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  • Self-Regulate, While You Still Can

    August 9, 2018: Self-Regulate, While You Still Can

    I read recently that Mexico is the latest country to crack down on methane emissions from its oil and gas wells, and is even looking to use some regulations that were established by the Environmental Defense Fund.

    Mexico’s President-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, made the announcement as part of a $16 billion investment plan to boost flagging oil production, refinery capacity and electrical generation.

    Drew Nelson, international affairs director of the Environmental Defense Fund said, “Mexico has shown real leadership in developing sound regulations to address methane pollution. The draft rules draw on learnings from other oil and gas jurisdictions already successfully controlling methane emissions across North America.”

    This initiative is commendable, but I believe that programs such as ONE Future also serve as a great example of the benefits of self-regulation based on science rather than arbitrarily set goals. If companies are able to achieve measurable results on their own, they won’t be at the mercy of the “one size fits all” regulations that governments might impose, not to mention the expense which will ultimately affect the end users.

    ONE Future’s members begin with a focus on the outcome we want to achieve. In the case of methane emissions, our desired outcome is to utilize a voluntary performance-based approach to collectively achieve an average rate of emissions across all facilities that is equivalent to one percent (or less) of total produced and delivered natural gas.

    With that goal in mind, each member company has the flexibility to deploy their capital where it will be maximally effective in reducing emissions. For one company that may be deploying an innovative technology, for another modifying a work practice, or another retiring an asset. To demonstrate credible and measurable results, ONE Future companies agree to measure their emissions and track their progress over time according to uniform, EPA-approved reporting protocols. This is effective, because most studies demonstrate that the majority of methane emissions come from a small fraction of sources. Our approach allows companies to focus their resources on identifying and addressing those sources.

    If you have questions or are interested in becoming a member, we hope you’ll reach out.

    Richard Hyde, Executive Director

 
  • Self-Regulate, While You Still Can

    August 9, 2018: Self-Regulate, While You Still Can

    I read recently that Mexico is the latest country to crack down on methane emissions from its oil and gas wells, and is even looking to use some regulations that were established by the Environmental Defense Fund.

    Mexico’s President-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, made the announcement as part of a $16 billion investment plan to boost flagging oil production, refinery capacity and electrical generation.

    Drew Nelson, international affairs director of the Environmental Defense Fund said, “Mexico has shown real leadership in developing sound regulations to address methane pollution. The draft rules draw on learnings from other oil and gas jurisdictions already successfully controlling methane emissions across North America.”

    This initiative is commendable, but I believe that programs such as ONE Future also serve as a great example of the benefits of self-regulation based on science rather than arbitrarily set goals. If companies are able to achieve measurable results on their own, they won’t be at the mercy of the “one size fits all” regulations that governments might impose, not to mention the expense which will ultimately affect the end users.

    ONE Future’s members begin with a focus on the outcome we want to achieve. In the case of methane emissions, our desired outcome is to utilize a voluntary performance-based approach to collectively achieve an average rate of emissions across all facilities that is equivalent to one percent (or less) of total produced and delivered natural gas.

    With that goal in mind, each member company has the flexibility to deploy their capital where it will be maximally effective in reducing emissions. For one company that may be deploying an innovative technology, for another modifying a work practice, or another retiring an asset. To demonstrate credible and measurable results, ONE Future companies agree to measure their emissions and track their progress over time according to uniform, EPA-approved reporting protocols. This is effective, because most studies demonstrate that the majority of methane emissions come from a small fraction of sources. Our approach allows companies to focus their resources on identifying and addressing those sources.

    If you have questions or are interested in becoming a member, we hope you’ll reach out.

    Richard Hyde, Executive Director

  • Working Together to Reduce Methane Emissions

    August 2, 2018: Working Together to Reduce Methane Emissions

    An article published earlier this year in The Conversation gives an excellent summary of the efforts on behalf of the U.S., Canada and Mexico from the last several years to reduce their methane emissions.

