Home » Posts tagged 'natural gas'

Tag Archives: natural gas

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

BC’s Methane Emissions Are Double What Government Thought: Study

BC’s Methane Emissions Are Double What Government Thought: Study

The province’s own research has found flaws in how natural gas was detected and measured.

Methane emissions from natural gas fracking in B.C. are about double what the government has assumed, according to a recent study initiated by the province and the BC Oil and Gas Commission.

The discrepancy comes from the method used to detect emissions, say the report’s authors. While the government and industry-led emissions studies typically gas imaging cameras to detect methane, the paper echoes a growing body of research challenging the method.

“Recent studies have shown that [optical gas imaging] cameras may not be as effective as originally thought,” wrote the study’s authors.

In the first public study of its kind, researchers used aerial methane measurements — captured by flying over fracking sites and production facilities — to get a clearer picture of their climate impacts. They found significantly higher emissions from sites like production tanks, compressors and unlit gas flares than those being reported.

“This is rigorous research that the government and industry can’t deny because they’ve been involved in it,” said Tom Green, climate solutions policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation. “So now we have a much better handle on what those emissions are, and how that’s a problem.”

The research was supported by the BC Oil and Gas Methane Emissions Research Collaborative, a joint collaboration between industry, government non-profits and the Oil and Gas Commission, to support B.C.’s emission targets.

The findings have consequences for the climate — particularly given B.C.’s plan to more than triple its fracking activity by 2040 if the LNG Canada project comes online.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Vancouver Council Votes Against Delay for Climate Emergency Plan

Vancouver Council Votes Against Delay for Climate Emergency Plan

City bylaw will require new homes built after Jan. 1 to use zero-emissions heat and hot water systems, effectively banning natural gas hookups.

New homes in Vancouver will be built with zero-emissions heating and hot water systems starting Jan. 1 following a city council vote this week.

Council was considering delaying the zero-emissions requirement by one year to give the heating and plumbing industry additional time to adapt to the new bylaw, which was introduced in 2019.

Council voted 6–4 to stick to the original timeline outlined in Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan. OneCity’s Christine Boyle, independent Mayor Kennedy Stewart, COPE Coun. Jean Swanson and Green councillors Adriane Carr, Pete Fry and Michael Wiebe voted to keep the original timeline.

Independents Rebecca Bligh, Lisa Dominato, Colleen Hardwick and Sarah Kirby-Yung voted for a one-year deferral. NPA Coun. Melissa De Genova abstained.

“I’m really pleased and relieved about it,” says Boyle. “What’s clear to me after years of doing climate work is that climate delay is the same as climate denial. We’ve been losing slowly for too long, and we don’t have enough time to continue to take that approach.”

Boyle was an outspoken opponent of the one-year delay. Earlier in the week she told The Tyee a delay would punish businesses that had invested in Vancouver’s low-carbon transition and signal to the fossil fuel industry that the city was willing to cave on its climate goals “with a tiny bit of pressure.”

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Vancouver Council Pushed to Weaken Climate Emergency Plan

Vancouver Council Pushed to Weaken Climate Emergency Plan

An industry group wants the city to delay a deadline for shifting from natural gas in new homes. At least one councillor says no.

A natural gas lobby group could delay action on a pillar of the City of Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Action Plan this week.

The plan currently requires all new homes to be built with zero-emissions heating and hot water systems starting Jan. 1, which could effectively ban natural gas hookups in new homes.

But after the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating sent a letter to the City of Vancouver saying the industry couldn’t meet the January deadline and needed an additional one to two years, an amendment was added to the action plan that would delay the zero-emissions requirements by one year.

City council will vote on the amendment Tuesday.

The Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating is a non-profit association with 270 companies across the country who manufacture and distribute plumbing and heating products. In its letter the association said Vancouver should maintain its gas piping infrastructure for the eventual rollout of alternative fuel sources like hydrogen or renewable natural gas.

The Climate Emergency Action Plan was first introduced in 2019.

OneCity Vancouver Coun. Christine Boyle said that a one-year delay would punish climate leaders in the building industry and signal to the fossil fuel industry that the city is willing to cave on its climate goals “with a tiny bit of pressure.”

