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What the world’s largest provider of oilfield services has to say about innovation and regulation

Here is something you don’t hear every day: oil and gas methane regulations can reinforce innovation and leadership. Numerous new methods to reduce oil and gas methane emissions are being developed; and regulators, environmentalists, oil companies and innovators are working together to craft a new way for innovation to be recognized and rewarded.

I interviewed Drew Pomerantz of Schlumberger, the world’s largest provider of oilfield services, about what new methods and technologies are available to reduce oil and gas methane emissions, what their impact might be, and what is needed to realize that potential.

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Also 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.”

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

Fixing regulatory pitfalls could reduce methane emissions

A version of this piece originally ran in Scientific American.

Methane has long been recognized as a potent greenhouse gas, but preventing its escape from industrial facilities has only recently become a prominent goal. The oil and gas industry, for example, is a large emitter, and research (including some by scientists at the Environmental Defense Fund) has documented that far more methane seeps out of wells, pipelines, valves and other points in the supply chain than energy companies and official emissions inventories report.

This revelation has people worried—people like me, who are concerned about the health and future of humanity. And people like the CEOs of global oil and gas companies, including BP and ExxonMobil, who have voluntarily pledged to reduce methane emissions. Increasingly, investors, public officials and neighbors living near oil and gas infrastructure have become worried, too.

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The oilfield digitalization opportunity executives can’t afford to miss

At the Baker Hughes GE Annual Meeting this week in Florence, Italy, a CEO began his presentation with this bold adage: “Digital strategy equals business strategy.” Executives on nearly every panel pointed to the digital opportunity.

As the oil and gas industry invests in the digital transformation to improve competitiveness, companies should seize the opportunity to integrate methane emissions management into their broader digital agendas, as a key way to maximize value and stay competitive in the low carbon energy transition.

Leveraging the transformation to tackle methane

The oil and gas industry is embarking on a holistic digital transformation, one that is disrupting virtually every facet of the business. Digitalization of the oilfield , which includes innovations such as automated asset management, predictive maintenance, and industrial internet of things (IIoT), has the potential to unlock tremendous value – up to $1.6 trillion.

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Also posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

What if gadgets talked to the grid to cut carbon? With this new technology, they can.

Having breakfast at a local restaurant last weekend, I was sitting next to parents who were desperately trying to get their toddler to eat the pancakes he had ordered a few minutes earlier. Watching the high-stakes drama, it occurred to me that toddlers are a bit like our electric grid: They can change drastically at a moment’s notice.

The better we are at reacting to the sudden outburst of “I hate pancakes” – or in the case of the grid, rapid changes in demand, price and emissions – the better off we’ll be.

For emissions at least, we can. Automated Emissions Reductions, or AER, is a new technology helping us to more precisely measure and proactively reduce the carbon emissions impact from our electricity use, in real time. A growing number of grid operators, businesses and energy managers nationwide are lining up to invest in this technology as an efficient way to cut their carbon footprint.

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Also posted in Electricity Pricing, Energy Innovation / Comments are closed

Can blockchain unlock a sustainable future?

Blockchain – a really high-tech “spreadsheet” or ledger used to record transactions securely – offers exciting potential for clean energy. With the rapid rise of distributed energy technologies — such as rooftop solar, batteries, smart energy devices, and electric vehicles — some analysts believe the market for blockchain applications in the energy sector is many times larger than it is for cryptocurrency in the financial sector.

Blockchain technology may hold great promise for a sustainable future, but we need to solve some important challenges first.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Community Solar, Grid Modernization / Read 2 Responses