Energy Exchange

A zero flaring policy is long overdue, and investors can help make it reality

As investors take a hard look at the U.S. energy sector during this time of volatility, natural gas flaring is one of the most important and immediate risks to manage.

The eyesore of the oilfield, flaring natural gas destroys shareholder value and creates environmental, social and governance risk — exactly the kind of problem that an increasing number of asset managers, investment banks, and even private equity firms have promised to address.

Routine flaring is damaging the environment in several ways. In addition to the CO2 emissions from combusted gas, flares can release significant amounts of methane into the atmosphere. EDF’s recent helicopter survey found that more than one in every 10 flares at oil and gas sites across the Permian Basin was either unlit — venting uncombusted methane straight to the atmosphere — or only partially burning the gas they were releasing. In fact, the survey suggests that flaring could be among the region’s largest sources of fugitive methane and a troublesome contributor to local air pollution.

Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Climate, Natural Gas, New Mexico, PermianMAP, Texas / Comments are closed

A bright future for continuous methane detection

Over the last decade, a trove of scientific studies has established that not only are methane emissions from oil and gas operations a major contributor to climate change, but also that they are severely underestimated and underreported.

EDF has been at the forefront of research to detect and quantify the magnitude of oil and gas methane emissions. And we’ve also helped develop solutions that make large-scale emission reductions easier, faster and cheaper. A new initiative led by The University of Texas at Austin called Project ASTRA is a promising, multi-year experiment with the potential to build on and complement other efforts aimed at scaling global reductions of oil and gas methane emissions.

Read More »

Also posted in PermianMAP / Comments are closed

Canada’s Trudeau exemplifies climate leadership in the face of COVID-19 crisis

As countries everywhere struggle to balance crucial long term priorities like climate change with the urgent health and economic issues faced by millions suffering the effects of a viral pandemic, the government of Canada has distinguished itself with a new policy designed to address both sets of challenges without shortchanging either.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Canada’s Energy Stimulus Plan offers a standout example of how world leaders can carefully meet society’s immediate needs while simultaneously reducing the greenhouse gas pollution that is destabilizing our climate. Trudeau’s response demonstrates that it is possible to protect and preserve jobs — even in the oil and gas sector — while still cutting emissions.

The plan, announced in April, includes over CA$2 billion to help offset the crisis in the energy sector, while keeping a sharp focus on the economy and the environment. It includes CA$1.7 billion to clean up old, so-called orphan wells across Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, which the government estimates will preserve more than 5,000 jobs in Alberta alone.

Read More »

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

New report offers insights to improve environmental integrity and safety of underground gas storage facilities

By Dan Mueller and Hanling Yang

点击这里用中文阅读

For more than a century, the United States has been storing vast amounts of natural gas in large, underground storage facilities. Underground gas storage is an essential tool for providing reliable natural gas supply, but these facilities must be rigorously designed, maintained and managed to minimize potential failures that can significantly impact our health and environment. This was made abundantly clear in 2015 when a failure at an underground gas storage facility in Southern California sent massive amounts of methane and other toxic chemicals into the air for months on end, resulting in the largest gas leak in modern history.

U.S. UGS regulatory programs and practices continue to improve, drawing on recent lessons learned, and that has important implications for other countries looking to develop and enhance their own gas storage programs.

Read More »

Also posted in China, Natural Gas / Tagged | Comments are closed

Methane: Europe’s missing link for effective energy decarbonization

The EU Sector Integration Strategy, expected in June, has become the top energy policy issue this year, and it will define the role of gas in Europe’s current and future transitions.

In recent weeks, there have been increasing calls for Europe’s gas decarbonization to focus on hydrogen and renewable gases, while saying very little — if anything — about energy-related methane emissions. Yet according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reducing methane is a critical complement to reducing carbon dioxide emissions if we are to reach our greenhouse gas reduction goals and stabilize the climate.

The commission’s plan thus far seems to be taking a cross-sector approach in addressing methane emissions across energy, agriculture and waste. It is sensible, given that human-made methane emissions from oil and gas, agriculture and other sources are responsible for over a quarter of the warming our planet is experiencing now.

Read More »

Also posted in Climate, Europe, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

However you measure it, Permian oil and gas operations have highest emissions ever measured in a U.S. oilfield

Two fundamentally different methods EDF is using to measure and understand methane emissions in the Permian Basin are producing strikingly similar results. The mutually reinforcing sets of data — one gathered using aircraft, the other by satellite — each show that oil and gas operators in the region are releasing more than 3.5% of the natural gas they extract from the ground into the atmosphere as methane pollution.

That’s roughly twice the average rate found in 11 other major U.S. oil and gas basins. The wasted gas in the Permian is enough to supply 2 million American homes for a year.

The first of these efforts is EDF’s year-long PermianMAP, which tracks emissions from the ground and in the air, and takes the unprecedented step of publishing data online in near-real time to help industry and officials reduce those emissions, while letting the public see the results. The other is the first peer-reviewed scientific study to take direct measurement of Permian emissions, using the European Space Agency’s TROPOMI instrument.

Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Climate, Methane regulatons, New Mexico, PermianMAP, Texas / Comments are closed