    The article’s authors are Kate Konschnik, Director, Climate & Energy Program, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University; and Sarah Marie Jordaan, Assistant Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment and Canadian Studies, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

    Konschnik and Jordaan state that, “In 2016 U.S., Canadian and Mexican leaders pledged to reduce methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025. Today, however, Canada is just beginning to contemplate more comprehensive regulatory limits on methane. Mexico has made only nonbinding pledges so far, and the Trump administration is rolling back federal methane regulation.”

    They go on to discuss briefly the role and progress of science, governmental and nongovernmental agencies in methane reduction citing, “…many discrepancies in how methane emissions are measured from place to place. States and provinces have inconsistent reporting requirements, applying different thresholds over which facilities must report emissions. And there are unexplained differences between facility-level estimates of methane coming out of leaky valves and pipes on one hand, and measurements of methane in the atmosphere near oil and gas facilities.”

    They conclude that the path to success will require active coordination across industry, environmental organizations, academia and government, integrating science and policy to move North America toward a lower carbon future.

    ONE Future is proud to say that we are one step ahead of that suggestion! At thirteen members strong and growing, and with a mission to demonstrate credible and measurable results, ONE Future has companies agree to measure their emissions and track their progress over time according to uniform, EPA-approved reporting protocols.

    We are thankful for our progress and delighted to see discussion increasing around the efforts needed to reduce methane emissions. For more on how you can become a member, visit our website.

  • WSJ Op-Ed from Fred Krupp, President EDF

    July 24, 2018: Fred Krupp President of the Environmental Defense Fund penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

    Fred Krupp President of the Environmental Defense Fund penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal entitled, Capitalism Will Solve the Climate Problem.

    The thesis of the article is that science and capitalism must work together if we are to solve our greatest challenges one of which in Mr. Krupp’s mind is climate change. To quote from Mr. Krupp’s op-ed, “Climate change is a byproduct of the prosperity created by the market economy, but the market similarly can be an engine to generate cost-effective solutions.”

    We may not agree with everything he says, but ONE Future members couldn’t agree more with his solution to lower methane emissions. We agree that there are methane emissions which impact greenhouse gas emissions. Our voluntary, performance-based program is exactly what Mr. Krupp is describing. ONE Future members are using the latest scientifically proven technologies and deploying them in the most cost effective and efficient manner to reduce methane emissions.

    Mr. Krupp goes on to say “Though climate change presents American industries a daunting challenge, market-based policies can unleash innovation from investors, inventors and entrepreneurs, who will work to build a more prosperous and safer future. Working with accurate scientific facts and the right incentives, the market will find winning solutions.”

    ONE Future’s program is exactly what the doctor, or Mr. Krupp, ordered. We are working with investors, inventors and entrepreneurs to find science-based solutions that can be successfully deployed today. We believe that science should drive policy and that regulations will only stymie the market.

    Come join us we and be a part of the engine that is generating cost-effective solutions.

  • Energy Industry Motivated to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    July 18, 2018: Energy Industry Motivated to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Last week, John Williams, Apache Corp., drafted this opinion piece that ran in the Houston Chronicle. In case you missed it, here are the highlights.

    The US consumes 100 Trillion BTU of energy every year which is 20 percent of global consumption. Natural Gas is approximately 30 percent of that consumption and because of the huge amount of reserves worldwide that percentage will remain the same or perhaps even grow because it is a clean fuel source.

    Natural gas, of course, has become the fuel of choice — a fuel that markets itself as far less pollutive than coal. But methane is its main component, which is 84 times more potent than CO2, although its lifespan is 20 years compared to 100. Indeed, methane makes up about 25% of the global warming today.

    That’s why the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) is rounding up the support of the investment community to get those energy companies to measure their methane releases, report them to shareholders, and work to capture them by using “off-the-shelf” technologies. The methane could then be resold and the oil and gas companies would have a positive pay-back. Altogether, PRI says its initiative represents 35 investors who control $3.8 trillion.

    To that point, ONE Future had ICF perform a study, “Economic Analysis of Methane Emission Reduction Potential from Natural Gas Systems”. The results showed that the marginal abatement cost or MAC of methane emissions reductions is $3.35/mcf (end of Executive Summary, page 5).

