Energy Tomorrow Blog
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.
Posted November 14, 2018
The good news is that EPA’s proposed amendments to the 2016 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) OOOOa rule will continue the rule’s ability to effectively reduce volatile organic compound and methane emissions from all emission sources addressed in the previous administration’s rule. Methane is the primary component of natural gas – a key product for industry. Producers are incentivized to bring that product to consumers, making its capture a top priority from a business standpoint, in addition to the environmental considerations. Unfortunately, the proposed rule includes several missed opportunities, and could ultimately stifle innovative new technologies in emissions detection and increase the cost of energy for Americans.
Posted September 26, 2018
It’s Clean Energy Week, which API is proud to sponsor. Thus, a new commitment by an oil and natural gas industry group – the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) – to reduce methane emissions is well-timed indeed. Three big points from OGCI’s announcement and Clean Energy Week: 1) Clean natural gas is integral to climate progress; 2) Industry is leading in reducing greenhouse gas emissions; 3) Climate action isn't exclusive to government regulation or special-interest agendas.
Posted July 9, 2018
There’s good and not-so-good in a recent Washington Post editorial on natural gas and climate policy, which rightly nails the importance of natural gas to the U.S. economy and the environment, yet wrongly suggests more layers of government regulation are needed to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Posted June 28, 2018
When one speaker at the World Gas Conference talked about methane emissions from natural gas as the “elephant in the room” that industry isn’t talking about – I didn’t know what they were talking about! Everywhere at WGC2018, people are talking about reducing methane emissions.
That’s because natural gas and oil companies have been reducing emissions and are focused on continuing that progress in the future. No one is more focused on capturing methane – the key component in natural gas – than companies that sell natural gas.
Posted June 21, 2018
Let’s make three quick points following release of a new methane emissions report from the Environmental Defense Fund: The paper's findings are consistent with falling emissions; technology, knowledge and industry collaboration are continuing the progress already made in cutting emissions; and a sound, accurate base of information is needed to help build an understanding of where and how more improvements in reducing emissions can be made in the future.
Posted April 12, 2018
The Environmental Defense Fund’s plan to send up a satellite in two or three years to monitor methane emissions on earth from space generated headlines (some of the coverage here and here) and at some point can add to the knowledge base useful in advancing emissions goals. While EDF prepares for orbit, on terra firma our industry continues to use state-of-the-science technologies to reduce methane emissions from natural gas systems. With success: Emissions decreased 16.3 percent between 1990 and 2015, even as production increased nearly 52 percent.
This is a terrific, ongoing story that sometimes can get lost in the daily back and forth over who’s doing what on climate: Industry reducing emissions while also producing a natural gas abundance that benefits consumers, manufacturers and the environment, taking a lead role in reducing carbon dioxide levels to 25-year lows.
Posted December 28, 2017
America’s energy abundance makes our country stronger, more prosperous and secure in the world. Safely harnessing this energy requires technology, innovation, access to reserves and smart policy. When these come together, we all benefit.