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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Energy Infrastructure and Safety

pipelines  pipeline safety  infrastructure  safety standards  keystone xl 

Mark Green

Mark Green
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.

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Continuing the Offshore Safety Discussion

offshore safety  oil and natural gas production  bsee  regulation  safe operations 

Mark Green

Mark Green
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. 

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Industry’s Falling Methane Emissions

safe operations  safety standards  methane  hydraulic fracturing  epa  air quality 

Mark Green

Mark Green
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.  

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Dialogue is Key to Getting Offshore Well Control Rule Right

analysis  gulf of mexico  center for offshore safety  offshore safety  offshore operations  industry standards  bop  bsee  job growth 

Mark Green

Mark Green
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.

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E15 + Your Motorcycle = ‘Chopper Clunker’

analysis  e15  ethanol  renewable fuel standard  rfs34  engine safety  american petroleum institute 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 16, 2015

Motorcycles aren’t designed to use higher ethanol-blend fuels like E15, and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) warns that using E15 in a motorcycle can void its warranty. There’s serious concern about inadvertent misfueling, as well as the possibility that the push for more E15 in the fuel supply could out E0 (gasoline containing zero ethanol).

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E15: Don’t Get Lost in the Tall Grass

analysis  e15  ethanol  renewable fuel standard  rfs34  engine safety  american petroleum institute 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted July 15, 2015

While the potential negative impacts of E15 fuel on machines that weren’t designed to use it – from vehicles to outboard marine engines and weed-eaters – isn’t funny, some humor can help illustrate important points in that key public policy debate.

API has three new cartoons that take a light-hearted look at the potential harm from using E15 – containing up to 50 percent more ethanol than E10 gasoline that’s standard across the country – in outdoor equipment, boat motors and motorcycles. Today, outdoor power equipment.

Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), has warned against using E15 in lawnmowers and other outdoor gear because they can cause permanent damage.

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Systematizing Pipeline Safety

analysis  pipeline safety  standards  american petroleum institute  crude oil  petroleum products 

Mark Green

Mark Green
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.”

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Informing Voters on Energy

news  vote4energy  economic benefits  oil and natural gas development  american petroleum institute  fracking  offshore safety  renewable fuel standard 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted June 24, 2015

Houston Chronicle The oil industry’s leading trade group on Tuesday kicked off its 2016 political campaigning, with plans to air issue advertising and hold events in battleground states.

The American Petroleum Institute launched its “Vote 4 Energy” with a pledge to stay above the partisan fray while ensuring that energy policy is part of the political discussion leading up to the November 2016 elections.

The group released a Wood Mackenzie study that it said illustrated the stark choice facing voters, by modeling how two different regulatory approaches to oil and gas would affect domestic production of those fossil fuels and economic activity related to them.

Under a relatively hands-off scenario with “pro-development” policies, the United States would gain 2.3 million U.S. jobs and $443 billion in economic activity by 2035, according to the API-commissioned analysis. Oil and natural gas production, meanwhile, would jump by 8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, the study predicted.

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New Study, Continuing Problems with E15

analysis  e15 study  renewable fuel standard  consumers  e85  epa  renewable fuels association  ethanol  infrastructure  engine safety 

Bob Greco

Bob Greco
Posted June 2, 2015

With EPA last week proposing ethanol-use requirements for 2014, 2015 and 2016 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the ethanol industry no doubt will keep lobbying to foist increasing amounts of higher-ethanol blend fuels like E15 and E85 on the motoring public. This, despite studies that have shown E15 can harm engines and fuel systems in vehicles that weren’t designed to use it – potentially voiding manufacturers’ warranties – and historically small consumer demand for E85.

A subset of the argument for increased use of higher-ethanol blend fuels is the dismissing of concern that E15 also could damage existing service station infrastructure, including storage tanks, fuel lines and dispensers. Though service station owners and operators indicate otherwise, ethanol supporters say that a new National Renewable Energy Laborary (NREL) report – commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), a big ethanol advocate – found that E15 is compatible with existing equipment. It’s simply not true, and the report has some challenges. Let’s look at a few.

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Safety and Accountability in Offshore Development

center for offshore safety  offshore development  cera  safety standards  gulf of mexico  oil spill  bp  macondo well 

Mark Green

Mark Green
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.

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