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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Regulatory Push Risks Natural Gas Progress

natural gas  emissions  epa  carbon dioxide  regulation 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted August 3, 2016

Some context for legal challenges to EPA’s final rule for new oil and natural gas sources, filed individually this week by a coalition of states, API and other organizations.

As we’ve noted before, methane emissions from field production of natural gas are falling – mainly because industry wants to capture as much of the primary component of natural gas as possible, to deliver to customers. Industry is on it, deploying technologies and know-how to prevent emissions during production. Bottom line: In a period of soaring production, we’ve had falling methane emissions.

This is happening under the current regulatory regime.

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Energy Progress vs. EPA's Politics

greenhouse gas emissions  methane  carbon dioxide emissions  hydraulic fracturing  oil and natural gas production 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 19, 2016

Some important context before a discussion of a flawed emissions report from EPA, which follows below.

The United States is the world’s No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas – largely thanks to safe and responsible hydraulic fracturing and advanced horizontal drilling. Natural gas production reached a record high level of 79 billion cubic feet per day in 2015, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (chart), while total U.S. energy output increased for the sixth consecutive year.

The increased natural gas production and use is critically important, as it is the key factor in reduced carbon emissions during a period of U.S. economic expansion – a break with historic precedent noted by the New York Times. Indeed, the United States is leading the world in carbon emissions reductions, largely thanks to its energy revolution.

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Natural Gas and the U.S. Model for ‘Decoupling’

natural gas benefits  emission reductions  economic growth  international energy agency  carbon dioxide emissions 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 11, 2016

Two questions posed by the Times: How to explain a departure from the historical linkage between economic growth and increased carbon emissions? And, can the decoupling of economic growth and rising emissions be a model for the rest of the world?

The explanation isn’t all that complicated. We’ve talked about it for a number of months (see here and here). It’s natural gas. The increased use of clean-burning, domestically produced natural gas is the main reason the United States leading the world in reducing carbon emissions during a period of economic growth. 


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Methane Regulations Not Based on Science

methane emissions  oil and natural gas production  hydraulic fracturing  carbon dioxide  regulation 

Jack Gerard

Jack Gerard
Posted March 30, 2016

Methane emissions have dropped significantly. Since 2005, emissions from field production of natural gas have dropped 38 percent, and emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells have plunged 79 percent.

These facts bear repeating in light of the Obama administration’s announcement that it is pursuing yet another set of methane regulations. Not only are the additional regulations duplicative and unnecessary, given industry’s success in reducing emissions under current regulations, but the new rules could actually undermine progress.

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America’s Fracking Energy Progress

hydraulic fracturing  fracking  oil and natural gas production  economic growth  carbon dioxide emissions 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 29, 2016

A quick list of some of the benefits realized by the United States thanks to modern hydraulic fracturing and advanced horizontal drilling:

Surging oil and natural gas production

The United States is the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas, resulting in lower oil imports and an opportunity for the U.S. to compete with other producers in the global market.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, oil production from safely fractured wells totaled more than 4.3 million barrels per day in 2015, about half of all U.S. oil output.

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Protesting Progress

natural gas benefits  emission reductions  carbon dioxide  shale energy  marcellus shale region 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 22, 2016

We’ve read the articles about how affordable natural gas – much of it from the Marcellus Shale in next-door Pennsylvania – has benefitted New York and specifically New York City. So it’s puzzling to hear about a recent effort in New York to block expansion of an Upstate natural gas storage plant in the name of a “climate emergency,” as one activist put it – puzzling because natural gas is doing more to reduce U.S. emissions than any other fuel. The New York Times reports:

“The irony is this,” said Phil West, a spokesman for Spectra Energy, whose pipeline projects, including those in New York State, have come under attack. “The shift to additional natural gas use is a key contributor to helping the U.S. reduce energy-related emissions and improve air quality.”

Unfortunately, this is an example of out-of-the-mainstream activism at work, threatening to roll back important American progress on emissions that has occurred during a period of economic growth and rising domestic energy output. We say this is out of the mainstream because we reckon the real alarm would sound among New Yorkers if access to affordable natural gas got harder for lack of infrastructure – pipelines, pumping stations, storage installations and the like.

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Technology Moves U.S. Energy Ahead

carbon capture  carbon dioxide emissions  technology  innovation  exxonmobil 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 18, 2016

It doesn’t get enough notice: The U.S. energy renaissance is a revolution built on advanced technology and the ongoing quest to problem solve.

One of the best examples is hydraulic fracturing, the most important reason the United States leads the world in oil and natural gas production. Industry innovators took a process used for more than 60 years, modernized it and married it with it with advanced horizontal drilling to safely unleash previously inaccessible oil and natural gas reserves from shale and other tight-rock formations. It transformed America’s energy picture from one of scarcity and dependence to one of abundance and greater self-sufficiency.

The moral: When conventional wisdom says something can’t be done, just wait. Necessity, innovation and technology are marvelous at proving conventional wisdom shortsighted or wrong. On advancing new energy technologies to develop oil and gas more efficiently and in ways that are better for the environment, our industry isn’t standing still.


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Advancing Climate Goals by Leading on Emissions

analysis  climate  emissions  natural gas benefits  carbon dioxide  ozone  methane 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 18, 2015

Below is the second in a series of posts on the intersection of energy development and the pursuit of climate goals. Yesterday, API President CEO weighed in on the administration’s Clean Power Plan and its flawed approach of picking winners and losers in the energy sector. Today – rising natural gas use plays a key role in falling emissions of carbon dioxide – even as levels of methane and ozone decline.

Talk of climate change and climate-related goals is everywhere. We pay special attention when the climate talk turns to energy development – because there’s a great climate story stemming from America’s energy revolution.

Let’s start with emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). The U.S. Energy Information Administration tells us that monthly power sector CO2 emissions in April were the lowest for any month since April 1988. That’s a 27-year low.

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Natural Gas – America’s Leader in Emissions Savings

emission reductions  natural gas benefits  carbon dioxide emissions  methane  electricity  hydraulic fracturing  energy  eia 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted October 23, 2014

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s new report on U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions details the major role in reducing CO2 emissions that’s being played by increased use of clean-burning, affordable natural gas.

While U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions ticked up slightly last year (2.5 percent), mainly because colder weather led to greater heating demand over 2012, EIA says 2013 emissions still were 10 percent lower than they were in 2005. Wider use of natural gas in electricity generation is a key reason.

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Shale Gas Emissions Study: Garbage In, Garbage Out

coal  fracking  greenhouse gas emissions  hydraulic fracturing  hydrofracking  methane  rhetoric vs reality  carbon dioxide emissions  carbon emissions  co2  eid  energy in depth  methane emissions  natural gas pipelines 

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted April 13, 2011

Calling it "an annual rite of spring," Energy In Depth (EID) debunks the latest Cornell "study" on emissions from shale gas development. Although the study got the attention of The New York Times and other major publications, EID points out on its blog that this isn't the first time that Cornell University Professor Robert Howarth has issued studies or abstracts alleging that shale gas production, especially the process of hydraulic fracturing, emits more methane than previously thought. His goal: casting a pall on the environmental benefits of using clean-burning natural gas. 

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