Over half of Vancouver’s greenhouse gas emissions come from burning natural gas for heat and hot water, according to the plan, so it’s hugely important for old homes to be retrofitted with electric appliances and urgent that new buildings are built to be as close to zero-emissions as possible, Boyle says.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Spare production capacity to erode in absence of fresh investments, warns IEA

Spare production capacity to erode in absence of fresh investments, warns IEA

Middle East to dominate 2021-2026 supply growth, US rise to be modest

Effective spare capacity could shrink to lowest since 2016

Supply growth to slow on spending cuts, project delays, demand uncertainty

London — The world’s oil production capacity is expected to slow in the medium-term as the market digests the full impact of COVID-19 and the pivot toward cleaner energy, the International Energy Agency said on March 17.

The Paris-based agency warned in its Oil 2021 report that the industry’s spare capacity supply cushion will slowly erode in the absence of fresh upstream investments.

“By 2026, global effective spare production capacity (excluding Iran) could fall to 2.4 million b/d, its lowest level since 2016,” the report said.

Global oil supply growth is set to slow down from 2021 to 2026 due to spending cuts, project delays, and demand uncertainty, caused by the oil price crash and the pandemic.

Only a marginal rise in global upstream investment is expected this year after they fell by a record 30% in 2020 compared to the previous year, the IEA noted.

Many in the industry have recently warned that oil and gas investment will need to see a huge boost to prevent a supply crunch that could send prices skyrocketing and tip the global economy back into crisis.

Impact on upstream

2020 was a cataclysmic year for the oil industry, as capital expenditure and upstream spending fell dramatically.

The deferral of upstream projects has wiped out over 2 million b/d of potential supplies by 2026, according to the IEA. But spending is likely to stay around 15% below 2019 levels in the medium term.

“While spending looks set to remain constrained this year, a modest return to growth has been flagged further ahead,” the report said.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Exclusive: Whistleblower Accuses Exxon of ‘Fraudulent’ Behavior for Overvaluing Fracking Assets For Years

Exclusive: Whistleblower Accuses Exxon of ‘Fraudulent’ Behavior for Overvaluing Fracking Assets For Years

ExxonMobil
ExxonMobil announced a $19.3 billion write-down on Tuesday, a big hit to a company reeling from depressed oil and gas prices and a rapidly changing global energy market.

The write-down reduces the value of the assets on Exxon’s books. The announcement comes as part of the company’s fourth quarter earnings for 2020.

The fossil fuel giant, however, may be understating the financial damage to its assets, according to a former ExxonMobil employee turned whistleblower, Franklin Bennett. The oil major has overvalued its assets for years, according to Bennett and a team of advisors, a practice he describes as “fraudulent and defiant behavior” in a January 31 supplement to a whistleblower complaint he filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Bennett and his team argue that instead, the company has been overvaluing its U.S. oil and gas assets by as much as $56 billion, as of year-end 2019.

At the root of the SEC complaint is ExxonMobil’s 2010 purchase of shale fracking company XTO Energy, which it acquired at the height of the natural gas boom for $46 billion. In the months and years following the acquisition, natural gas prices collapsed, and never returned to previous heights, rendering much of XTO’s assets uneconomic to produce.

Until now, ExxonMobil largely refused to take a meaningful write-down on those assets, despite several downturns in oil and gas market conditions. In particular, a deep natural gas price slide in 2015–2016, and another in 2019, hollowed out the valuation of many high-cost shale gas assets. Through it all, Exxon never took a significant write-down, which Bennett and his team argue is illegal.

In accounting terms, Exxon essentially told regulators that they could still get full value from the assets that they paid for in 2010, despite the deterioration in the natural gas market, claims the SEC complaint.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Expands Nord Stream 2 Sanctions As Germany Vows Pipeline Completion “Not If, But When”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has long vowed he’ll “do everything” to stop Nord Stream 2, last month indicating the US is building a coalition of countries to fight against it, given Washington sees it as a massive compromise to Russia, giving it leverage over Europe as well as Ukraine.

“From the US point of view, Nord Stream 2 endangers Europe because it makes it dependent on Russian gas and endangers Ukraine – which in my opinion worries many Germans,” Pompeo said weeks ago.

On Tuesday the State Department expanded US sanctions targeting companies working on the Russia to Germany gas pipeline. While sanctions already target the specific European companies and their executives directly at work on the project, they’ve now been extended to include sanctions even on firms upgrading, servicing, or installing equipment on the ships laying the pipeline.

Image via DW/DPA

Here’s the relevant section on the State Department’s updated NS2 sanctions webpage:

“Such activities subject to sanctions pursuant to PEESA (the Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019) or other authorities may include, but are not limited to, providing services or facilities for upgrades or installation of equipment for those vessels, or funding for upgrades or installation of equipment for those vessels.”

