Energy Exchange

The race to reduce emissions: Five takeaways from OGCI venture day

The day before the World Gas Conference – one of the energy industry’s largest – 10 companies competed for USD $20 million to fund solutions with the power to disrupt how methane is managed, measured, and reduced.

The money was provided by Oil and Gas Climate Investments, the billion-dollar investment fund tied to the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) – a consortium of 10 oil and gas companies sharing knowledge and resources to cut the greenhouse gas footprint of their industry.

OGCI’s investment team and technical experts from member companies provided expertise and consumer-driven insights to select the 10 companies competing at Venture Day from nearly 60 applicants. The goal was to highlight companies and concepts that aren’t just innovative, but scalable and disruptive – something BP CEO and OGCI Chair Bob Dudley made clear: “If a person in the field with a hard hat turning the valves doesn’t get it, it won’t work.”

Not only was Venture Day a moment to showcase how high-tech can be high-impact (despite the companies in the room, it felt more Silicon Valley than Houston), it also represented a noticeable shift in the philosophy around industry investment in the methane space. In what OGCI CEO Pratima Rangarajan dubbed “the year of methane,” Venture Day signaled an inflection point for increased transparency, enhanced coordination, and global vision.

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Also posted in General, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

California sets new standards for natural gas storage sites

Data visualization shows the methane plume from the Aliso Canyon gas leak in red.

Three years ago, a blowout at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility forced thousands of nearby families to evacuate their homes and leaked over 100,000 tons of methane and other harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. The facility’s operator, Southern California Gas, wasn’t prepared for the scope or scale of the disaster that unfolded over four months.

The disaster demonstrated the risks of under-regulated natural gas storage sites, as well as the importance of not being over-reliant on natural gas. Regulators in California and across the country realized the need for better oversight and management.

As a result, California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) recently finalized new rules for managing the risky, industrial enterprise of underground gas storage. These rules are a foray into an underdeveloped policy space, and are the product of collaboration with stakeholders including national laboratories, the environmental community, and the federal government.

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

How the conversation changed at this year’s World Gas Conference

For years, conversations at major oil and gas industry conferences focused on one thing: the shale revolution. Excitement about the surge in economical new supply of unconventionally produced oil and gas was palpable, as panelists spoke of the potential for shale to transform everything from the geopolitics of American energy supply to the price of hydrocarbons. With such an unexpected and seismic change, a supply side story carried the day, with a focus on “below ground” drivers of energy abundance.

But today, the shale revolution is simply the new normal and the conversation has changed. “Above ground” factors like increasing competition from renewables, greenhouse gas emissions, and social license to operate will affect demand for natural gas for years. How industry confronts such challenges – both in the United States and internationally – will have a lot to do with industry’s longevity in putting resources to productive use in a changing world demanding cleaner energy.

At last week’s World Gas Conference in Washington, DC, difficult questions swirled about whether industry has done enough to earn society’s trust and prove natural gas has a constructive role to play in the transition to a low carbon economy. The biggest buzz of all surrounded one key issue: methane emissions, a core strategic challenge for the oil and gas industry.

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Also posted in Natural Gas / Comments are closed

New science and technology uncover opportunities to speed up environmental progress

This piece originally appeared on our EDF Voices blog.

Both science and environmentalism are changing – driven more and more by more collaboration and rapidly improving technology.

These developments offer tremendous opportunities, as they can reveal urgent threats much more clearly – as well as the paths to address them.

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Also posted in Energy Innovation, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Bipartisan western governors agree methane reductions benefit states

Yesterday the Western Governors Association, a bipartisan organization representing the Governors of the 19 western states, announced a policy resolution recognizing the importance and economic benefits of efforts to cut methane pollution from oil and gas facilities – the nation’s largest industrial source of methane.

The resolution states:

There are environmental and economic benefits of reducing methane emissions and opportunities for the beneficial use of this natural resource. Many western states – in cooperation with industry in those states – have already implemented regulatory strategies that reduce methane emissions from oil and gas operations, while expanding the use and sale of methane.

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

Response to methane synthesis critiques

A new paper published in Science last week is the culmination of an extensive amount of research conducted over the past six years examining methane emissions from the U.S. oil and gas supply chain. The study finds that the U.S. oil and gas industry emits 13 million metric tons of methane per year – 60% higher than the EPA Greenhouse Gas Inventory (GHGI) estimates. Some industry sources have questioned the conclusions drawn in the paper and the methods employed to which I respond below.

The 25 co-authors of this Science paper represent 16 different research institutions. These experts were collectively responsible for generating most of the data analyzed and directly involved in writing the paper, which was subjected to a rigorous independent peer review as a condition of publication in one of the world’s top scientific journals.

Informed critiques are a valuable part of the scientific process. But the key issues raised by Energy in Depth (EID) and the American Gas Association seem to reflect a deep misunderstanding of the approaches used in the paper and the underlying data. Here, I explain the methods used to avoid bias and resolve differences among multiple data sets.

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Also posted in Natural Gas / Comments are closed