Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted February 5, 2016
Our industry’s continuing commitment to safety is underscored in a new federal advisory bulletin on underground natural gas storage facilities that urges field operators to implement industry best practices developed by API and other organizations. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA):
Operators must adhere to applicable State regulations for the permitting, drilling, completion, and operation of storage wells. In developing, implementing, and updating their safety and integrity programs, we encourage underground gas storage facility operators to … voluntarily implement American Petroleum Institute (API) Recommended Practices (RP) … and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) standards entitled “Natural Gas Storage in Salt Caverns – A Guide for State Regulators” (IOGCC Guide), as applicable. … API has an accredited process to develop recommended practices and standards that involves industry, manufacturers, engineering firms, construction contractors, the public, academia, and government.
API worked with other trade associations and PHMSA to develop two recommended practices (RPs) last year – one focused on safe practices for designing, storing and operating natural gas in depleted oil and gas reservoirs, and another detailing how to safely design, store and operate natural gas in salt caverns. Both RPs discuss proper construction methods, materials and maintenance practices to ensure safe operations.
Posted January 8, 2016
The United States is overdue for a fact-based conversation about energy infrastructure. The needs are great. IHS estimates that needed energy infrastructure through the middle of the next decade could spur $1.15 trillion in private capital investment and support more than 1 million jobs. But there are roadblocks.
The long fight over the Keystone XL pipeline has anti-progress, anti-fossil fuel advocates targeting other needed projects. During his State of American Energy 2016 remarks this week, API President and CEO Jack Gerard warned that ideological opposition to infrastructure will hurt the United States:
“The demonization of the Keystone XL pipeline remains a powerful cautionary tale of the dangers of energy policy driven by ideology rather than economic reality and has a chilling effect on expansion efforts for our nation’s energy infrastructure. That’s not just bad national energy policy. It is also bad news for our nation’s economy.”
Thus the need for a rational conversation about the country’s infrastructure needs that’s based on fact. Such as: America’s more than 199,000 miles of liquid pipelines deliver about 16 billion barrels of crude oil and petroleum products a year, with a safety rate of 99.999 percent. And another: Industry keeps working toward a goal of zero incidents by continually improving safety in the infrastructure sector.
Posted October 12, 2015
Methane emissions from oil and natural gas systems continue falling. EPA, in an update to its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, says that methane emissions decreased from 77 million metric tons CO2 equivalent 2013 to 73 million metric tons CO2e last year. This continues a significant downward trend over the past few years.
The significance is this: Further reductions in methane emissions argue strongly against EPA’s position that additional regulation is needed. And, indeed, the agency is working on new layers of methane regulation.
Let’s think this one through. Methane emissions are falling under current the current regulatory regime, yet EPA and its supporters say that further reductions won’t happen without more regulation. (If you feel like you’ve heard this argument before it’s because you have – see here and here on EPA’s ozone proposals.) But here’s what we know: Methane emissions associated with oil and natural gas systems are falling – at a time when natural gas production is dramatically increasing.
Posted July 8, 2015
A barrel of crude oil or petroleum product shipped by pipeline is safely delivered to its destination more than 99.999 percent of the time, but the industry’s objective remains: zero releases, zero incidents.
Toward that goal, API has just released a new standard to guide operators in the development of a systems approach to safety management – helping them to continuously evaluate their efforts and constantly improve safety. API Midstream Director Robin Rorick:
“Pipelines are safe and efficient, but we are always looking for new ways to make them better, which is why industry is embracing this new standard. It’s also a great example of what can be done when industry, regulators and all key stakeholders work together to achieve a common objective, which is to protect the public, the environment and provide the fuels Americans need.”
Posted April 22, 2015
Just a few minutes after BP Group Chief Executive Robert Dudley addressed a CERAWeek luncheon crowd on post-Macondo efforts that have seen the company spend more than $44 billion on Gulf response and cleanup, I talked with Center for Offshore Safety Executive Director Charlie Williams about the center’s work to increase the safety culture in offshore energy development. Williams, who was named to his position in March 2012, talked about systems approaches to safety and what the center has learned about offshore safety in its first annual performance report, issued earlier this month. Highlights of the conversation below.
Posted April 8, 2015
NOLA.com: Five years after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil and gas industry can respond and contain well blowouts offshore faster than ever before, said Don Armijo, CEO of the Marine Well Containment Co. But he said work remains to make sure containment equipment keeps pace with industry's push to drill in deeper waters.
Armijo, who spoke Tuesday (April 7) at a business lunch at The Roosevelt Hotel in downtown New Orleans, said Marine Well Containment Co. has the equipment to respond to oil gushers in up to 10,000 feet of water. The industry will outgrow that equipment, he said.
"We know there has been drilling proposed in areas much deeper than 10,000 feet of water," Armijo said. "That's the big thing. How do we actually get the technology put together so we can be deeper? These are the kind of things that are on our minds all the time."
Posted January 22, 2015
Small business owner Laura Ross in Washington, Pa., has a stake in safe energy development and environmental stewardship.
In the new television ad below, Ross talks about how her café and other businesses in town have seen an economic boost because of nearby energy development. But she’s also mindful of the environment, because her business carries items produced by local farms. The fact that hydraulic fracturing has been done safely for more than 65 years is reassuring to her and her patrons.
Posted September 3, 2014
Following up on last week’s rebuttal of a truth-challenged attack on hydraulic fracturing in a USA Today op-ed, in which we detail how federal and state regulation, combined with industry standards are protecting the environment, water supplies and communities.
The op-ed by the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Amy Mall opens by posing a false choice for Americans: economic and energy security from development using fracking or safety. It continues:
… a controversial new extraction technology known as "fracking" — combined with unprecedented exemptions for the industry from bedrock federal environmental and public health laws — has fueled a recent explosion in domestic oil and gas development. And safeguards have not kept pace.
Fracking isn’t new. Earlier this year the U.S. marked the 65th anniversary of the first commercial use of hydraulic fracturing. Fracking pre-dates McDonald’s, diet soft drinks, credit cards and more – even Barbie. It’s a fact, and saying otherwise is dishonest.
Posted May 16, 2014
Industry’s commitment to enhancing the safety to offshore energy development in the four years since the Macondo incident was reflected in a half-day program on prevention and response sponsored by the Center for Offshore Safety(COS) at last week’s Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston.
The COS hosted two panel discussions – one focused on developing effective safety systems, and a second that centered on the actions, processes and leadership needed to build strong safety cultures.
Posted February 26, 2014
Check out a video interview in which Karen Moreau, executive director of the New York State Petroleum Council, talks about how advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling launched the ongoing U.S. energy revolution by accessing oil and natural gas held in shale and other tight-rock formations.