There remain some exceptions, however, out of environmental concerns. The State Department says the sanctions “will not apply to persons providing provisions to a relevant vessel if such provisions are intended for the safety and care of the crew aboard the vessel, the protection of human life aboard the vessel, or the maintenance of the vessel to avoid any environmental or other significant damage.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Natural gas

Natural gas

In the eastern Mediterranean it smells of powder. Fighter jets from various countries fly over the Levantine Basin and frigates are on a collision course. These are not exercises. It is a crisis reminiscent of the conflict between Ankara and Athens in the 1970s or even the beginning of the First World War. This time it is not just about the ambitions of Greece or Turkey, small islands or a dead prince, but about the struggle for energy. In the Levantine Basin, ever larger deposits of natural gas are being discovered and there are many who would like a piece of the cake.

Back in 2010, the American company Noble Energy and its Israeli exploration partner Derrick Drilling discovered the largest gas field only 130 km from Haifa. A year later, French Total confirmed another deposit with a volume of 127 billion m3. The researchers suspect a total of 3.5 trillion cubic metres of natural gas and 1.7 billion barrels of crude oil deep in the rock beneath the seabed. How much is that actually? Certainly enough to fill the coffers of the states bordering the Mediterranean and make a solid contribution to Western Europe’s energy supply. By way of comparison, the total natural gas consumption in the European Union in 2019 was around 470 billion cubic metres. No wonder, then, that the areas between Cyprus, Turkey, the Greek islands, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Libya became the scene of a conflict that could well turn into a war. It would not be a local war because the conflict and possible gains also involve other actors whose interests could be disrupted by the gas from the eastern Mediterranean, even though their geopolitical interests appear to lie elsewhere.


The natural gas alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean or who with whom against whom?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Cheap Mediterranean Natural Gas Could Spell the End for the NATO Alliance

Turkey NATO Natural Gas Feature photo

Cheap Mediterranean Natural Gas Could Spell the End for the NATO Alliance

It’s a strange and unprecedented spectacle when countries like Israel, Greece, Egypt, Libya, Turkey, and others lay claims over the Mediterranean, while NATO scrambles to stave off an outright war, among its own members.

To Many’s Dismay, Permian Produces More Gas and Condensate Instead of Oil and Profits

To Many’s Dismay, Permian Produces More Gas and Condensate Instead of Oil and Profits

aerial view of West Texas oil fields

As oil prices plummet, oil bankruptcies mount, and investors shun the shale industry, America’s top oil field — the Permian shale that straddles Texas and New Mexico — faces many new challenges that make profits appear more elusive than ever for the financially failing shale oil industry.

Many of those problems can be traced to two issues for the Permian Basin: The quality of its oil and the sheer volume of natural gas coming from its oil wells.

The latter issue comes as natural gas fetches record low prices in both U.S. and global markets. Prices for natural gas in Texas are often negative — meaning oil producers have to pay someone to take their natural gas, or, without any infrastructure to capture and process it, they burn (flare) or vent (directly release) the gas.

As DeSmog has detailed, much of the best oil-producing shale in the Permian already has been drilled and fracked over the past decade. And so operators have moved on to drill in less productive areas, one of which is the Delaware sub-basin of the Permian. Taking a close look at the Delaware Basin highlights many of the current challenges facing Permian oil producers.

Delaware Basin Producing More Gas Along With the Oil

The Delaware Basin is where most of the new oil production is coming out of the Permian. As a Bloomberg Wire story reported in December, “in recent years investments have shifted to the Delaware, where output is much gassier than in the historic Midland portion of the Permian.”

The last thing a Permian oil producer wants is to have natural gas coming out of the ground with the oil because, as Bloomberg notes, this persistent “nuisance” is “undercutting profits for explorers.” That’s a generous assessment because many explorers have no profits to undercut, only losses to grow.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Permafrost will limit natural gas, oil, and coal extraction

Permafrost will limit natural gas, oil, and coal extraction

Preface. For many people, it’s comforting to know that about 25% of remaining oil and gas reserves (we have the know-how and economics to get it) and resources (beyond our technical and monetary capability) are in the arctic. They assume we’ll get this oil and gas when we need to, and delay oil shortages for a decade or more.

But  they haven’t considered the difficulties of trying to drill for oil and gas or mine coal in permafrost.  It buckles roads, airports, buildings, pipelines, and any other structures placed on top.

