Energy Exchange

Permian methane measurements will aid New Mexico regulators

The Permian Basin has grown to become the most productive oil field in the country and one of the largest in the world, but too little is known about what this drilling boom means for methane waste and pollution. A new science effort led by Environmental Defense Fund with researchers from Penn State, the University of Wyoming and Scientific Aviation will help fill this knowledge gap and better inform state regulators in New Mexico who are moving forward on state methane rules.

This first-of-its-kind study will combine three different types of data collection, utilizing methane measurements from airplanes, a network of towers, and vehicles that take measurements downwind from well sites. All data collected will be shared publically to better inform local communities in southeast New Mexico and West Texas, as well as state regulators and the producers themselves, about the scope and scale of the methane problem in the Permian.

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Also posted in Methane regulatons, New Mexico / Comments are closed

Federal methane rollbacks spark new opposition from 12 major utilities

Backlash continues to grow against the Trump administration’s efforts to deregulate methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The coalition opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s rollbacks now includes major oil and gas companies¹, a midstream gas transmission operator, investors representing over $5.5 trillion in assets under management and 12 of the nation’s largest utilities

These utilities, who use natural gas produced by oil and gas companies for electricity generation and delivery to commercial and residential consumers, have expressed strong opposition to the proposed regulations, recognizing national standards as the “foundation” of industry efforts to reduce methane emissions.

The public comment period, which began on Sept. 24, offers downstream energy providers a key opportunity to publicly add their voice to the broad set of stakeholders supporting federal regulation of methane in the oil and gas sector.

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Also posted in Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

New bill provides California with a powerful tool to reduce emissions and improve air quality

A new bill (AB 1328) just passed in the California legislature and is awaiting Gov. Newsom’s signature. The bill requires California’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, in consultation with the California Air Resources Board, to initiate an independent evaluation of the climate and health pollution impacts from idle, deserted and abandoned wells Just like active production sites, these inactive oil and gas wells can leak pollution, affecting communities through climate change and health impacts.

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Also posted in Air Quality, California, 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.

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Also posted in 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.

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Also posted in Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

Is the oil and gas industry serious about climate?

Hundreds of diplomats and heads of state will converge on the United Nations this week to discuss urgent actions to prevent catastrophic climate change. Just a few blocks away, CEOs and other top executives of the world’s largest oil and gas companies will host a meeting of their own, where they will also be talking about the climate, aiming to showcase the industry’s efforts to address greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s just a 10-minute walk between the two, but the symbolic journey is more like a thousand miles — and oil and gas producers are still struggling with the first steps. Their New York gathering, part of something called the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), could reveal important signs as to how serious they are about picking up the pace.

That challenge is stark: The world’s economy needs to reach net-zero greenhouse emissions by the end of this century if we are to have better-than-even odds of limiting warming to two degrees. Net-zero means not putting more carbon into the atmosphere than we can take out. To hit the global goal, Europe, the U.S. and other advanced economies must get to net-zero by 2050.

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Also posted in Natural Gas / Comments are closed