Energy Exchange

Fayetteville Shale methane emissions dominated by manual unloadings; National methane emissions are still too high, and avoidable

A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) offers new granularity and insight into a study appearing earlier this year in Science, which found that higher-than-reported methane emissions across the U.S. oil and gas industry methane emissions are largely the result of abnormal operating conditions at a variety of oil and gas facilities across the supply chain.

The new paper, led by researchers from Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and others, zeros in on the phenomenon of super emitters, with a specific focus on Arkansas’ Fayetteville Shale.

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Also posted in Natural Gas / Comments are closed

New EPA data confirms methane emissions not declining fast enough

Last week EPA released its annual data from large emitters, called the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP). It is not a comprehensive account of all methane emissions (for that, check out our methane synthesis paper published earlier this year) but it does provided us with an important snapshot of 2017 oil and gas methane emissions.

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Also posted in California, Colorado, Natural Gas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wyoming / Comments are closed

Comprehensive climate reporting must include methane: New report shows you how

By Kate Gaumond and Sean Wright

Just last month 13 of the world’s largest oil and gas majors—including ExxonMobil, BP and Shell —came together for a new commitment to reducing a key super pollutant. Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is the second leading contributor to climate change and over 80 times more potent than carbon when leaked into the atmosphere in the short-term. What’s more surprising? The coalition’s new methane target proceeded despite an uncertain regulatory landscape in the U.S.

One of 76 recent environmental rollbacks, the Trump administration’s latest move toward undoing common-sense methane regulations is expected by the EPA’s own estimates to allow an additional 480,000 tons of methane emissions. Yet behind the scenes, pressure on industry to transparently reduce emissions is coming from an unexpected source: investors. Investors understand the material risk methane poses their portfolios and have been urging companies to act. Given the lack of current national policy leadership in the U.S., investor pressure on industry to manage climate risks like methane will likely only increase.

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Also posted in Climate, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

UN Special Report confirms urgent need to reduce methane emissions

The latest UN IPCC report makes it crystal clear that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not the only pollutant that matters for limiting future warming.

Deep reductions in emissions of non-CO2 pollutants, particularly methane (CH4), are essential to staying below temperature targets, and have the added benefits of improving public health, food security, and ecosystems.

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Also posted in Climate, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

California’s move to cut utility gas leaks is a critical part of moving towards a low carbon future

As shown by the recent special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, emissions from fossil fuel combustion in California and elsewhere present dire consequences for the planet. This means California, like the rest of the world, must take real steps now to shift toward a low carbon future.

Similar to many other developed economies, California has a vast oil and gas delivery infrastructure that is integrated into its modern way of life – a system that supports the combustion of fossil fuels in nearly every corner of society. As a result, making dramatic shifts toward a carbon neutral economy as envisioned in a recent executive order by Governor Brown will take a lot of investment. While this investment is underway, it’s appropriate to also make sure the system that delivers energy to homes and businesses is as environmentally benign as possible.

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Also posted in Aliso Canyon, California, Gas to Clean, General, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Harvard Management Company discusses challenges, opportunities for reducing methane emissions in oil and gas industry

Last month, we had the opportunity to speak about methane and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investing with Michael Cappucci, Senior Vice President of Compliance and Sustainable Investing at Harvard Management Company (HMC). An early leader in ESG investing, HMC was the first U.S. university endowment to sign the UN-supported PRI ESG investing initiative in 2014.

HMC manages the university’s $37 billion endowment and believes ESG risks can have indirect and direct impacts on a company’s performance. Part of HMC’s work with Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) includes co-leading a group of institutional investors examining the global efforts underway to limit methane emissions and the opportunities to increase their effectiveness. As HMC’s representative to that group, Michael explains below why methane is a risk for all investors and how far the industry has come in just a few short years. Read More »

Also posted in Natural Gas / Comments are closed