A Greenpeace report published in 2009 said thawing soil in Russia’s permafrost zones caused buildings, bridges and pipelines to deform and collapse, costing up to 1.3 billion euros (nearly $1.5 billion) a year in repairs in western Siberia.

Although there are ways to build roads that can withstand melting and freezing permafrost for a while, it is terribly expensive, and it is why we haven’t developed much oil or natural gas in Alaska besides Prudhoe Bay, as far north as you can get, with fewer permafrost issues.

The cost and energy of production in permafrost may mean that reserves are much less than estimated.  Especially if they are developed when oil production begins to decline, since the price and declining availability of oil will mean there’s less energy to build roads, towns, platforms for drilling rigs and oil pipelines. And for agriculture, transportation supply chains, and all the other myriad ways oil and gas keep us alive.

As it is, climate change continues to exceed past engineering standards, and every year Alaska and Canada spend millions of dollars trying to fix roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Burn, Pay, Or Shut It Down: Three Evils For Permian Drillers

Burn, Pay, Or Shut It Down: Three Evils For Permian Drillers

Evil Permian Drillers

There was a time when natural gas was a welcomed byproduct of crude oil drilling, and drillers in the prolific Permian basin enjoyed this consolation prize–at least when natural gas prices were on the rise. All good things come to an end, though, and the amount of natural gas now exceeds the capacity to get rid of it.

With pipeline capacity fully exploited and natural gas prices squarely in the red, Permian drillers today are faced with three lousy choices: burn off the natural gas, pay to have the gas removed, or slow oil drilling activities to staunch the flow of natural gas.

Crude oil and natural gas are like two peas in a pod: when you find oil, you often find gas. 

Crude oil is pumped out of the well, and a small amount of natural gas comes almost inevitably comes with it. 

But over time, this ratio changes: less oil, more natural gas. 

Now, there is simply too much natural gas, and drillers in the American shale patch must face the not-so-pleasant music, with only one question remaining: which shale drillers can hold on until more pipeline capacity comes online?

Burn, Baby, Burn

The first option for drillers trying to weather the natural gas storm is to burn it off. 

This is flaring–and it’s a rather unpopular method, publicly speaking, due to the negative impact on the environment. For drillers, though, it’s a cost-effective way of dealing with the glut, and since they all must answer to shareholders and lenders, flaring is the first choice when it comes to watching the bottom line. 

Flaring has increased exponentially in recent years as the discrepancy between natural gas and pipeline capacity increased, creating unfavorable market conditions and leaving drillers holding a bag of unwanted natural gas. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“No More Transit Risk”: Ukraine & Russia Ink Landmark Gas Transit Deal, Hammering European Gas Prices

“No More Transit Risk”: Ukraine & Russia Ink Landmark Gas Transit Deal, Hammering European Gas Prices

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed the completion of an against all odds landmark deal with Russia’s Gazprom as ensuring “energy security and prosperity for Ukrainians.” 

It will keep natural gas flowing to Western Europe via Ukraine for the next five years, which is estimated to net Ukraine $7 billion (€6.25 billion) in gas transit fees by 2024

After a series of compromise breakthroughs over the past weeks, including Gazprom paying out $2.9 billion legal settlement to Naftogaz and Kiev in turn agreeing to wave a separate legal claim, the two sides finally inked the historic deal on Monday, which signals a broader thawing in tensions and dramatic deescalation after Moscow and Kiev have for years stood on the brink of open war. 

Per Gazprom Chairman Alexey Miller, the accord has already gone into effect as of Tuesday: “After five days of uninterrupted negotiations in Vienna, definitive decisions have been made and final deals have been reached,” he said in a statement.

And Zelenskiy further presented it as an ‘everyone wins’ breakthrough: “Europe knows that we will not fail when it comes to energy security,” he said. Indeed European gas markets immediately felt the effects:

European gas and power prices extended declines after a last-gasp accord between Russia and Ukraine on natural gas flows averted a winter supply crisis.

According to Bloomberg’s analysis:

“There’s no more transit risk,” said Thierry Bros, an associate at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian & Eurasian Studies. “We are in a world with a lot of LNG and piped gas and the Russians want to keep their market share in Europe.”

Benchmark Dutch gas prices dropped 0.7%, taking their record annual plunge to 44%. German power traded at its lowest level since May 2018.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

There’s No Stopping The World’s Most Politically Charged Pipeline

There’s No Stopping The World’s Most Politically Charged Pipeline

Putin

This week, Denmark granted Gazprom approval for its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, a project that is set to bring 55 billion cubic meters of Russian gas into Europe annually. It is one of the most controversial pipeline projects in the world and is now moving ahead despite strong opposition from multiple EU members and the United States.

