Energy Exchange

What the heck is an environmental group doing at the World Gas Conference?

The simple answer is this. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) approaches challenges pragmatically. If we want to rid the planet of harmful climate pollution, our efforts must include working with the industries that can make the biggest difference.

That means I spend a lot of my time working with leaders from the oil and gas industry. While we don’t always agree, we forge solutions wherever we can.

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Also posted in Methane / Comments are closed

As Permian drilling booms, will the Texas Railroad Commission stand against wasted gas?

This piece originally appeared as an op-ed in the Midland Reporter-Telegram

The West Texas Permian oilfield is poised for rapid development in the next decade; the Energy Information Administration projects oil production in the Permian could grow 60 percent by the year 2030. But oil wells in Texas’ Permian Basin don’t just pump oil, they also produce large amounts of natural gas – which many companies aren’t equipped to handle.

That is posing a problem for Texas, as producers run out of capacity to move associated gas to market. Without reasonable action from the state’s oil and gas regulator, the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC), producers could resort to simply burning away excess gas – something we’ve seen in other oil fields where gas is not the primary production target.

This process, also known as flaring, is a recipe for widespread waste and pollution.

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Also posted in Methane, Texas / Comments are closed

Huge new Utah oil and gas project could have serious impacts on air quality

A proposal under review at the Bureau of Land Management to bring thousands more oil and gas wells to a region of Utah already struggling with unhealthy air could cause more pollution and more waste.

The Greater Chapita Wells Project Area is slated to bring nearly 3,000 new wells to the state’s Uintah basin – an area the Environmental Protection Agency recently designated as having harmful levels of ozone.

Ozone, commonly known as smog, can trigger asthma attacks and other health concerns. Recent research suggests emissions from oil and gas facilities are the leading cause of the region’s ozone pollution problem.

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Also posted in Air Quality, BLM Methane / Comments are closed

In Permian, company leadership and state standards are critical for reducing oil and gas methane emissions

By Jon Goldstein and Colin Leyden 

This May, ExxonMobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil and gas company, announced targets to limit methane waste from its global operations. We’ve also seen commitments to cut methane from a range of leading companies like BP and others.

But as more companies step forward with methane targets, it begs the question: Is voluntary action from companies enough to move the needle on methane? A look at what could become the world’s largest oil field points to the answer being a solid no. Read More »

Also posted in Climate, Methane, New Mexico, Texas / Comments are closed

New Mexico oil and gas rules put water resources, communities at risk. Here’s how they can be improved.

By Jon Goldstein and Dan Mueller

Water is New Mexico’s most precious and limited resource, but new rules proposed by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission (NMOCC) fall short in efforts to better protect it.

In the face of increasing temperatures and shrinking water supplies, the state needs to be doing more – not less – to safeguard its future health and prosperity. That means strengthening the rules that protect land and water resources from the negative impacts of oil and gas operations. Read More »

Also posted in New Mexico, produced water, produced water, Water / Comments are closed

Chevron shareholders made methane a key priority at annual general meeting

Yesterday morning at Chevron’s annual general meeting, a shareholder resolution calling on the company to improve its methane management and disclosure received a 45% vote. This strong vote follows a majority vote at Range Resources, where 50.3% of voting shareholders supported a similar methane disclosure resolution (up from just 20% in 2013). Oil and gas industry shareholders are sending a powerful message– methane is a material risk that companies must manage to compete in a capital- and climate-constrained world.

Such resolutions are effective at driving change, even for non-majority votes like the 38% of shareholders at Kinder Morgan who supported a methane resolution. For example, last year ExxonMobil’s methane resolution received a 39% vote, and the company responded with a new methane emissions production program, which now includes a quantitative methane reduction target.

Investors will be waiting to see if these companies follow ExxonMobil’s example, as well as deliver results once these programs are implemented. With investors tilting their portfolios towards companies who proactively manage climate risk, they will be closely watching how these companies respond to the clear market demand for improved methane management and disclosure.

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Also posted in Methane / Comments are closed