrow’s discussion hosted by The Hill titled, “Powering the Economy: A Discussion on Natural Gas, Methane Policy, and American Business.” Read More »

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