    The investment in those technologies will be needed. BP said in its global energy outlook that between 2015 and 2035 oil, natural gas and coal will each comprise about 27 percent of the energy mix. Indeed, major oil companies — BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron Corp. — are on board with cutting CO2 emissions because all cite their efforts to drill for natural gas, which is in high demand not just for electric generation but also for chemical and manufacturing processes.

    EDF, in fact, says that oil and gas is concerned about its brand and has thus formed the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative — a $1 billion initiative to accelerate low-carbon technologies. The main focus, it says, is advanced carbon capture and storage as well as to limit and capture methane releases. The oil companies taking part are BG Group, BP, Eni, Pemex, Reliance Industries, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Statoil and Total.

    The investment community is doing its part. And so is the judicial system, which earlier this month said that Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency could not suspend methane rules adopted by the Obama administration. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Trump administration must immediately begin enforcing the regulation.

    The methane rule, enacted in May 2016, had been part of the Obama administration’s overall effort to cut the level of methane emissions by 40-45 percent by the year 2025, from 2012 levels. If escaping natural gas could be captured and resold, industry could increase its revenues by as much as $188 million a year, it added.

    Trump’s EPA had been more sympathetic to the oil and gas producers, who said that the rule is too onerous and that it duplicates those already monitored by the states.

    Furthermore, the American Petroleum Institute pointed to a study by EPA that said methane emissions have been falling, making the trade group question why new rules have even been necessary. The report released in March shows that methane emissions from all petroleum systems decreased by 28 percent since 1990. EPA attributed this improvement to decreases in emissions from associated gas venting and flaring.

    Corporate governance and environmental management go hand-in-hand. Companies are thus under greater pressure to disclose their non-financial metrics, which in this case is not just CO2 but also methane releases. It’s ultimately about bettering both the environment and the bottom line — and something that will drive a competitive advantage while building brand loyalty.

    This article was featured in Beaumont Enterprise, Chron.com, Midland Reporter Telegram, San Antonio Express-News and The Telegraph.

  • World Gas Conference Recap

    July 9, 2018: World Gas Conference Recap

    Two weeks ago marked an important milestone in ONE Future’s efforts to communicate our goal reduced methane emissions across our industry at the 27th World Gas Conference (WGC 2018) in Washington D.C. – a triennial gathering of the “who’s who” in the global natural gas industry. Myself and members of the ONE Future Board were in attendance to present, network and share ideas with the more than 12,000 people from over 100 countries that attended the conference.

    This year’s theme was “Fueling the Future” which promoted the International Gas Union’s key objectives of raising the voice of natural gas while offering timely updates.

    WGC 2018 marks the first time that the global gas industry event was held in a country that is both the world’s largest gas consumer and gas producer, and for whom the latest data show a record breaking size of its gas resource base.

    Marty Durbin, the Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at the American Petroleum Institute, served as a moderator at the conference, and was recently interviewed about his thoughts on the current state of the oil and gas industry. While his comments focused primarily on LNG trade and exportation, he did touch on the need for our industry to continue to progress and excel, so that we might grow and maintain our strong position in the global gas scene.

    I couldn’t agree more, and my presentation last Friday supported these thoughts, as well as iterated ONE Future’s mission and goals: That ONE Future is an industry-led initiative to voluntarily lower methane emissions across the natural gas supply chain.

    Joining ONE Future is a win-win: by reducing methane emissions across the natural gas supply chain, ONE Future companies safely deliver more value to our customers and investors, while also meaningfully reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    And, our focus is on methane because natural gas is primarily methane.

    Our voluntary program is based on the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) standards and they agree that we appear to be on track. Our membership has grown from the original eight members to the current 13.

    The conference was outstanding, I met a lot of people who are interested in the leadership position that ONE Future has taken in voluntary methane emissions reductions. Several professionals expressed their interest in joining our consortium or replicating it where it makes sense; we have a lot to be proud of, but we still have a long way to go, I hope you will join the cause and the conversation.

