Energy Tomorrow Blog
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.
Posted July 9, 2018
Posted June 13, 2018
Posted May 17, 2018
We hope you’ve seen “Brainpower,” API’s new ad highlighting the smart technologies and data analysis that natural gas and oil use to safely and efficiently bring Americans the energy that empowers their modern lives while also meeting seemingly impossible challenges.
“Brainpower” also is about natural gas and oil deploying technologies and innovating to get cleaner and help the United States reduce its emissions, leading to cleaner air. The women and men of natural gas and oil are focused on this. They want other Americans to know that they care – about lowering emissions and the environment – because they’re members of the community, too. You’ll see it in behind-the-scenes interviews conducted during the “Brainpower” ad shoot.
Posted May 15, 2018
Posted May 4, 2018
The message in “Brainpower,” API’s newest ad, is straightforward: The natural gas and oil industry leverages smart technologies, data analysis and more to safely and efficiently develop the energy Americans use to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
An industry that already was pretty brainy has upped its IQ.
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.