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Selected tag(s): global methane

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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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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Oil & gas CEOs up their methane pledge: Here’s what to watch for as promises turn to action

This post was co-authored by Drew Nelson

The CEOs of ten leading oil and gas companies today announced intentions to move toward “near-zero” methane emissions, pledging to set a quantitative reduction target by this time next year. At first blush, it might sound like a modest step – a promise to make a promise. In fact, the CEOs announcement constitutes an important and welcome recognition that oil and gas methane emissions impact the climate, are too high, and must be reduced. The new pledge comes just days after the International Energy Agency previewed its analysis showing that methane is a “critical issue for the long term natural gas outlook” and steep emission reductions are possible with today’s technology, and enormously cost effective.

From Social Issue to Business Issue

The 10 companies, which together are responsible for 20 percent of global production, joined forces three years ago to form the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative. Last year, they invested $1 billion to accelerate commercial deployment of low carbon energy technologies. The new pledge is the next important step on the road to decarbonizing their operations, with methane playing a central role. Read More »

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Investor sees methane management as self-help for oil and gas companies

Q&A with Tim Goodman, Hermes Investment Management

When burned, natural gas produces half the carbon as coal, so it is often touted as a “bridge” fuel to a cleaner energy future. But the carbon advantage of natural gas may be lost if too much of it escapes across its value chain.

Natural gas is mostly methane, which, unburned, is a highly potent greenhouse gas accounting for roughly a quarter of today’s global warming. Worldwide, oil and gas companies leak and vent an estimated $30 billion of methane each year into the atmosphere.

EDF’s Sean Wright sat down with Tim Goodman, Director of Engagement at London-based Hermes Investment Management. Goodman, who views methane management as practical self-help for the industry to pursue, engages with oil and gas companies on strategies to manage their methane emissions. This is the first of a two-part conversation with Hermes, a global investment firm, whose stewardship service Hermes EOS, advises $330.4 billion in assets.  Read More »

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Shell becomes latest oil and gas company to test smart methane sensors

This week, the oil and gas giant Shell took a positive step toward addressing methane emissions. The company announced a new technology trial at a wellsite in Alberta, Canada, where it is piloting a specially designed laser to continuously monitor emissions of methane, a powerful pollutant known to leak from oil and gas equipment.

The move by Shell is a glimpse into the future and demonstrates growing market interest in smart, sensor-based methane detection technology. Shell’s project joins a similar field test already underway in Texas, operated by the Norwegian producer Statoil, and a California utility pilot run by Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Each of these deployments is promising, but the ultimate test will be broad-scale adoption of innovations that generate actual methane reductions. Read More »

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