Energy Tomorrow Blog
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 September 22, 2015
Today, API released a new report on investments in greenhouse gas-mitigating measures that illustrates the oil and natural gas industry’s leadership in innovating the technologies and efficiencies to keep improving air quality. We conclude a series of posts on the intersection of energy development and climate/environmental goals (here, here and here) with a look at the new report.
Key numbers from T2 and Associates’ new report on investments in mitigating greenhouse gases (GHG) by industry include $90 billion in zero and low-carbon emitting technologies from 2000 through 2014.
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.
Posted August 24, 2015
Two items from the weekend help sharpen the focus a strategic choice before Americans as they look to the future: Which energy path will we take?
One path leads to increased domestic energy development. It’s typified by safe and responsible oil and natural gas production that harnesses America’s energy wealth to create jobs, grow the economy and make the U.S. more secure in the world.
Another path likely would lead to very little of the above. It’s characterized by unnecessary regulation and self-limiting policies that hinder or block domestic development. America would be less secure, economically and in the world, and our allies, too.
The two paths, two very different futures – for American energy and America.
Posted August 18, 2015
So, the EPA looked at declining methane emissions …
Down 79 percent from hydraulically fractured wells since 2005; down 38 percent from natural gas production overall from 2005 to 2013; and emissions down – while natural gas production soared ...
... and decided new methane regulations were the thing to do anyway.
Posted August 5, 2015
New government stats on falling carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electrical power generation point to a good-news story on energy and climate, one that should grab the attention of policymakers nationally and in the states. This is seen in data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Plotting CO2 emissions from the electric power sector from 1988 to this April, EIA reports emissions hit their lowest point for any month in 27 years. This is largely because of increased use of natural gas in power generation – a market choice that’s based on the availability and affordability of natural gas, as well as the fact it is clean-burning.
Posted July 24, 2015
Some thoughts on EPA’s proposed program to encourage voluntary methane emissions reductions from existing sources. The Methane Challenge Program would expand on the Natural Gas STAR program by recognizing companies that make specific emissions reduction commitments and agree to submit annual data on the progress they’re making.
First, industry supports voluntary. The program could be supportive of what industry already is doing to reduce methane emissions – an effort that is working. EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report issued this spring showed methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells are down 79 percent since 2005 – a period in which natural gas production has soared.
Posted July 8, 2015
Before getting into the latest in a series of research studies on energy-related methane emissions, it’s important to stay focused on the big picture.
Data from EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report published this spring shows that net methane emissions from natural gas production fell 38 percent from 2005 to 2013 – even as natural gas production rose dramatically. Also: Methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells declined 79 percent from 2005 to 2013, EPA found.
That’s the appropriate context for 11 new studies just published in the scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology, reporting research in the Barnett Shale play in North Texas. The studies follow others coordinated by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). One released in 2013 found that methane emissions from natural gas drilling were a fraction of previous estimates. Another released earlier this year found that that vast majority of natural gas facilities – from the production phase to distribution via inter- and intra-state pipeline networks – recorded methane loss rates of below 1 percent.
Posted July 2, 2015
A few months ago API President and CEO Jack Gerard explained why America is experiencing an energy revolution:
“We got to this era of energy abundance and global energy leadership because of the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector, the hard work of the American worker and the unique system of private property and individual rights of the American marketplace.”
Posted April 16, 2015
For months we’ve argued that new federal regulation targeting methane emissions from energy development is unnecessary and could undermine the success industry initiatives already are achieving. Howard Feldman, API’s senior director of regulatory and scientific affairs, from earlier this year:
“Methane is the product we bring to market. We sell methane – that is natural gas. That’s what we want to sell. … We don’t need regulation to tell us to do that because we are incentivized to do that. It’s not a byproduct or something. It is the product we’re selling. … We’re developing these technologies because we want to more and more capture natural gas.”
This is exactly what’s happening, as new data from EPA shows.