Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted September 17, 2019
With industry keenly focused on conserving water in production zones across the country, a draft federal water reuse plan unveiled this summer by EPA has the potential to foster innovations and investments that can accelerate sound management practices.
In official comments on the plan, API and a number of other energy associations encouraged the agency to consider ways to “provide maximum flexibility, certainty, and clarity” to existing regulatory structures while removing federal barriers within the federal government’s control that discourage and disincentivize the reuse, recycling, and fit-for-treatment uses of water.
At issue is water produced in association with well development that must be captured and accounted for in ways that protect the environment – including treating it for reuse in energy operations or disposal in federally regulated disposal wells.
Posted August 16, 2019
Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks made history last month by completing the first true beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight under the small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) rule. The team flew a long-range hybrid-electric unmanned aircraft nearly four miles along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) UAS Integration Pilot Program – and in partnership with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.
Posted July 22, 2019
Natural gas and oil play a role in virtually all aspects of modern life, powering the products and processes that get us from point A to point B, and serving as building blocks for the materials, products and tools that keep us happier, healthier and more connected than ever before.
Posted May 10, 2019
A big shout-out to The Environmental Partnership, which in just over a year has more than doubled in size and whose members account for a sizeable portion of U.S. natural gas production. No less significant is what the Partnership is doing to achieve environmental and climate progress.
Indeed, a key to the progress the Partnership has made is its model of substantive, almost unprecedented information sharing and collaboration on technologies and techniques to reduce methane emissions. It’s a model that could be applied to meet other challenges in the future. …
While some opponents of natural gas and oil dismiss the idea that a voluntary, industry-led partnership can lead to important environmental results, the collaborative dynamic that was on display at a recent Partnership workshop in Oklahoma City argues otherwise.
Posted May 7, 2019
Four students from The Village School in Houston are winners of the Offshore Technology Conference’s high school competition, the OTC Energy Challenge, which focuses students on working on real-world issues.
They represent the next generation of women and men who no doubt will be at the forefront of meeting future challenges associated with the production and use of energy.
Posted April 30, 2019
Soon the federal government is expected to release its updated offshore well control rule, one that improves on its 2016 predecessor by providing flexibility to meet specific challenges across a variety of offshore conditions while encouraging innovation and technologies that help improve safety.
We expect that opponents of natural gas and oil development anywhere to attack the updated rule when it’s released. Yet, fact and logic will weigh heavily against them.
Posted March 29, 2019
The U.S. energy revolution remains a feat to behold. Benefits to the economy, consumers and manufacturing and a boost to America’s stature in the world and our national security. API President and CEO Mike Sommers touched on a number of these points during a conversation at the National Review Institute’s 2019 Ideas Summit. …
Abundant natural gas and oil reserves, technology and innovation created this revolution and, with the right policies, the U.S. can sustain and grow its energy leadership. “For our future energy needs,” Sommers said, “that’s how we’re going to supply the world.”
Posted March 7, 2019
In this post last week we explained how alternative measures, approved by federal officials, may be used to comply with the 2016 well control rule, as well as all regulatory requirements associated with offshore oil and natural gas development. …
Now the federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is chiming in – not surprising, since the agency’s integrity was besmirched. In a letter to members of Congress this week, Lars Herbst, BSEE’s Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf regional director, called the regulatory provision for alternative procedures or equipment “long-standing,” having been granted by the previous administration as well as the current one. Herbst writes that “zero” waivers have been granted by BSEE regarding the well control rule.
Posted February 28, 2019
Months before the federal offshore well control rule went into effect in July 2016, API told Congress the safety regulation could actually increase risks associated with offshore oil and natural gas development – that its rigid requirements could stifle innovation and thwart the effectiveness of new operational technologies.
The 2016 rule is an example of “prescriptive” regulation, a one-size-fits-all approach that requires certain processes, procedures and tests. It was and is the wrong approach for offshore safety – mainly because every oil and natural gas well has different characteristics: geology, depth, water pressure and temperature and other variables that factor into developing the best safety plan for a particular well.
In that context offshore operators seek government-approved alternative compliance paths – which they’ve done since the rule’s launch in 2016, when the Obama administration was in charge of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the overseer of offshore safety. Indeed, the requests show the rule needs fixing.
Posted November 6, 2018
The natural gas and oil industry’s use of drones to inspect facilities and operations is getting a boost from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Shell’s partner Avitas Systems received an FAA waiver to fly drones for civil use beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) with the assistance of a radar in Loving County, Texas (USA). Typically, drones operated beyond line of sight require a spotter. It’s the first waiver of its kind from the FAA, and it could significantly increase the reach of aerial monitoring to inspect facilities and operations in expansive and often remote areas.