Energy Exchange

New York utility regulator approves a first-of-its-kind certified gas pilot program. Now what?

Con Edison East River Generation Station

The New York Public Service Commission recently approved a certified natural gas pilot program proposed by Con Edison, the gas and electric utility for much of New York City. Under the pilot, Con Edison may pay a premium for limited amounts of natural gas that is purportedly certified as having lower methane emissions than the gas Con Ed typically purchases to serve its customers. Methane, the principal component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Research shows that a rapid, full-scale effort to reduce methane emissions — including from the oil and gas industry — could slow the current rate of warming by as much as 30%.

There are several reasons to be skeptical about whether this scheme delivers real environmental benefits and if it is worth the premium price Con Ed will pay, and ultimately pass along to customers. This pilot program should make good progress in answering these questions.

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Posted in Methane regulatons / Authors: / Comments are closed

New bipartisan legislation would give U.S. orphan well management efforts a huge boost

Senator John Hickenlooper (D-CO) meets with oil industry and environmental group leaders at kick-off event for orphan well remediation program in Adams County, CO

By Adam Peltz and Meg Coleman

Across the country, a million or more orphaned oil and gas wells threaten the climate, public health, groundwater and surface waters and hamper local economic development. Help is on the way thanks to a major federal effort to invest $4.7 billion in closing orphan wells under the Revive Economic Growth and Reclaim Orphaned Wells Act as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, but the scale of the problem is vast.

In order to get a handle on these orphaned wells, New Mexico Sen. Ben Ray Luján , Democrat,  and North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer, Republican,  worked together to secure well closure funding in BIL. Now, they have reintroduced the Abandoned Well Remediation Research and Development Act and a bipartisan group in the House led by Pennsylvania Rep. Summer Lee, Democrat,  and republican Oklahoma Rep. Stephanie Bice  have introduced a companion bill. This important, bipartisan legislation would invest more than $150 million over the next five years to help find an estimated 800,000 undocumented orphan wells, reuse those we can for beneficial purposes and ultimately close all of the rest more effectively and affordably. While partisan politics seem to divide the Capitol these days, it is exciting to see leaders on both sides of the aisle come together to address orphan wells.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Methane / Tagged | Authors: / Comments are closed

New rules could mean less waste, less pollution and more jobs for Louisiana

By Adam Peltz and Elizabeth Lieberknecht 

Recently, Louisiana, under the leadership of Gov. John Bel Edwards, became the latest state taking action to curb pollution and waste from oil and gas production. In a new proposal, the state says it will limit natural gas venting and flaring and attempt to reduce the risk of thousands of idle wells becoming orphaned. Both actions will help create jobs, protect taxpayers and safeguard the environment. Here’s how.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Flaring, Methane / Authors: / Comments are closed

Colorado’s methane pollution verification rule is a game-changer: here are three reasons why

By Nini Gu

On Thursday, July 20th we saw a major shift in how methane emissions from oil and gas sources can be regulated, and to no one’s surprise it came from the nation’s leading state on this issue: Colorado.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Colorado / Authors: / Comments are closed

Analysis: Cutting oil and gas methane is one of Canada’s most affordable climate solutions

By Ari Pottens and Maureen Lackner

New research confirms that cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector is one of the fastest and most affordable steps Canada can take to help address the climate crisis. According to the report by Dunsky Energy + Climate Advisors, Canada’s upstream oil and gas companies can eliminate 75% of their methane emissions at an average cost of about $11 per tonne. 

Marginal Cost & Potential of Methane Abatement Measures at Gas Sites

This is one of the biggest bargains that exists when it comes to climate solutions. For example, were oil and gas companies subject to Canada’s entire carbon price, they would need to pay $65 per tonne of carbon pollution they create. By 2030, this figure will rise to $170 per tonne. Meanwhile, technologies that can directly capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are estimated to cost between $125 and $335 USD per tonne, an astronomical figure compared to methane abatement.  Read More »

Also posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Without action, unreported methane pollution from Saskatchewan could threaten Canada’s climate goals and create more fallout from climate change

Burning trees in a forest

By Ari Pottens and Scott Seymour

It’s no secret that the rampant, out-of-control wildfires which are devastating parts of Canada and creating toxic air quality conditions for millions of people, are exacerbated by climate change. This makes it all the more crucial to rapidly reduce the greenhouse gases behind the climate crisis.

In 2020, Canada’s federal government implemented new regulations to stem the methane emitted from the oil and gas industry — the leading source of methane in the country. The  protections were intended to help cut emissions by 40% – 45% by 2025. Subsequently, the federal government significantly increased its methane ambition and set a 75% reduction goal by 2030.

But a new study is revealing some problems with the way Saskatchewan is managing emissions from a very specific type of oil production known as Cold Heavy Oil Production with Sand. It just so happens that a lot of gas, most of which is methane,  also comes out during this process. Read More »

Also posted in Air Quality, Climate, Methane / Tagged | Authors: / Comments are closed