Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted October 8, 2019
Take a look at a recent interview with API President and CEO Mike Sommers conducted by Albuquerque TV station KOB-4 – a conversation about the dual challenge of providing the energy Americans need every day to work, grow and prosper, while protecting the environment and lowering emissions. There’s no better setting for this discussion than in energy-rich New Mexico.
Indeed, the prolific Permian Basin that covers New Mexico’s southeastern corner before spreading into neighboring Texas is a big reason why the United States continues to lead the world in natural gas and oil production.
Posted September 24, 2019
A key factor in EPA’s recent decision not to directly regulate methane is the simple fact that existing regulation of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with natural gas and oil production also reduces methane as a co-benefit.
It might surprise some, but on this point current EPA officials are aligned with their agency predecessors under President Obama.
Posted August 29, 2019
With EPA’s reconsideration of its New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) that address volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with natural gas and oil production, some insist the changes will trash environmental protections.
This “rollback” narrative is false and largely designed to play to the extreme environmentalist crowd. Contrary to that view, modifying the NSPS could reduce duplication with state programs, provide greater clarity for industry in its regulatory compliance and, ultimately, further lower methane and other emissions and protect the environment by making it easier for operators to gain approvals for use of new, innovative technologies to detect fugitive emissions for repair. In fact, this procedural correction is best described as a realignment with the agency’s obligations under the Clean Air Act.
The well-worn “rollback” tale also dismisses the effective role of technology, innovation and industry initiative in reducing emissions – such as The Environmental Partnership. It discounts industry’s strong motivation to reduce emissions, which it has done in growing measure amid increased natural gas and oil production.
Posted August 19, 2019
Even with natural gas playing a leading role in reducing U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to their lowest levels in a generation and strong industry initiative to keep lowering production-related methane emissions, natural gas opponents remain on the attack, including a new study that's critical of natural gas from North American shale (see rebuttals, here and here).
More authoritative and trustworthy is the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which issued these methane-related conclusions in a study published earlier this year …
U.S. natural gas has proven environmental and climate benefits, and it’s critically important here at home and around the world, helping to reduce energy poverty and improve peoples’ lives.
Posted August 8, 2019
Our country needs abundant energy AND climate progress – both of them, continuing to advance together, as they have in the U.S. in recent years. Embracing the dual challenge of making energy abundant and accessible while reducing energy-related emissions is the realistic path to growth and opportunity that can broadly benefit the nation and the lives of individual Americans.
Certainly, our industry is focused on new innovations and technologies that continue to reduce emissions from natural gas and oil production and improve the environmental performance of our operations and facilities. …
The objective is continued progress. High-production areas, including the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico and the Bakken in North Dakota and Montana, need additional pipeline infrastructure to take away natural gas when it accompanies oil production. More infrastructure could reduce the amount of flaring – regulated, limited burning of methane – that takes place.
Posted July 30, 2019
We’re proud of the work of The Environmental Partnership – an industry-led initiative launched in 2017 that is leading the way to further reduce methane emissions from energy operations.
With 65 members to date, The Partnership serves as a model for industry leadership on shared environmental goals and creating pathways for new technologies and techniques – like optical gas imaging cameras, drones and other devices – to drive down emissions, while providing the energy vital to every American family and business.
Posted July 2, 2019
There’s very little that satisfies climate extremists – including practical solutions right at hand.
We live in a world where a huge chunk of the globe’s energy is supplied by burning coal, biofuels and waste. U.S. natural gas – exported as liquefied natural gas (LNG) – is an integral part of the world’s emissions solution, not the enemy some of these folks portray it to be. ...
We can do better than the dark future advocated by opponents of natural gas and oil. And exporting some of America’s abundance is opportunity for others to live better, healthier lives.
Posted May 24, 2019
There’s lots to know and understand from a new NOAA study on U.S. methane emissions from 2006-2015, starting with the study finding that there has been “major overestimation” of industry’s methane emissions trends in some previous studies.
While U.S. natural gas production has increased 46 percent since 2006, scientists found “no significant increase” in total U.S. methane emissions. During this same period, the NOAA study found only a “modest” increase in emissions from natural gas and oil activity. (In the context of surging natural gas production – emissions intensity, or emissions per unit production – industry emissions are even smaller.)
Posted March 18, 2019
The oil and natural gas industry is laser-focused on reducing methane emissions from production for two very important reasons.
First, the risks of climate change are real, requiring real solutions. Our industry takes these risks seriously, and we are driving solutions – evident in our innovation and technical work and in our long working relationship with the EPA.
Second, our members are in the business of providing natural gas, of which methane is the chief component, for clean electricity generation, to heat Americans’ homes and to supply manufacturers and other businesses that have realized billions in cost savings as a result. There’s no question that industry is highly motivated to capture as much methane as possible for progress on climate goals and for its customers. The results speak for themselves.
Posted January 30, 2019
Reducing methane emissions from natural gas and oil development is a primary industry mission – underscored at last summer’s World Gas Conference, where speakers from all over the world talked about increased methane capture and reduced emissions.
The reasons are clear. Fundamentally, our industry is in the business of producing and delivering natural gas, of which methane is the main constituent. Capturing as much methane as possible is smart and efficient from a business standpoint.
Equally important, natural gas and oil companies recognize that reducing methane emissions is responsive to the expectations of society, which wants energy to be produced safely and in a way that’s environmentally responsible. Operators are innovating and deploying technologies to achieve those goals. …
All of these points are important to counter a faulty narrative – that more government regulation is the only way to reduce emissions. This view often faults efforts to craft a regulatory approach that strives for greater efficiency, is achievable and fosters innovation.