The geopolitical tensions surrounding the development of Nord Stream 2 are unprecedented. To begin with, Russia has very poor relations with the Baltic states and Poland, nations who will almost always fight against anything they see as empowering Russia geopolitically. Then there is Ukraine, a nation that is strongly against the pipeline due to its fear of losing the transit fees that it currently charges Russia for exporting gas to Europe. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the United States sees this pipeline as a direct threat to its soft power in Europe as well as a threat to its growing LNG exports.

But for all the politics and attention that this pipeline is attracting, the simple truth of the matter is that Europe, and more specifically Germany, needs this natural gas. Germany plans to shut down all its nuclear reactors by 2022. Many have questioned the wisdom—and some even the sanity—of that decision, but it remains government policy. The generation capacity the is being lost in that sector will need to be replaced, in the short term at least, by natural gas.

Despite its green reputation, Germany is a country that generates a surprisingly large portion of its total energy from coal. Its total installed coal-fired capacity is close to its solar capacity, at 44.9 GW, versus 47.9 GW for solar. At today’s growth rates, it’s current solar and wind capacity will not be enough to replace the retired nuclear plants.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘I Want Them to Have Justice’: Inside the Fight to Save the Shubenacadie River

‘I Want Them to Have Justice’: Inside the Fight to Save the Shubenacadie River

In Nova Scotia, water protectors have fiercely opposed a gas company’s plans for a decade, helped by a celebrity supporter.

Dale-Poulette-final2.jpg
Can ‘water protectors’ like Dale Poulette (seen above) and his partner Rachael Greenland-Smith win a war against governments and a resource company over the future of a grand river and the people it helps to sustain? Still from There’s Something in the Water.

It is so quiet on the banks of the Shubenacadie you can almost hear the river breathe.

Standing by the Treaty Truckhouse with Rachael Greenland-Smith and Dale Poulette, the instinct is to fall silent. The landscape draws you in with elemental power — an Alex Colville painting come to life.

Blue sky above, tawny long grass below, all of it bisected by the reddish tidal waters of the Shubenacadie. The only sound is the flapping of the Indigenous Unity flag when the wind picks up from the river.

The RCMP didn’t want any flags flying on nearby Treaty Island, but Mi’kmaq water protectors felt they had no choice. They believed that the Alton Gas company’s storage project, which would dump huge amounts of brine into the Shubenacadie, would endanger the river.

The company wants to build massive underground caverns to store natural gas. It would use river water to flush out salt deposits at a site 12 kilometres away, creating the caverns. The salty water would then be pumped back into the river over a few years.

582px version of Shubenacadie-River.jpg
The reddish tidal waters of the Shubenacadie. Photo by Michael Harris.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

BC Government Frets Over Climate Change While Heavily Subsidizing Fracking Companies

BC Government Frets Over Climate Change While Heavily Subsidizing Fracking Companies

Worse, the giveaway probably isn’t needed, with the global industry desperate for new gas fields.

Fracking-Pipes.jpg
Fracking does not need subsidies to be profitable. But we still hand ’em out. Photo via Shutterstock.

We’re in a climate crisis. So why did the B.C. government give oil and gas companies $663 million in subsidies last year so they would produce more fracked natural gas?

The NDP government hasn’t declared a climate emergency. But it commissioned a report that warns of more severe wildfire seasons, water shortages, heat waves, landslides and more.

Despite that, the government handed almost two-thirds of a billion dollars to fossil fuel companies — $130 per person in the province — so they’ll extract more methane, more quickly. (The numbers are all from the always-interesting Public Accounts released last month by the province’s auditor general.)

Which is perverse in a time when we’re warned of climate disaster.

British Columbians own the oil and gas under the ground. Companies pay royalties to the government for the right to extract and sell it

Since 2003, the B.C. government has been putting natural gas on sale. It has cut royalties to subsidize the industry’s road construction and reward any operators who drilled in the summer.

And most significantly, it started offering the gas at a deep discount for companies that drilled “deep wells.” The industry argument was that they were riskier and more expensive; the government had to sell the gas more cheaply to encourage companies to drill. It increased the discounts in 2009 and 2014, giving even bigger breaks to the fossil fuel companies. (Who were also big BC Liberal donors.)

The discounts — subsidies from taxpayers who have to pay more to make up for the lost revenue — have enriched fossil fuel companies for more than a decade.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase