Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted September 13, 2018
Let’s push back against a narrative springing up around EPA’s proposed improvements to the 2016 standards on emissions from new natural gas and oil production sources – which the agency says will streamline implementation, reduce duplication with state requirements and decrease unnecessary burdens on domestic energy producers.
First, while API reviews EPA’s proposal, it’s important to note that it appears the rule will continue to protect public health and reduce emissions through standards that are smarter, science-based and that promote greater cost-effectiveness – while industry keeps on delivering the energy Americans use every day.
The narrative is based on a mythology that natural gas and oil companies don’t care about emissions and won’t develop new technologies and innovations to capture more and more emissions unless Washington makes them do it. False and false.
Posted September 11, 2018
To mark National Drive Electric Week, as well as discussions of electric vehicles (EVs) likely at this week’s Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, let’s underscore some important perspective on EVs contained in this recent piece by Axios.
Amy Harder’s column compares the carbon dioxide emissions saved by each Tesla EV to the CO2 savings of other sources of energy, including natural gas. Noting Tesla’s July announcement that it had passed the 200,000 mark for vehicles sold in the U.S., Harder – assisted by think tank Third Way – wrote that a nuclear reactor replacing coal equals the CO2 savings of 541,353 Teslas. Natural gas replacing one coal plant equals the CO2 savings of 98,940 Teslas, and so on.
Harder’s piece isn’t a knock against Tesla, just one EV manufacturer, or EVs in general. Rather, it suggests that a national discussion of EVs should be fact-based, and that we might need to tap the brakes a bit on EV technology’s emissions impacts.
Posted September 7, 2018
With the Trump administration considering a move that would push more E15 fuel into the nation's gasoline supply, API has a new ad warning that consumers could bear the risks of additional volumes of the higher-ethanol blend.
The ad touches on points we’ve made for years about the infusion of E15 (see here, here and here), spurred by the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The administration is thinking about facilitating the sale of E15 year-round. Currently, the Clean Air Act requires that E15 meet gasoline volatility requirements in the summertime. Key points in the ad: E15 can damage the engines and fuel systems of vehicles that weren’t designed to use it; nearly three out of four vehicles on the road today weren’t made to use E15; and automobile manufacturers have said using E15 could void car warranties.
Posted September 7, 2018
Cybersecurity continues to be a major focus of the natural gas and oil industry, which recognizes that the need to protect the country’s energy infrastructure is vital for our economy and security. According to federal officials, cyberattacks are increasing across many industries, which has the attention of corporate executives in our industry and reinforces their ongoing efforts to keep our nation’s pipelines and other natural gas and oil facilities safe.Even so, because natural gas is the leading fuel for generating electricity, there have been calls for congressional hearings to discuss threats to the U.S. natural gas pipeline network. It’s a conversation our industry welcomes.
Posted September 4, 2018
About this time a year ago, Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast were reeling from Hurricane Harvey, a monster storm that came ashore twice in less than a week, causing death and an estimated $125 billion in damage while inundating some parts of Texas with more than 60 inches of rain – a record for a U.S. weather event.
The natural gas and oil industry prepared for the storm to help minimize risk to critical energy infrastructure, including refineries and pipelines, and then was able to respond to the hurricane’s impacts, which helped limit supply disruptions and aided the recovery.
Our industry’s experiences last year help guide readiness this year. With Tropical Storm Gordon landing on the Gulf Coast and hurricane/storm activity in general picking up, safety tops the list of readiness goals.
Posted August 30, 2018
A map shows just how much damage could be done to the United States’ fifth-leading natural gas and seventh-largest oil producing state by Colorado’s Initiative 97 – the anti-energy, anti-progress measure that state officials said will be on the November election ballot. Coloradoans and all Americans should be very concerned.
Zeroing in on the state’s top five producing counties (outlined in blue) – Weld in the north on the border with Wyoming, Rio Blanco and Garfield on the western border with Utah, and La Plata and Las Animas on the southern border with New Mexico – the map shows that opportunity for new natural gas and oil development on non-federal land would be all but prohibited.This is an alarming prospect for all Americans, because we’re talking about putting the brakes on one of the country’s leading and fastest-growing energy producers.
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 August 28, 2018
API’s Kyle Isakower is featured in a CNBC report that estimates new steel tariffs are adding $40 million to Permian Basin pipeline costs. At issue is Plains All-American’s $1.1 billion pipeline project that would bring crude oil from the Permian to the Gulf Coast. As detailed in this post, Plains requested an exclusion from the tariff for its project, but it was denied by the Commerce Department. …
Far from being part of an “energy dominance” strategy, the administration’s tariffs on steel – including an onerous, opaque exclusions process – and other recent trade-related policies could hinder domestic natural gas and oil development, as well as infrastructure such as pipelines that is needed to fully benefit U.S. consumers.
Posted August 21, 2018
With EPA unveiling its proposed new rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, there’s already lots of discussion of whether the proposal is an improvement over the rule it would replace – whether a regime may focus on the utility sector as a system or needs to focus on individual sources.
Be that as it may, we’ll go back to the main point we made amid discussion of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which EPA’s new proposal would replace:
Thanks to clean natural gas and its selection by the market as the leading fuel for electricity generation, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector have plunged – without the CPP’s implementation. According to EPA's fact sheet, CO2 emissions from the power sector decreased 28 percent from 2005 through 2017.
Posted August 21, 2018
EPA’s recent decision not to revisit 2015 ozone standards suggests a couple of points as the agency looks ahead to its scheduled 2020 review of the ozone air quality standards.
First, it’s imperative that EPA build its 2020 review around quality science – for one, to properly consider background levels of ozone and how they affect where the federal government sets the standards. For some parts of the country the 2015 standards were near levels of background ozone – setting up compliance problems for places such as Yellowstone National Park.
Second, on the road to the 2020 review, there should be discussion of implementation relief – from EPA or directly by Congress legislatively.