Energy Exchange

Differentiated gas: Nothing but hot air without these five criteria

By Dan Grossman and Maureen Lackner

Getting a comprehensive and accurate picture of the extent of methane emissions from the oil and gas industry is hard.

Our scientists have spent much of the last decade detailing deficiencies and inaccuracies in the way companies — and even regulators — estimate emissions, which result in dangerous understatements of the methane problem.

And that is precisely why efforts by oil and gas companies and their consultants to differentiate some natural gas as “responsibly sourced” or “low emission” is problematic.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Language: / Comments are closed

The New York Utility Commission institutes a climate planning framework

The New York Public Service Commission is taking decisive action to orient the state’s utilities towards a clean energy future, consistent with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. In two new orders, the commission established a collaborative long-term planning process for gas utilities, put in place a framework for greenhouse gas emissions reporting for all New York utilities and directed a statewide study to assess the impacts of transitioning away from the use of natural gas.

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Also posted in New York / Language: / Comments are closed

The truth about Russia’s war: Our addiction to oil gives Putin power

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is alarming and wrong — recognized by governments across the political spectrum as a dangerous assault on peace and stability.

How sad, then, that some columnists here in the United States are using it as an opportunity to spin up a partisan attack on the Biden administration’s energy policy.

Instead of recognizing the reality that the world’s addiction to fossil fuels empowers Putin, these columnists are making the bizarre claim that more clean energy is somehow to blame for Russian aggression.

But facts are stubborn things. The truth is, U.S. oil production is near record levels — which did nothing to stop Putin. For better or worse, the Biden administration has issued new permits for drilling on federal lands at a faster clip than the notoriously pro-oil Trump administration.

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New Rystad cost analysis makes case for EPA to end routine flaring in final methane rule

By Jon Goldstein and Grace Weatherall

Reducing the amount of methane emitted from oil and gas infrastructure is among the cheapest and simplest solutions we have to reduce global warming quickly while protecting public health. The Environmental Protection Agency is in the midst of developing rules to curb these emissions from oil and gas producers across the country.

A new analysis commissioned by EDF and conducted by Rystad Energy makes it clear that eliminating routine flaring — a major source of rogue emissions — should be part of EPA’s methane rulemaking.

Though there are valid safety reasons for some minimal flaring, most of it occurs via routine flaring — when oil producers simply don’t have a place to put the natural gas that emerges from the ground during oil production and simply burn it off. More than $1 billion of natural gas is wasted at flares every year, driving unnecessary and harmful climate and local air pollution — including methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas — when natural gas is not fully burned.

Rystad’s report includes two key findings that should inform EPA’s rulemaking.

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

Round one of EPA methane comment period draws record engagement; Here’s how companies and investors can step up in round two

The public comment period for the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed oil and gas methane rules generated more than 400,000 individual submissions, including many from energy and financial companies that support Biden administration efforts to reduce emissions of this powerful greenhouse gas.

However, our analysis of comments from energy and investment companies shows a troubling divide between those that support strong rules and others trying actively to weaken them before they even take effect. When EPA’s next comment period opens this spring, it will be critical for supporters to weigh in on the overall goal, as well as on specific provisions — including elimination of routine flaring, transitioning away from polluting pneumatic equipment, and ensuring comprehensive leak detection, including at smaller wells.

A broad collection of investors representing trillions of dollars in capital has urged oil and gas companies to demonstrate genuine effort to reduce their emissions. Yet despite increasing numbers of targets from industry in recent years, U.S. methane emissions remain sky high — suggesting voluntary efforts will not be enough to meet this challenge.

If responsible operators already taking action do not take advantage of this unique policy opportunity, the worst actors will continue to bring down the reputation of the industry as a whole for years to come.

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Also posted in Methane, Methane regulatons / Language: / Comments are closed

To tackle natural gas waste on federal and tribal lands, the Biden administration must end routine venting and flaring

By Jon Goldstein and Ben Tettlebaum

With responsibility over one-eighth of the nation’s landmass, the Bureau of Land Management has a lot of important jobs. Chief among them is ensuring federal and tribal lands — and the minerals beneath them — are wisely and responsibly managed on behalf of the public, including U.S. taxpayers and tribal citizens.

But avoidable venting and flaring of natural gas from these lands emit harmful pollutants that have significant public health impacts, especially on communities living near oil and gas fields. What’s more, this damaging practice severely exacerbates the climate crisis and, estimates show, wastes $400 million worth of gas every year.

That’s why a broad coalition of 65 environmental, conservation, tribal, business, faith and agricultural groups called on BLM in a letter late last month to follow the lead of states like Alaska, Colorado and New Mexico and ban routine venting and flaring of natural gas.

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Also posted in BLM Methane, Methane, Methane regulatons, New Mexico, Wyoming / Language: / Comments are closed