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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Methane Regulation and Risking Emissions Progress

natural gas production  epa regulation  methane  emssions 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted May 12, 2016

We’ll say it again: Methane emissions are falling. And they’ll continue doing so because industry wants to capture as much of the primary component of natural gas as possible, for delivery to consumers.

So that’s the context for EPA’s regulatory initiative. Basically, the agency looked at the energy landscape – one of surging production but also declining emissions – and determined the next step should be more regulation. The resulting new rules could hinder America’s shale energy revolution, one that has helped lower U.S. energy-related carbon emissions 12 percent below 2005 levels, allowing the United States to lead the world in reducing carbon emissions.

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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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Reducing Methane Emissions: Industry Is On It

methane  emission reductions  natural gas  hydraulic fracturing  electricity 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 5, 2016

Last week EPA launched a new program it hopes will encourage U.S. oil and natural gas companies to voluntarily focus on reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations. EPA:

The Methane Challenge Program will provide partner companies with a platform to make company-wide commitments to cut emissions from sources within their operations by implementing a suite of best management practices within five years. Transparency is a fundamental part of the program, and partner achievements will be tracked by submitting annual data directly to EPA.

Two points: First, our industry is already on it, deploying technologies, innovation and yes, best management practices, effectively capturing methane from energy operations. And it’s succeeding. EPA data shows that since 2005 methane emissions from field production of natural gas have dropped 38 percent, and emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells have dropped 79 percent – at a time of surging natural gas production.

It’s happening because energy companies are working hard to collect methane, the main component of natural gas, for the market. Indeed, the abundance of domestic natural gas is helping lower consumer energy costs for U.S. consumers – including those in the Northeast, which historically has paid more for electricity than other parts of the country – and increasing average annual household disposable income by $1,200.

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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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Regulators Gonna Regulate – and Regulate

hydraulic fracturing  oil and natural gas production  epa  regulation  methane 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 10, 2016

When EPA announced a push for additional regulation on methane emissions from new oil and natural gas operations late last year, we said it looked like a solution in search of a problem – especially considering the agency’s own data showing that since 2005 methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells had fallen 79 percent.

Regulators gonna regulate. And then regulate some more.

With the Obama administration’s announcement that it wants to regulate methane emissions from existing oil and gas sources – again, where remarkable reductions already are happening – shows EPA and the White House much more concerned about extreme agendas than the needs of American consumers.

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Blizzards – Natural and Regulatory

oil and natural gas production  regulation  emission reductions  investment  methane 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 22, 2016

Timing is everything. With much of the Middle Atlantic braced for “Snowzilla,” the Obama administration announced a new layer of federal regulation that likely will make it more difficult and costly for energy producers to deliver the affordable, reliable, clean-burning natural gas that so many U.S. consumers rely on for winter warmth.

Imagine: Millions of Americans, covered in snow and ice, as the president and his team advance a regulatory blizzard with unnecessary Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rules on methane that ignore emissions reductions already being realized and that threaten to stifle future production – potentially at great cost to consumers, the economy, government revenue streams and U.S. security.

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EPA Should Recognize Market-Driven Climate Progress

natural gas  epa  regulation  co2 emissions  methane emissions  climate 

Jack Gerard

Jack Gerard
Posted January 13, 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pledges to start 2016 “hitting the ground running” to build on a “monumental” 2015. In a blog post last week, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signaled her agency will continue its focus on methane and carbon regulations.

Absent from EPA’s plans was any acknowledgement that methane and carbon emissions are already down. Recognizing progress we’ve already made – and the market factors contributing to that success – is critical to avoiding costly, duplicative regulations that could undermine that progress, as well as economic growth.

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On Climate, Paris Talk and U.S. Action

climate  emissions  ghg emission reduction  natural gas benefits  methane 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 14, 2015

The New York Times reports that weekend exultation over the new global climate agreement was quickly replaced by the realization that talking about emissions goals in Paris could be dwarfed by what it takes to produce actual results:

Before the applause had even settled … world leaders warned that momentum from the historic accord must not be allowed to dissipate. “Today, we celebrate,” said Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s energy commissioner and top climate negotiator. “Tomorrow, we have to act.” With nearly every nation on Earth having now pledged to gradually reduce emissions of the heat-trapping gases … much of the burden for maintaining the momentum shifts back to the countries to figure out, and carry out, the concrete steps needed to deliver on their vows.

 Actually, the figuring out part has been done and real emissions reductions have been realized in the United States – without the heavy hand of government, without one-size-fits-all frameworks, without economy-hamstringing interventions.

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Regulators Gonna Regulate – Methane Edition

natural gas  methane  epa  emission reductions  hydraulic fracturing  shale energy  greenhouse gases 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 4, 2015

Part of the U.S. success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the significant drop in emissions of methane, the primary component in natural gas, from development operations. Since 2005, methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells have plummeted 79 percent – with technology and innovation allowing industry to capture more of a product that can be delivered to consumers. This has occurred even as U.S. natural gas production has steadily climbed, thanks to shale, safe fracking and horizontal drilling.

It’s a shining chapter in a success story that shows how free market forces have taken the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in this country. In turn, the U.S. is leading the world in reducing GHG emissions.

No matter. Despite these advances, EPA is proposing additional methane regulations on oil and gas wells and transmission. Unfortunately, more regulation could mean less – less fracking, less energy and, quite possibly, less progress in reducing emissions.

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America’s Climate and Energy Success Story

oil and natural gas development  energy growth  climate  greenhouse gas emissions  co2  methane  electricity 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 1, 2015

This week’s climate summit in Paris will be filled with talk of ways to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s an important discussion for sure, but it’s one that should focus on achievable, real-world initiatives. A couple of starting points for an action agenda:  

The first is an acknowledgement – that the availability of safe, reliable energy is fundamental to lifting people – and entire nations – from poverty.  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called energy the “the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability.” With the International Energy Agency telling us that more than a billion people around the world don’t have electricity, it would be a mistake for the Paris summit to do anything that impedes or blocks access to energy. The world needs more energy, not less.

The second point a realization by the summiteers that private markets, not command-and-control government interventions, offer the best avenue to advance climate objectives while growing energy supplies – progress without hamstringing economies and hindering individual opportunity.

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