Energy Exchange

Selected tag(s): global methane

Satellites become valuable new tool for governments, industry to cut emissions

For years, people used satellites to observe the Earth’s climate. Now, orbital sensing offers a crucial new way to protect it, by giving us new abilities to identify, measure, and ultimately verify cuts in emissions of methane – a highly potent greenhouse gas.

Two new pieces of research led by EDF scientists demonstrate the growing potential of space-based monitoring tools, and offer a preview of things to come when EDF launches its own dedicated methane satellite in 2021.

Offshore Flaring in Mexico

First is a paper published this week in Geophysical Research Letters, explaining how researchers used space-based readings to calculate the enormous volume of natural gas being burned off (or “flared”) by oil and gas platforms in the Southern Gulf of Mexico. From 2005 and 2017, data from NASA’s Aura satellite show that operators flared as much as 710 billion cubic feet of gas per year.

Read More »

Posted in Methane, Texas / Tagged | Language: / Comments are closed

Canada adopts historic methane rules. Alberta may undercut them.

Last night, Canada finalized new national regulations on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, its largest methane polluter. The rules are among the most comprehensive in the world, putting Canada on a clear path toward its 40 to 45 percent methane reduction goal, and delivering on a critical element of the Canadian climate plan.

By finalizing regulations on methane, Canada continues its international climate leadership and is implementing policies to help achieve its Paris commitment. Further, this action places Canada as another example of the momentum building to reduce oil and gas methane emissions – one of the cheapest and most impactful things we can do now to slow the rate of warming. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Also tagged | Language: / Comments are closed

New research shows Canada’s methane emissions problem is even worse, but it’s not hopeless

This post was co-authored by Dr. Daniel Zavala-Araiza.

New direct emissions data from oil and gas fields in Alberta should be a warning to regulators in Ottawa and Edmonton as they each prepare their methane regulations. A new study concluded that oil and gas methane emissions are 15 times higher than industry reports for 60 production sites measured in Red Deer. The discrepancy highlights the importance of strong federal and provincial regulations to address a problem science is continually showing to be much worse than industry claims it is. Strong regulations will show the world that Canadian gas can compete with lower-carbon gas supplies.

The research, published today in Elementa, uncovered that methane emissions from the oil and gas industry in Red Deer, Alberta are larger than companies estimate and that methane “super emitters,” a phenomenon we found in the U.S. oil and gas industry, may be just as much of a problem in Canada. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Also tagged , | Language: / Comments are closed

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 »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Tagged | Language: / Comments are closed

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 »

Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas / Also tagged | Language: / Comments are closed

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 »

Posted in General, Methane, Natural Gas / Tagged | Language: / Comments are closed