Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted September 28, 2016
Safe offshore energy development is a by-product of advanced technologies and equipment, an ever-expanding knowledge base, improved worker training, an effective partnership of industry and regulatory authorities, constantly improving standards for deepwater exploration and production and, over it all, an industry committed to creating and growing a culture of safety in offshore operations.
Posted August 25, 2016
Posted July 15, 2016
When approximately 4,700 delegates and alternates gather in Cleveland next week for the Republican National Convention, energy will play a major role – powering the Quicken Loans Arena, transporting delegates and support staff to and from “The Q,” running television broadcast equipment, cooking food, supporting high-tech communications and much more.
Think about energy’s role this way: Without modern energy supplied by oil and natural gas, the event would bear a strong resemblance to the GOP’s 1860 convention, when Abraham Lincoln was nominated at the Wigwam in Chicago.
Posted July 12, 2016
The sound approach to energy regulation in the U.S. – one that provides appropriate oversight to oil and natural gas development without unnecessarily impeding progress – continues to be a major theme at the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) annual conference in Washington.
Tesoro President and CEO Gregory J. Goff raised the point with his Day 1 keynote speech, calling for transparency, fairness and accountability in federal regulation:
“Consumers, companies and the economy all benefit when government policies are well-reasoned and balanced. America is blessed with an abundance of affordable, reliable energy. It must not be squandered. Allowing the forces of the free market to operate will continue to benefit society. Government should be a facilitating partner in this positive economic force, not a roadblock to it.”
Posted July 7, 2016
We frequently post on the potential risk to U.S. energy production and the benefits the American energy revolution is generating for the economy and individual households from the administration’s regulatory push and government red tape (see here, here and here). There might not be a better current example of the potential regulatory impact on U.S. energy than new rules for natural gas transmission and gathering lines proposed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).
Consider: According to a study by ICF International, measuring the impact of PHMSA’s proposals, for 2,200 small pipeline companies across the country the annual cost of complying with the new regulations would come close to what the companies earn from gathering line fees. That’s impact – impact on small businesses and impact on energy development associated with the work those companies do.
Posted April 1, 2016
April 1 marks the beginning of national Safe Digging Month and the annual campaign reminding U.S. homeowners and professionals with digging projects to make the free 811 call to help avoid damaging underground utilities, including power and natural gas lines.
It’s critically important. According to the Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the United States has more than 20 million miles of underground utilities which, if accidentally damaged by digging, can have significant negative outcomes – virtually all of them avoidable if an 811 call is made before the digging begins.
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 December 2, 2015
A couple of important takeaways from this week’s Capitol Hill hearing on a proposed federal well control rule for offshore drilling:
First, offshore drilling is safer today than it has ever been – for the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and Pacific regions. In coordination with federal regulators, industry has improved the safety of offshore development – in terms of safety systems management, prevention and response – while advancing the nation’s energy security through continued offshore oil and natural gas production.
This is seen in the approximately 275 API exploration and production standards that include offshore operations, more than 100 of which have been incorporated into federal regulation.
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.