Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted August 19, 2020
If Democratic policymakers want to ‘build back better’ while also keeping the lights on, they’ll want to support the continued development of America’s vast natural gas and oil resources, which provides reliable, affordable, and cleaner energy.
Democratic leaders like former President Barack Obama – who received a 97% favorability rating in 2018 among self-identified Democrats – and several other keynote speakers at this year’s Democratic National Convention have advocated for U.S. natural gas and oil, with some encouraging its growth to help lower household energy bills, reduce emissions, and create new American jobs.
Posted August 14, 2020
Three reasons EPA’s newly modified rule on methane is good for the environment and U.S. energy – because both are critically important for our nation’s growth and prosperity:
1. Industry will keep reducing emissions while innovating for the future
2. The rule is consistent with the federal Clean Air Act
3. Effective state regulation is recognized
Posted August 13, 2020
The U.S. oil and natural gas industry has long shared the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) goal of reducing emissions from its operations and has consistently and successfully done so while meeting America’s energy needs every day. Specifically, methane is the natural gas we use in our homes and businesses, so operators have a strong incentive to bring it to market.
Methane emissions rates from five of the largest oil and natural gas producing regions across the U.S. – including the Permian and Marcellus basins in Texas, New Mexico, Ohio and Pennsylvania respectively – were down nearly 70% from 2011 to 2018, even as production in those regions increased dramatically. Industry is committed to building on these positive trends through voluntary initiatives like The Environmental Partnership.
Posted August 4, 2020
Let’s follow up on the recent news coming out of The Environmental Partnership – that the group is opening membership to industry’s midstream sector and that participants are discussing the best ways to reduce routine flaring.
Both are big-time developments; both show that the Partnership is doing what it set out to do when it was born in December 2017. Both will help protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – even as our industry produces the energy Americans count on every day.
Adding midstream companies (including pipelines and storage infrastructure) comes as the Partnership reports more than tripling its membership, including 36 of the top 40 U.S. natural gas producers. It’s more than numbers. Each new member company means a new commitment to improve environmental performance in the field. Growth means the Partnership’s program to reduce methane emissions is extending further across the country. And now, here comes the midstream.
Posted July 31, 2020
Former Vice President Joe Biden's camp says he wouldn’t completely ban hydraulic fracturing (see the New York Times and here) – the technology most responsible for a domestic energy revolution that has made the U.S. the world’s leading producer of natural gas and oil. While Biden’s proposal to end new federal fracking leases is misguided, the fact he wouldn’t try to ban it elsewhere may suggest a recognition that fracking is critically important to the U.S. economy and national security.
This could indicate some important common ground, which API President and CEO Mike Sommers addressed in the Times article.This is especially welcome news for the nation’s electricity grid operators. They’re on the front lines of the twin effort to provide affordable energy to American homes and businesses, while lowering carbon dioxide emissions from power generation. For them, clean and reliable natural gas is the cornerstone for succeeding on both fronts, which is why natural gas is the nation’s No. 1 fuel for power generation.
Posted July 15, 2020
The Environmental Partnership continues to grow, broadening the reach of the industry initiative to further reduce emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds across the country.
In releasing its annual report, the Partnership announced it is expanding its membership to midstream companies. The Partnership, which has tripled the number of participating companies since it was launched, currently includes 36 of the top 40 U.S. natural gas producers.
Again, the Partnership’s membership growth means that more and more companies have signed on to the Partnership’s strategy of bringing operators together to learn from each other, collaborate on technologies and best practices and to take actions that improve their environmental performance. More broadly, this growth shows industry’s commitment to lower emissions and protect the environment while also supplying the energy that makes modern life possible.
Posted July 9, 2020
Exporting U.S. natural gas via liquefied natural gas (LNG) has a big advantage over coal in lowering greenhouse gas emissions in electricity generation, according to a new study by ICF, (summarized here).
The analysis certainly quantifies what we’ve discussed before (see here and here) – that using clean natural gas to generate electricity significantly lowers GHG emissions compared to the emissions levels of coal-fired generation – on average, by 50.5%, according to ICF’s research.
GHGs include carbon dioxide from the fuel itself as well as CO2, methane, nitrous oxide and other gases emitted during the construction and operation of related fuel supply chain and power plant infrastructure.
The findings support the view that exported LNG gives the United States, the world’s leading natural gas producer, a golden opportunity to strengthen its global environmental and climate leadership.
Posted June 30, 2020
When the “Green New Deal” first was floated in Washington last year, it struggled to gain much altitude and more or less collapsed of its own weight.
The plan proposed dramatic alterations to America – especially the energy sector. Provisions impacting transportation, housing, communications and modern standards of living weren’t very palatable. Ernest Moniz, President Obama’s energy secretary, suggested the plan wasn’t “politically or economically implementable.” Not surprisingly, House leaders didn’t warm to the proposal, and it didn’t gain traction in Congress.
This week the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has unveiled a new climate package of market-based mechanisms, government mandates, investments and tax incentives – including promotion of carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) and provisions aimed at electric utilities and automakers, who would be told to produce only electric cars by 2035.
While API will review the House proposal according to the API Climate Position and Climate Policy Principles, let’s assert that the forward path on climate must be realistic. This means including natural gas and oil – which will be part of the nation’s energy mix for decades to come – and capitalizing on our industry’s proven ability to help significantly reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Posted May 26, 2020
A deadly pandemic and crushed economies are bad ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Surprisingly, some environmentalists agree with us on that.
We offer these points in the wake of a new study showing a 17% drop in global carbon dioxide emissions in early April – as world economies were being shuttered to slow the spread of COVID-19 – perhaps to head off those who might be tempted to call a crippling pandemic and reversing two decades of economic growth good climate policy.
Not many folks would say such a thing out loud, because that 17% decrease wasn’t free. Not when you consider the horrifying loss of life and financial devastation that has impacted so many: jobs that might not come back, disposable income that can’t be replaced, businesses that are struggling or have gone under, manufacturing idled. And there’s more: surgeries and other health care put off or canceled, rising levels of depression and a palpable grimness across society.
Posted May 11, 2020
With the global economy reeling, affordable natural gas is more important than ever.
U.S. emergence as a major energy producer means the natural gas market has never been more flexible, more reliable or more adaptable to changing conditions – including a global pandemic. Millions benefit daily from the use of natural gas in power generation and home heating, and when the world begins to safely return to normal, U.S. natural gas is positioned to balance our economic recovery with environmental progress.