Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted March 31, 2020
Despite challenging public health, geopolitical and economic circumstances, the U.S. energy industry remains positioned at the leading edge of technology and innovation. Historically, America’s natural gas and oil companies have overcome unexpected and uncertain events with safe, reliable and resilient operations – and gone on to play an important role in rebuilding the domestic economy and strengthening national security.
And there’s evidence this will happen again. That’s why we’ve said, don’t bet against this industry.Mark Mills, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, wrote recently that today’s industrial digital technologies could help us weather this market downturn and eventually access more of our abundant energy resources.
Posted January 27, 2020
In his Jan. 10 column, the Houston Chronicle’s Chris Tomlinson took some shots at API’s new Energy for Progress campaign, which I addressed in a letter to the Chronicle’s editor. There’s only so much you can say in the 250 words you’re allotted for an LTE, so I thought I’d tackle Tomlison’s criticisms in greater detail here – actually, the kind of back-and-forth we’re trying to spark in our campaign.
For starters, Chris – like some politicians – fell prey to a tired and inaccurate caricature of the industry and dedicated his column to questioning our industry’s intentions instead of dedicating ink to the actual objectives before modern society – addressing the growing challenge of climate change while also making sure Americans have the energy they need.
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 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.
Posted August 29, 2018
Responsibly managing water resources is fundamental to modern natural gas and oil development. The U.S. energy renaissance is being driven by high-tech hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, and those processes use water to produce the natural gas and oil that run our economy and the daily lives of individual Americans.
Though the amount of water used for energy is a fraction of overall water use by society – a Texas report pegged it at less than 1 percent of the state's total water use, industry knows that water is critically important to the welfare of the communities that host natural gas and oil development. Which is why individual companies are focused on cutting-edge technologies, systems and facilities to reuse water in their operations.
Bottom line: Using less freshwater to develop energy is important to communities and the environment – and it’s smart business as well. Examples of these technologies abound.