Energy Exchange

Federal methane rollbacks spark new opposition from 12 major utilities

Backlash continues to grow against the Trump administration’s efforts to deregulate methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The coalition opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s rollbacks now includes major oil and gas companies¹, a midstream gas transmission operator, investors representing over $5.5 trillion in assets under management and 12 of the nation’s largest utilities

These utilities, who use natural gas produced by oil and gas companies for electricity generation and delivery to commercial and residential consumers, have expressed strong opposition to the proposed regulations, recognizing national standards as the “foundation” of industry efforts to reduce methane emissions.

The public comment period, which began on Sept. 24, offers downstream energy providers a key opportunity to publicly add their voice to the broad set of stakeholders supporting federal regulation of methane in the oil and gas sector.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

New bill provides California with a powerful tool to reduce emissions and improve air quality

A new bill (AB 1328) just passed in the California legislature and is awaiting Gov. Newsom’s signature. The bill requires California’s Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, in consultation with the California Air Resources Board, to initiate an independent evaluation of the climate and health pollution impacts from idle, deserted and abandoned wells Just like active production sites, these inactive oil and gas wells can leak pollution, affecting communities through climate change and health impacts.

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

2019 grades are in: OGCI companies get an “incomplete” for climate action

Earlier this week, the head of EDF’s energy program, Mark Brownstein, asked whether the oil and gas industry was serious about climate and proposed that Monday’s annual CEO meeting of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative companies, which includes BP, Exxon, Shell and others, could provide an answer.

I attended the meeting and listened for a real plan to transition to a low carbon economy. Though there were some bright spots, it was clear that however serious the industry is about climate, it’s not serious enough. If OGCI companies, individually and collectively, are going to demonstrate that industry can be part of the climate solution at the necessary pace and scale, 2020 is going to have to be a big year.

On the positive side, there is widespread agreement among OCGI members that substantial changes must be made to the energy system to reduce emissions. There were also encouraging reports about advances in methane monitoring and stated ambition to accelerate carbon removal technology, whether from the energy system or the atmosphere.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

Is the oil and gas industry serious about climate?

Hundreds of diplomats and heads of state will converge on the United Nations this week to discuss urgent actions to prevent catastrophic climate change. Just a few blocks away, CEOs and other top executives of the world’s largest oil and gas companies will host a meeting of their own, where they will also be talking about the climate, aiming to showcase the industry’s efforts to address greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s just a 10-minute walk between the two, but the symbolic journey is more like a thousand miles — and oil and gas producers are still struggling with the first steps. Their New York gathering, part of something called the Oil & Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), could reveal important signs as to how serious they are about picking up the pace.

That challenge is stark: The world’s economy needs to reach net-zero greenhouse emissions by the end of this century if we are to have better-than-even odds of limiting warming to two degrees. Net-zero means not putting more carbon into the atmosphere than we can take out. To hit the global goal, Europe, the U.S. and other advanced economies must get to net-zero by 2050.

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Also posted in Methane / Comments are closed

Strategies for smarter, cleaner buildings in California

California’s buildings are one of the largest remaining emitters of greenhouse gases. Building emissions come from appliances that combust gas, such as water heaters and furnaces, but are also from our refrigerators, air conditioners and other heavy-duty appliances that are either always on or use a lot of electricity.

California has spent decades making our appliances more efficient through robust energy efficiency programs and other projects. But at a recent hearing at the California Energy Commission, lead Commissioner Andrew McAllister suggested a new vision for reducing the greenhouse gas pollution coming from our homes and buildings: What if the electrified devices in our home could talk to the electric grid?

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Also posted in California, Demand Response, Gas to Clean / Comments are closed

Buckle up: Methane monitoring is going mobile

A “better, faster, cheaper” methane leak detection solution used to be an elusive unicorn of the oil and gas industry. Yet, since EDF commenced its methane innovation work in 2014, there has been a mass proliferation of innovative methane detection companies, big and small. With new ideas and new technologies, innovators are challenging old assumptions and pushing the frontier of what is possible.

The Stanford and Environmental Defense Fund Mobile Monitoring Challenge launched in 2018 to independently and rigorously assess a selection of the most promising technologies available today to help oil and gas companies detect, pinpoint and estimate methane leaks from upstream production facilities.

The results of this challenge were published today in the journal Elementa — and the findings offer a glimpse towards a promising new era of higher frequency monitoring. Even as the Trump administration attempts to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency’s common-sense methane regulations, some companies are looking to innovative technology to go above and beyond what is currently required. The results are significant beyond U.S. borders as well. Numerous international oil companies, including the members of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, will require higher frequency, accurate methane monitoring to help achieve their methane reduction commitments.

Here are the three main takeaways from the Mobile Monitoring Challenge study.

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Also posted in Fourth Wave, Methane / Comments are closed