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 September 14, 2015
Safe, responsible energy development in the Gulf of Mexico is vital to the U.S. economy and job growth, as well as U.S. energy and national security. Each of these points likely will come up during a U.S. House Natural Resources Committee hearing on the impact of federal policies on energy production and economic growth in the Gulf, Tuesday in New Orleans.
Posted September 8, 2015
As we can see with Arkansas, the energy impacts of the states individually combine to form energy’s national economic and jobs picture: 9.8 million jobs supported and $1.2 trillion in value added.
Posted September 3, 2015
As we can see with New York, the energy impacts of the states individually combine to form energy's national economic and jobs picture: 9.8 million jobs supported and $1.2 trillion in value added.
Posted September 2, 2015
Our series highlighting the economic and jobs impact of energy in each of the 50 states continues today with Nevada. We started the series with Virginia on June 29 and began this week with a review of Louisiana and Rhode Island. All information covered in this series can be found online here, arranged on an interactive map of the United States. State-specific information across the country will be populated on this map as the series continues.
As we can see with Nevada, the energy impacts of the states individually combine to form energy’s national economic and jobs picture: 9.8 million jobs supported and $1.2 trillion in value added.
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 May 28, 2015
If implemented, the stricter ozone standards could be the costliest regulation ever, potentially reducing U.S. GDP by $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040, according to a study by NERA Economic Consulting for the National Association of Manufacturers. The U.S. could see 2.9 million fewer jobs or job equivalents per year on average through 2040.
Yeah, that’s big.
Certainly, for those kinds of impacts Americans would expect them to be justified. But EPA’s proposal is starkly lacking in terms of the science and public health.
Posted May 27, 2015
With national ozone levels falling, some activists argue for stricter federal standards the best way they can – by pointing to the relatively few areas in the United States where ozone levels remain above the current standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb).
Yet, think about that. If an urban area like Los Angeles or Houston currently is out of attainment with the standard set at 75 ppb, how will lowering the national standard to 65 or 60 ppb – which EPA is considering – make a difference in those and other non-compliant areas? Good question.
The fact remains that the current standards are working. EPA data shows ozone levels declined 18 percent between 2008 and 2013.