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The US Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has issued a second Security Directive related to the ongoing cybersecurity threat against pipeline systems that requires owners and operators of TSA-designated critical pipelines to implement several protections against cyber intrusions. The second directive requires owners and operators of critical pipelines that transport hazardous liquids and natural gas to implement specific mitigation measures to protect against ransomware attacks and other known threats to information technology and operational technology systems, develop and implement a cybersecurity contingency and recovery plan, and conduct a cybersecurity architecture design review. "The lives and livelihoods of the American people depend on our collective ability to protect our nation's critical infrastructure from evolving threats," said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas. "Through this Security Directive, DHS can better ensure the pipeline sector takes the steps necessary to safeguard their operations from rising cyberthreats, and better protect our national and economic security. Public/private partnerships are critical to the security of every community across our country, and DHS will continue working closely with our private sector partners to support their operations and increase their cybersecurity resilience."
Petroleum engineering is and will be needed for decades to come to provide the required energy for the world and help alleviate the challenges of climate change. Of course, petroleum engineering will evolve into energy transition as it has been changing since its inception in modern history with the Drake well in 1895, located in Pennsylvania. At the same time, we will continue to use the current practices in our daily operations. Petroleum engineering practices can and will also be used in solving some of the climate change issues. This information is described in detail in SPE 200771 (Kamal 2020).
The Biden administration is poised to issue new cybersecurity regulations for pipelines and liquefied natural gas facilities in the aftermath of the April hack that temporarily paralyzed the nation's biggest liquid fuel conduit. The rules, which could be released as early as this week by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), are the second tranche by the agency since the attack on Colonial Pipeline. It represents a further move away from a system that until now had relied on self-reporting and other voluntary measures. "This Security Directive will apply to those pipeline systems that TSA has designated as critical to our nation's infrastructure and is urgently needed so as to better protect our critical pipeline infrastructure from cybersecurity threats," the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA, said in a statement that added that the directive would apply to liquefied natural gas facilities as well as pipelines. TSA officials were scheduled to brief the industry on the rules on 19 July, according to one person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing nonpublic information. Under the rules put in place in May, pipeline operators who fail to report cybersecurity attacks could be subject to fines and would also require pipeline companies to designate a representative to be available around the clock as a point of contact.
The US produced more oil, petroleum liquids, and natural gas than any other nation last year, according to newly released figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The US managed to lead the world for the seventh year despite seeing a year-over-year decline from a record high output in 2019. The EIA pegged combined oil and gas production in the US in 2020 at 66.9 quadrillion BTUs. This topped Russia and Saudi Arabia's output of 45.5 quadrillion BTUs and 26.5 quadrillion BTUs, respectively. "Petroleum and natural gas production fell in all three countries in 2020 following a rapid decline in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent crude oil price declines, particularly in the first quarter of 2020," the report read.
As with most technology, proper candidate selection is key to success. The economics are often determined by the number of and locations of the wells and by the overall geographical development plan. It is important to recognize that downhole processing is not a substitute for prudent profile control of wells through workovers, gel polymer treatments, cement squeezes, and so on. The following discussion applies to both gas/liquid and water/oil processing, followed by sections that discuss screening criteria specific to each. From an equipment standpoint, gas/liquid separation is much easier than oil/water separation. This generally means that it is a more robust application. All separation and pump equipment has an expected lifetime that is typically much shorter than the lifetime of the well. The cost of replacing or repairing the equipment must be considered as well as the initial capital cost.
Chevron, Shell, and TotalEnergies are supporting a 12-month research project, which is expected to achieve a world-first in demonstrating high-resolution satellite-based monitoring of anthropogenic methane (CH4) emissions at sea. Led by Canadian-based GHGSat, the new research project aims to assess the feasibility of space-based methane monitoring technology to measure emissions from offshore oil and gas platforms. GHGSat is testing a technique developed by NASA, amongst others, and proven in fields such as ocean height and ice-thickness measurement. With a vantage point 500 km above the Earth, and high revisit rates, the company believes satellites could hold the key to verifying emissions from rigs, easily and cost-effectively. The study will monitor 18 offshore sites in locations such as the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico for over 12 months.
Texas Tech University will serve as the administrator for the newly created Texas Produced Water Consortium, a collaborative effort to explore options, alternatives, and potential economic impacts for the billions of gallons of produced water in Texas each year. The consortium will bring together industry, stakeholders, and university expertise to grow understanding, formulate research, and collaborate on options for produced water use and management in Texas. The consortium, introduced to the Texas legislature by state Senator Charles Perry and signed by Governor Greg Abbott in June, will study the economic impact of and technology needed to reuse produced water, including environmental and public health considerations. The move by Texas follows the creation of a similar consortium in New Mexico in 2019, which solicited proposals for produced water recycling research and development projects earlier this year. "As chairman of the Senate Committee on Water, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs, it has been a mission of mine to find new water resources for Texans, and specifically, our rural and agriculture communities," said Perry.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has underestimated methane emissions caused by oil and gas production by as much as 76%, according to research published on 29 June in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. Researchers from The Pennsylvania State University collected data in the mid-Atlantic, mid-South, and central Midwest of the US from 2017 to 2019, tracking the movement of carbon dioxide, methane, and ethane within weather systems. They then studied ethane-to-methane ratios from oil and gas production basins and compared to them an EPA inventory of those emissions. The assessment found emissions at levels between 48 and 76% higher than the EPA's estimates. The researchers said they specifically analyzed ethane because it is only produced alongside certain methane emissions, whereas methane can be produced naturally and by landfills.
Drilling for oil and gas has a long history in the US, dating all the way back to 1859 when the first successful commercial oil well--the Drake Well--was drilled in northwestern Pennsylvania. This long history has made the state ground zero for abandoned wells, which often leak dangerous pollution into the environment and potent greenhouse gases such as methane into the air. It is estimated there may be a few hundred thousand abandoned wells in Pennsylvania--some located in the woods, along riverbanks, in people's yards, and even inside their homes. These wells are left behind--orphaned to the state--after their owners, often oil and gas companies, go bankrupt or when the wells fall into disrepair. Once in state hands, it is the government's responsibility to plug the wells when they break.
The oil and gas business has become as much about bytes as barrels in recent years. Artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT), big data, and the ongoing digitization of the industry have not only made it a more-efficient machine but also a target to unscrupulous sorts looking to con-found, cash in, and move on. As more information comes forward regarding the May 2021 ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, it appears to have been a cash grab with the knock-on effect of physically crippling the company's flow of fuel to East Coast states. The outage was never the goal, but what it if had been? That question, or one similar, was part of what got the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) involved and the subsequent announcement of a Security Directive that will require critical-pipeline owners and operators to report confirmed and potential cybersecurity incidents to the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and to designate a cybersecurity coordinator, to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.