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Pioneer Natural Resources announced this week new greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions-reduction targets across its Permian Basin operations. The plan, rolled out in the company’s new sustainability report, calls for a 25% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 and a 40% reduction in methane emissions by 2030. The Irving, Texas-based shale producer has also committed to flaring less than 1% of its associated gas and aims to eliminate routine flaring by 2030, and possibly as soon as 2025. By 2022, the new flaring limit will apply to the assets Pioneer is acquiring through its purchase of Parsley Energy. Pioneer announced it was buying the smaller Permian player in a deal valued at $4.5 billion in October.
Despite having many of the technologies enabled by advanced connectivity already at its disposal, the oil and gas sector has yet to realize much of connectivity’s potential—and the potential is significant. According to McKinsey's estimates, making use of advanced connectivity to optimize drilling and production throughput and improve maintenance and field operations could add up to $250 billion of value to the industry’s upstream operations by 2030. Of that value, between $160 billion and $180 billion could be realized with existing infrastructure, while an additional $70 billion could be unlocked with low-Earth orbit satellites and next-generation 5G technologies. McKinsey’s work with the oil and gas sector suggests offshore operators can reduce costs, including operational and capital expenditures, by 20 to 25% per barrel by relying on connectivity to deploy digital tools and analytics. Such a dramatic technological lift can’t come soon enough.
More than 60 oil and gas companies committed on 23 November to a new framework to report methane emissions as the United Nations reported that atmospheric levels of the greenhouse gas reached a record high. As a part of the voluntary framework, companies will share their own methane reduction targets with OGMP, an initiative managed by the UN Environment Programme. The plan revamps an existing OGMP framework and calls on companies to outline how they will realize their objectives to cut methane emissions. The 62 companies that have joined OGMP represent an estimated 30% of global oil and gas production, according to the partnership. The group said it seeks to deliver a 45% reduction in the oil and gas industry’s methane emissions by 2025.
In this 27 November 2007 file photo, a rough-legged hawk feeds on a rodent in a field near Great Falls, Montana. Down to its final weeks, the Trump administration is working to push through dozens of environmental rollbacks that could weaken century-old protections for migratory birds, expand Arctic drilling, and hamstring future regulation of public health threats. Down to its final weeks, the Trump administration is working to push through dozens of environmental rollbacks that could weaken century-old protections for migratory birds, expand Arctic drilling, and hamstring future regulation of public health threats. The pending changes, which benefit oil and gas and other industries, deepen the challenges for President-elect Joe Biden, who made restoring and advancing protections for the environment, climate, and public health a core piece of his campaign. The proposed changes cap 4 years of unprecedented environmental deregulation by President Donald Trump, whose administration has worked to fundamentally change how federal agencies apply and enforce the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and other protections.
Natural gas flaring from a Williams Energy facility can be seen from Garfield County Road 215 in Colorado on 14 August 2020. Flaring, the practice of burning off gas from oil and gas wells, will be limited to a handful of state-approved circumstances under the most comprehensive rules in the nation, adopted by Colorado regulators. When oil comes out of a well, it is mixed with natural gas, mainly methane. Operators who do not have a way to separate and use or ship the gas through pipelines burn, or flare, it off. Alaska is the only other state with a flaring rule limiting the practice to emergencies on producing wells and requiring that the gas be either used or reinjected into the wells.
Canada’s methane emissions from the oil and gas sector in Alberta and Saskatchewan are almost twice as high as had been previously reported, according to a new study by federal government scientists. The study, published online in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, says the scientists measured methane in the atmosphere at four spots in the western provinces from 2010 to 2017. That’s almost double the sector’s annual average of 1.6 megatonnes as reported by the government’s yearly tally of national greenhouse gas emissions, the study says. Because methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, this difference equates to an extra 35 megatonnes of carbon dioxide pollution each year, the study says, using the same conversion ratio as the government. The study was done by scientists in the same department that releases this annual emissions “inventory.”
Halliburton announced today that it has entered a program designed for companies to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions (GHG). The oilfield services company said it has submitted a letter of intent with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI), the first step to developing a full-fledged emissions-reduction plan under the initiative. Halliburton plans to establish its first emissions targets next year with the SBTI. The SBTI is then expected to independently validate the targets by 2022. The SBTI was formed in 2015 and includes more than 1,000 corporate members.
NextTier Oilfield Solutions announced today that it has recently started field testing electric fracturing pump technology developed by National Oilwell Varco (NOV). The two Houston-based energy companies are looking to the electric-based systems, also known as e-fleets, to improve efficiency and lower emissions at unconventional wellsites in the US. NextTier is currently using prototypes in the field and, if the pilot proves out, then the pressure pumper may end up purchasing the first e-fleet manufactured by NOV, the announcement said. NextTier added that its pending adoption of e-fleets would complement its dual-fuel fracturing fleets that can run on either diesel fuel or cleaner-burning natural gas. Like other commercial e-fleets, NOV’s system relies on gas turbines to generate power that is then used to drive the high-horsepower pumps.
The paper presents a risk management tool that assesses the impact that potential future carbon taxes will have on a company's hydrocarbon Reserves base and associated cashflows. Based on a number of case studies, this paper will present a practical application of the open-source engineering-based model called Oil Production Greenhouse Gas Emissions Estimator (OPGEE), developed by Stanford University. The paper will demonstrate the application of the OPGEE model in the assessment of a range of carbon taxes, how they may vary the economic limit of a field's Reserves, and how this may influence a company's future field development decisions. This tool becomes useful in the risk management of the portfolio planning and capital allocation process where carbon tax risk can be objectively assessed and tested. If utilised correctly, the model can help to future-proof a company's hydrocarbon assets in an increasingly carbon constrained world. Asset owners or potential asset acquirers can assess the materiality of potential carbon tax impositions on assets and can prepare and adjust portfolios accordingly on an informed basis.
In 2012, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released the ‘Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas’ - a set of best practice guidelines for unconventional gas development designed to address key environmental and social risks and gain public acceptance of the industry. This study sought primarily to understand the extent to which the experience of developing a large-scale coal seam gas (CSG) to liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in Queensland, Australia was seen to have aligned with the Golden Rules, and how well the Golden Rules were seen to contribute to public acceptance of the industry.
An evaluation tool was developed where the seven Golden Rules and their subclauses were adopted as criteria in a scorecard approach. We conducted interviews with 32 senior people who had been directly involved in the development of the CSG industry in Queensland, from local, state and federal governments, gas companies, host communities as well as researchers and consultant ‘experts’.
The Queensland experience of unconventional gas development rated reasonably well in relation to the Golden Rules, with scores of three or higher out of five for four of the seven rule categories. Across all the Golden Rules, industry performance scored more highly than the effectiveness of the policy/regulatory environment, highlighting the complex and sometimes conflicted roles of governments in developing a new industry. The rules addressing baseline measurement, full disclosure and engagement were seen as most important for public acceptance.
This study developed a new tool to evaluate perceived social and environmental performance of industry and effectiveness of governance in unconventional gas development applicable across different jurisdictional contexts. This application suggests that baseline measurements, open disclosure and public engagement should be the focus for building public acceptance. For new gas developments, these findings highlight the importance of having a robust regulatory environment in place that can coordinate activities and manage cumulative impacts.