Natural gas is a major source of electricity in the United States. Roughly one-third of the 33 trillion cubic feet of gas produced each year is used to power our homes and businesses. And it’s the gas delivery and transmission industry that ensures these services are delivered nationwide.
Most of us don’t think about this industry often, or the gas for that matter, unless it’s unavailable when we need it, or it costs more than usual. But it’s important to pay attention. That’s because not all of the gas flowing through our pipelines actually reaches its intended destination – a problem that is further complicated by a poorly defined and complex method for tracking this paid-for but unused gas.
An indicator of gas system efficiency, accounting for lost gas (known by insiders as “lost and unaccounted for gas”, “unaccounted for gas”, LAUF or its many other acronyms) is how distribution companies manage the overall flow and supply of gas through their systems. Essentially, it is a ratemaking tool for calculating the difference between the volume of gas purchased by operators and the volume of gas delivered to customers that includes leakage, venting, theft, meter errors, temperature and pressure changes and other factors. Read More
The United States produces approximately 33 trillion cubic feet of natural gas each year. A majority of this gas is converted to electricity at power plants or used for industrial purposes, but about one third ends up making the journey from the well head, through underground pipelines, and into our homes and businesses. How much of this gas gets lost along the way—whether it’s through leaky equipment or other factors—is important because of the damaging climate impacts of methane pollution. And a new study published this week in Environmental Science and Technology is helping to expand our understanding of methane emissions in urban environments.
The study—a multi-year collaboration led by Washington State University and included researchers from Aerodyne, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, GHD, Purdue and Pennsylvania State universities—used a variety of techniques to measure the rate at which methane is lost to the atmosphere in Indianapolis, Indiana.
It’s unfortunate that a partisan group of Congressional representatives recently tried to turn back the clock on new rules from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management that can protect taxpayers and local communities from the needless waste of our natural gas resources and methane pollution.
It was a disappointing move, considering that a bipartisan group of elected officials came together to defend the BLM’s natural gas waste rule during a budget fight on the House floor in July.
Some members of Congress are really good at expressing their opinions. However, in this case the facts clearly show that efforts to cut waste and protect our air are necessary and warranted.
Fact: Despite some creative data cherry-picking to spin a different story, the data is clear that methane emissions from oil and gas operations have grown significantly in the past decade (up 8% since 2005). Read More
The "Texon Scar"
A massive release of produced water from an oil well in West Texas caused a vegetative dead zone that can be seen from space.
Oil and gas development produces massive amounts of air and water pollution that can have severe impacts on our communities and ecosystems. And data in a recent investigative article could help us understand more about where and how much oil, wastewater, and other fluids are spilled across the country.
According to an EnergyWire article by Pamela King and Mike Soraghan, in 2015 industry reported more than 10,000 cases of spills across the country. That amounts to 42 million gallons of harmful fluids – 12 million gallons more than previously reported.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management should do more to protect taxpayers from unnecessary waste of their natural gas resources. That’s the main takeaway from a new report from the nonpartisan U.S. Government Accountability Office. Its findings again underline the urgent need for BLM to finalize strong new standards to reduce methane waste.
Methane is both the primary component of natural gas and a very potent climate pollutant. In fact, pound for pound, methane is more than 80 times worse for our climate than carbon dioxide in the short term. This means that unnecessary methane waste and pollution like the GAO found in this new report is a double whammy – depriving taxpayers of revenue due to us for the development of our natural gas resources and dangerously accelerating climate change.
The GAO finds that BLM needs more consistent policies in place to better limit methane waste and pollution from the oil and gas production it oversees on hundreds of thousands of acres of federal and tribal lands. It’s a big problem. Read More
Also posted in General, Methane
The climate change discussion is percolating even in surprising places. The latest sign: the American Petroleum Institute’s recent formation of an internal task force on climate change. Reportedly the new task force’s mandate is to revisit API’s approach to this crucial issue, going into an election year and with ever greater scrutiny on fossil fuels.
It is too soon to know whether the task force will rubber stamp a business-as-usual approach defined by glossing over climate concerns and attacking policy measures, or chart a new path instead.
But if the task force is serious about a fresh look at the issue, here are three keys for the task force to consider as it ponders the future of API on climate. Read More
Also posted in Climate, Methane