Selected category: Natural Gas

Growing opportunity for China/US collaboration on reducing oil & gas methane emissions

By Zhang Jianyu, China Managing Director, and Mark Brownstein, Vice President, Climate & Energy

Every November, the International Energy Agency publishes its annual World Energy Outlook – a comprehensive assessment of the economic, technological and geopolitical trends shaping world energy markets. That makes it essential reading for anyone interested in preserving the Earth’s climate. This year’s edition offers especially valuable insight into U.S. and China energy trends.

There is little doubt cleaner energy will play a huge role in China’s ongoing development. It is equally certain that China’s energy choices will have enormous effect on energy systems worldwide. The U.S., meanwhile, is becoming a dominant oil and gas producer, and vying for expanded export markets. As the world’s two largest energy users (and greenhouse emitters), both have a climate challenge to solve.

The issue is increasingly important as the two countries’ energy ties grow. Following President Trump’s November China visit, for example, preliminary steps were announced on several multi-billion-dollar initiatives, including the China Energy Investment Corporation plans for a shale gas and chemical project in West Virginia, and an agreement between Cheniere Energy and China National Petroleum Corp for a long-term LNG sales and purchase cooperation. Read More »

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A rare opportunity to improve the health of Mexico’s environment and economy

This post originally appeared in Spanish on El Universal.

Not often is a pollutant referred to as an environmental and economic opportunity. But that’s exactly what methane is for countries looking for cost-effective climate solutions and a way to prepare for the 21st century energy economy. And it’s especially important for Mexico right now, as changes in energy laws have opened the doors to a slew of new exploration projects that could reshape Mexico’s oil and gas industry and boost economic growth through 2025.

Methane is the main ingredient of natural gas. When burned, natural gas emits less carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels. But when it escapes unburned, as it does across the global oil and gas industry, methane is 80 per cent more powerful a heat-trapper than carbon dioxide in the short term. Methane also contributes to local air pollution, including smog, and the health impacts that come with it. It’s not just countries that are aware of this. A growing number of investors and energy companies are responding to the reputational threat of uncontrolled methane emissions.

Released last week, the International Energy Agency’s latest World Energy Outlook articulates the methane challenge very powerfully. Its analysis shows that with current technologies the oil and gas industry can drastically reduce methane emissions by 75 percent worldwide – and that up to two thirds of those reductions can be realized at zero net cost. What’s more, the IEA says that just the cost-effective reductions would have the same climate impact in 2100 as immediately closing all the coal plants in China.  Read More »

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Exxon joins counterparts in new call for increased global methane action, including regulations

By Ben Ratner and Drew Nelson

In spite of the anti-environmental furor of the Trump administration, 2017 has been a year of encouraging commitments by a growing number of global oil and gas industry leaders – including American oil giant Exxon Mobil – that understand methane emissions is a key business challenge. Methane is a fast-acting climate pollutant and unchecked emissions from the oil and gas sector undermine the credibility of natural gas in the transition to a lower carbon future.

The latest milestone is a commitment by BP, Exxon, Shell and other global energy companies to a set of principles to significantly reduce the amount of methane emitted across the natural gas supply chain. Environmental Defense Fund helped develop the foundational principles alongside the eight companies and other members including the International Energy Agency, UN Environment, the Rocky Mountain Institute and Indian non-profit group TERI.

Similar, yet distinct from other industry commitments made in connection with the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative or the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (see here and here), all of these initiatives are evidence that forward-thinkers understand the stakes and see the long-term business value in addressing methane emissions. Read More »

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Methane waste: New Mexico’s multi-million dollar opportunity to increase funding and cut pollution

A new analysis is taking a closer looking at the scope of New Mexico’s methane problem and the financial impact it's having on the state’s taxpayers.

We have known for some time that New Mexico had a problem with methane waste and pollution from the state’s oil and gas industry. A 2015 report from business consulting firm ICF International found that more methane gas was wasted from oil and gas production on federal and tribal lands in New Mexico than any other state. And the infamous hot spot of methane pollution over the state’s San Juan Basin is the highest concentration of this pollution found anywhere in the U.S. But a new report is providing the first-ever comprehensive, statewide view of methane emissions and waste from New Mexico’s oil and gas industry.

This new analysis, which is based on industry-reported inventory data and an extensive review of recent scientific research, estimates that the excessive leaking, venting and flaring of natural gas has resulted in New Mexico’s oil and gas industry emitting 570,000 tons of methane each year. Read More »

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Methane management is risk management

By Kate Gaumond, Analyst, EDF+Business 

When I worked on the trading floor at Goldman Sachs, one of the major services we provided our corporate clients was risk management. Sitting on the commodity desk, we bought and sold financial products that allowed the world’s biggest consumers and producers to manage their exposure to the often fluctuating price of natural resources like aluminum, crude oil, and natural gas. Companies take action to manage this price risk in order to provide long-term stability for the company and its investors.

Now as a member of the EDF+Business team, I focus on a different kind of risk: climate risk. And just like financial risk, it needs to be managed for the long-term benefit of all stakeholders involved.

Methane Risk is Climate Risk

Investors are catching on, recognizing that information about climate risk is vital to maintaining robust portfolios of well-managed companies. And for investors to be serious on climate, they have to be serious not just on carbon dioxide, but on methane as well. Read More »

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Whether you love or hate natural gas, stopping methane emissions now is crucial

The International Energy Agency’s new 2017 World Energy Outlook contains the agency’s strongest language yet about the urgent need to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, and the huge opportunities that exist to do so.

Some have taken issue with IEA projections on the overall role of natural gas, suggesting they are beyond what is environmentally sustainable. Others think IEA is underestimating growth potential. Whatever you believe the trajectory for gas is — or should be — the benefits of reducing methane emissions are both enormous and irrefutable.

The good news: IEA estimates the industry can reduce their worldwide emissions by 75 percent – and that up to two thirds of those reductions can be realized at zero net cost. “These emissions are not the only anthropogenic emissions of methane,” says the report, “but they are likely to be among the cheapest to abate." Read More »

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