Energy Exchange

Big step back: Changes in new EPA Greenhouse Gas Inventory mask methane emissions

For years, experts have urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to improve the way it estimates methane emissions from the oil and gas sector to reflect major advances in the peer-reviewed scientific understanding of how much methane is escaping from each link in the industry’s complex supply chain. Bringing agency methods into line with this science would yeild better, more accurate accounting, and it would almost certainly show that actual emissions are much higher than previously indicated.

Instead, EPA has gone in the exact opposite direction, making a million metric tons of methane pollution disappear from the books with the stroke of a methodological pen.

The EPA’s latest inventory released this month, incorporated data from a new study for the gathering segment, but this study uses “bottom-up” measurements that scientists say are likely to systematically underestimate emissions rather than incorporate “top-down” approaches that rely on atmospheric science, and which extensive research has shown to be far more accurate.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane, Natural Gas, PermianMAP / Language: / Comments are closed

Satellites and state regulators: New data spotlights extreme emissions and need for action in nation’s largest oilfield

By Jon Goldstein and Colin Leyden

This week a study drawing on nearly a year’s worth of satellite data revealed that Permian methane emissions are the highest ever measured from a U.S. oil and gas basin.

As the federal government continues its rollback of methane safeguards, public attention is now trained on policymakers and companies in Texas and New Mexico — two leading oil producing states that straddle the Permian Basin.

While New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham forges ahead on nation-leading rules to curb oil and gas methane waste and pollution, state leaders in Texas have yet to get serious about a problem that could undermine the industry’s viability in an economy that increasingly prioritizes cleaner sources of energy.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas, New Mexico, PermianMAP, Texas / Language: / Comments are closed

Now more than ever, it’s time for strong EU standards on methane emissions

As European Union leaders begin the transition from COVID-19 rescue to economic recovery, the need to build back better is taking center stage. Already, national governments representing over 65% of the EU’s population have insisted that leaders stick with the European Green Deal. Their resolve underscores the importance of leadership, resilience and science-based decision making in the face of the gravest health emergency of our time.

These national governments know that the EGD will help usher in a thriving, sustainable European economy that creates good jobs for working people. And they understand the tragic lesson of the COVID-19 crisis: that all nations must heed scientific warnings about public health and security. The scientific community’s clarion call on climate change, and the role of methane pollution in driving near-term warning, should be at the top of the agenda.

For the oil and gas industry, this means that a key component of the post-COVID recovery is the establishment of stringent standards to certify very low methane emissions for all gas used in the EU. Without such standards, the case for “cleaner-burning” natural gas evaporates; over the first 20 years, methane is 80 times more potent than CO2 in driving planetary warming. That’s why the European Commission’s forthcoming methane proposal presents a window that energy companies must take — and an ESG opportunity that investors cannot afford to ignore.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Europe, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Language: / Comments are closed

New York is developing a gas planning framework, an important step to achieve its climate goals

By Erin Murphy

As New York implements a sweeping new climate law and moves toward decarbonization of its energy systems, state regulators are beginning to develop a framework to ensure the natural gas system is part of the transition.

EDF has long advocated that the New York Public Service Commission harmonize its natural gas policies with the state’s ambitious climate goals because natural gas distribution and combustion is a significant contributor to the state’s greenhouse gas footprint. Last month, the commission took a major step forward by initiating such a proceeding to develop a long-term planning framework for gas utilities.

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Groundbreaking data is a wake-up call in the Permian, call to action for New Mexico

Last year, EDF announced a first-of-its-kind project to measure and map emissions from the Permian Basin — the nation’s most productive oilfield and the primary source of New Mexico’s methane problem.

Although the Permian Basin has led the world in oil and gas production, public data on its emissions has been near nonexistent. PermianMAP is changing that, and we’ve launched the project’s first tranche of data to help regulators, companies and the public understand and address the region’s methane challenge.

The scale of emissions PermianMAP uncovered is sobering, but this publicly available data will prove critical as New Mexico advances nation-leading rules under Gov. Lujan Grisham to cut methane pollution and achieve the state’s climate and clean air goals.

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Also posted in Methane, Natural Gas, New Mexico, PermianMAP / Language: / Comments are closed

Amid an oil and gas boom, New Mexico legislators need to refill regulators’ tanks

As lawmakers convene in Santa Fe for the current legislative session, they face a state transformed by an oil and gas boom. Expanded oil and gas drilling has made New Mexico the No. 3 oil producer in the nation and is transforming large swaths of the state’s landscape.

However, while oil and gas production has skyrocketed over the past decade, years of funding cuts under former Gov. Susana Martinez have left New Mexico’s energy and environmental agencies unable to guarantee oil and gas operations take place safely and responsibly.

The state’s leaders can chart a new course this year by ensuring these agencies have the resources they need to keep pace with industry’s growth and protect the health, air and water of New Mexicans across the state. This will mean going above and beyond the budget proposed for these agencies by Gov. Lujan Grisham in order to get vital regulators back on their feet.

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