Reports on the inevitable death of the fossil fuel industry are overdone (assuming it isn’t kidnapped in the middle of the night by the next administration and murdered by litigation, regulation and executive fiat). One reason is the advance of technology to remove CO2 and methane from oil and gas activities. Some examples:
Researchers at MIT have devised a system to remove CO2 from the atmosphere efficiently. The process, called “Fordaic electro-swing reactive adsorption for CO2 capture”, should help with global warming.
A U S Department of Energy spokesman believes that as the United States formally moves to exit the Paris Agreement the United States can lead in the reduction in fighting the climate threat. This is not a particular popular opinion among Europeans and others. One basis for the optimism was that U.S. carbon dioxide emissions had fallen by 14% between 2005 and 2017. He cited the development of liquid natural gas and its potential to be converted into cleaner hydrogen, capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide and advances in coal-fired boilers.
Many producers are making the effort to reduce methane emissions. Pioneer is one of them, and reports that its rate of emissions is 1 percent of production and chides other producers for not following suit. Confession: this report, which is really a Pioneer press release, looks a whole lot like virtue signaling. although if they are lowering emissions like they say they are, they have the right to brag.
Jude Clemente posits in Forbes that it is “simply untrue” that methane emissions from oil and gas is the main reason why we must jettison these essential sources of energy and pivot to renewable energy to save the planet. All areas of the industry have significantly cut emissions, which bodes well for clean and economical energy. Read the article itself for details.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Baker Hughes is deploying a fleet of turbines that would use excess natural gas from drillsites to power hydraulic fracturing equipment.The company calls it Electric Frack Technology This development will reduce gas flaring and CO2 emissions from people and equipment in remote locations. Operators are estimated to be burning off 104 BCF per year of gas instead of shipping it to market. This is a reflection, not of the industry’s desire to waste a valuable asset, but of the lack of pipeline capacity and the economic decision to sacrifice a less value resource (gas, considering BTU content) in order to produce a more valuable resource (oil).
To be fair, David Blackmon, also in Forbes, says E-fracking is not a panacea and the industry is not doing a good enough job in reducing flaring.
Musical interlude – unexpected cover song edition
Allison Krause covers the best non-Nobel-winning songwriters ever.