    Until next time.

  • Voluntarily Working to Reduce Emissions

    June 25, 2018: Voluntarily Working to Reduce Emissions

    On June 21st, The New York Times published an article about oil and gas industry methane leaks, the bulk of the article was based upon a study provided to them by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and very one-sided. Ironically even Steven Hamburg, the author of the study said that regarding numbers “You can cherry-pick either way”, and we are convinced that the study and subsequently the Times article did just that.

    ONE Future members have been actively working to reduce methane emissions for more than two years as a coalition, but independently far longer than that. The coalition has actively worked with EPA to develop a voluntary, performance-based program to accomplish the goal of 1% of methane intensity or less by 2025 and by all measures, we are on track. We agree with others such as Energy In Depth and The American Gas Association (AGA) that the recent study by EDF appears to take a compilation of studies to create a false answer. We disagree strongly that voluntary programs cannot work. ONE Future members will be reporting their actual emissions later this year and are working with EPA on the reporting template. ONE Future believes that looking forward and using methane intensity is the superior reporting standard because it provides real numbers, not a compilation of numbers.

    ONE Future members recently worked closely with the National Energy Technology Laboratory to study the effects of methane emissions on the natural gas value chain. The results of that study showed that the U.S. emission rate for the entire value chain was 1.6%. In addition, using the ONE Future protocol results in a 0.67% emission rate which makes our target very attainable. The EDF study does not explain/reconcile how there can be such a large difference in emission rates, with the exception of the “cherry-picking” comment.

    The bottom line is this, ONE Future and other members of the natural gas value chain are working to reduce methane emissions. Picking a year as a standard such as the EDF appears to do is only one small part of the problem. ONE Future believes that methane emissions have to be reduced so in that we agree with EDF. The study claims a high emission number in 2015 and while we don’t necessarily agree how they arrived at that number, what we know is that ONE Future members have been and continue to reduce emissions and will hit our goal of 1%.

  • Kinder Morgan’s Best Practices for Lowering Methane Emissions

    Kinder Morgan’s Best Practices for Lowering Methane Emissions

    Greetings readers,

    At the ONE Future Methane & Climate Strategies Workshop in Houston, Texas, last month, Steve Kean, CEO Kinder Morgan, Inc., presented an update on Kinder Morgan’s efforts and commitment to reducing emissions from its operations. I wanted to share some of his key points with you in an effort to spread the proverbial wealth.

    As a Charter Member of both the ONE Future Coalition and of the EPA’s Natural Gas Star and Methane Challenge programs, it’s clear that Kinder Morgan is making a robust effort to reduce its emissions. In fact, through voluntary efforts, including these programs, the company has achieved 94 Bcf of methane emissions reductions over the last 25 years!

    Steve was quick to ensure that Kinder Morgan is committed to continue managing and minimizing methane emissions; companies must make it their business – not merely comply with the regulations imposed upon them and hope for the best. It’s a concerted effort that requires stewardship and dedication, especially if natural gas companies hope to mimic the success that Kinder Morgan is achieving.

    So what’s the secret to getting it done? Steve graciously shared a few of his “best” methane reduction options, including:

        1. Pipeline Blowdowns —
          • Eliminating blowdowns through regulatory changes is the best option
          • Evaluating options to minimize emissions when blowdowns are required
        2. Compressor station leak surveys and subsequent repairs
        3. Minimizing station equipment malfunctions that are causing unit and station blowdowns

       

    We’re glad to have Kinder Morgan as a member of ONE Future, and look forward to continued productivity on their behalf. Steve’s full presentation is available on our website for you to download, and of course you may view and download other presentations, too.

    If you’re new to our blog, or someone has shared this post with you, I’ll leave you with a little background on our mission.

    ONE Future Coalition is a group of natural gas companies working together to voluntarily reduce methane emissions across the natural gas supply chain, by reducing member company methane emissions to 1% (or less) by 2025.

    For more on becoming a member, please visit us online.

    Until next time.

  • Methane Emissions Summit

    Methane Emissions Summit

    Last week, in Houston, ONE Future hosted our first Methane Emissions Summit; we had over 100 attendees with Anne Isdal from the EPA as the keynote speaker. From the positive response we’ve received, we’re already thinking about the next summit.   We had a variety of excellent presentations ranging from technology solutions that will help reduce methane emissions, to how our members are successfully working to reduce emissions, to how current policy and regulations affect our industry. I learned a lot and if you were in attendance, I hope you did too. If you couldn’t join us, here are my top 5 takeaways.

    1. 1. The technology used to reduce methane emissions is very high-tech – think drones.
    2. 2. ONE Future companies are leading the Natural Gas industry in the reduction of methane emissions and there are case studies that prove it.
    3. 3. Public-Private Partnerships work. NETL demonstrated how they worked with ONE Future to understand how the natural gas industry could indeed reduce methane emissions by following the ONE Future guidelines.
    4. 4. The future for Natural Gas is positive, with ongoing methane reduction as well as the development of new technologies that employ natural gas without burning it, thereby eliminating all emissions.
    5. 5. Current EPA policy is one based on science and laws.

     

    You can find all the presentations here; please feel free to reach out to me, I welcome any questions or ideas.

    Sincerely,

    Richard Hyde

    Executive Director, ONE Future

    Richard.hyde@onefuture.us

     

     

     

     

  • Inaugural Issue

    Inaugural Issue

    Welcome reader – to the inaugural issue of ONE Future’s blog. Over the last few years you’ve likely heard a lot of chatter about the natural gas industry’s methane emissions, and that isn’t surprising. There are numerous negative, (sometimes false), stories about methane emissions. While you may be aware of ONE Future, you likely aren’t aware of what our coalition has been doing to significantly reduce methane emissions – which is why we started this blog, to begin communicating the truth. In fact, ONE Future companies have invested in methane mitigation technologies and work-practices for several decades and are voluntarily working to lower emissions to “ONE”% or less by 2025 – it’s part of our name!

    To demonstrate that we are a coalition that takes action, we approached the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), a division of the U.S. Department of Energy, two years ago and asked to take part in an independent study on methane emissions in our industry. As part of the study, they gathered and used real data from our facilities. Today ONE Future announced the release of that report from NETL, Industry Partnerships and Their Role in Reducing Natural Gas Supply Chain Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The report analyzed the greenhouse gas (GHG) profile of the ONE Future facilities and evaluated methane abatement options.

    The report is over 200 pages, but key takeaways include:

    • The ONE Future protocol emission rate is .67% vs the national average methane emission rate of 1.62%. Further cost-effective measures could account for an additional 1.1 Bcf in methane emission reductions.
    • If these additional measures are fully realized, the average life-cycle methane emission rate for ONE Future companies would be 0.65% – further enhancing the competitive advantage of U.S. natural gas, relative to other countries.
    • Comparing the results with prior NETL reports, ONE Future companies delivered natural gas that was 15-18% lower on a CO2 equivalent intensity compared to the “average” U.S. natural gas rate on a 20-year basis.

    This study demonstrates the positive impacts of ONE Future Coalition companies working to significantly reduce methane emissions; the bottom line is that the NETL report proves that we can achieve energy dominance using our abundant, affordable and American natural gas in an environmentally responsible manner.

    If your company is part of the natural gas value chain and you want to make a difference in methane reduction, join us. ONE Future was formed when eight companies came together in 2014 with a focus to collectively achieve a science-based average rate of methane emissions across our facilities equivalent to one percent (or less) of total natural gas production. We have grown to 13 companies accounting for the some of the largest natural gas producers, transmission and distribution companies in the U.S. Our members operate in 11 out of the 19 production basins and other segments of the value chain operate in multiple regions of the country; they include Antero Resources, Apache, BHP, EQT Hess, Kinder Morgan, National Grid, Jonah, Southern Company Gas, Southwestern Energy, Summit Utilities, Statoil and TransCanada.