A recent Gaffney Cline Focus report, Carbon Management, the adoption of carbon pricing in oil and gas, has it that carbon pricing mechanisms (cap and trade, or taxes) are considered by many economists as being the most effective and efficient solution to combat climate change. But these need to be implemented with care. A $100/tonne CO2 carbon price would put a $1 on a gallon of gasoline and would double the price of natural gas. Carbon mitigation solutions that offer affordable and secure oil and gas include energy efficiency, fugitives and flaring reduction, waste heat recovery, use of low carbon energy for power and heat, and ultimately carbon capture and storage.
According to the International Energy Agency, progress on CCUS is well off-track when measured against globally agreed climate and energy goals. Today’s CO2 capture rate represents less than 4% of that required by 2030 under a pathway consistent with the Paris Agreement objectives.
A 500 page study from the US National Academies Press, Negative Emissions Technologies and Reliable Sequestration, a research agenda, includes a chapter on the sequestration of CO2 in deep geological formations, CCS is required/expected to contribute about 14% of the emissions reductions needed to stabilize the climate at 2°C warming. So far results from trials have been patchy, the largest, the Australian Gorgon Project has not yet started. At In Salah (Algeria) and Snohvit (Norway), injectivity has been problematic. Scaling up global CCS to the hoped-for 5-10 Gt/year is ‘an enormous task’ that would require a more than 100-fold scale-up from current operations at which point CCS ‘would assume the scale of global oil production, is a $2 trillion/year industry’.
The US DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy has announced funding for R&D into ‘transformational’ sensing capabilities for monitoring CCS. DE-FOA-0001998 sets out to reduce uncertainty and enable real-time decision making associated with subsurface CO2 storage. Selected projects will be managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory.
Aker Solutions has been awarded a contract on Northern Lights, a CCS project initiated by Equinor with partners Shell and Total. The aim is to develop the world’s first storage facility capable of receiving CO2 from various industrial sources.
Chris Stark, chief executive of the UK Committee on Climate Change has urged the UK to move on from “false dawns” for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and pursue strategic projects, such as Acorn, to help address climate change.
DNV GL has published its Energy Transition Outlook, a model-based forecast of the world’s energy system through to 2050, covering energy demand, oil demand, electricity capacity and carbon emissions. Forecast data can be downloaded here.
FLIR has announced the FLIR GF77, a ‘lower cost’ gas methane detection camera. The FLIR GF77 ‘gas find’ camera is built around an uncooled, longwave infrared detector, which costs less to produce than higher performance, cooled cameras.
eLichens has launched the Foxberry-CH4 methane sensor for gas leak detection. eLichens uses a patented non-dispersive infrared wide bandwidth light source in an ATEX certified explosion-proof housing.
BHGE has announced Lumen, a ground and/or drone-based methane detection system. Lumen provides continuous wireless methane detection and real-time cloud-based data analysis. Lumen comprises a ground-based solar-powered wireless sensor network and a drone-based system for over-air monitoring. The Lumen Terrain ground-based system creates a mesh network around a facility, outdoors and indoors. Lumen Sky adds a multi-faceted UAV system using a state of the art TDLAS and OGI technologies, along with high-definition aerial video streaming. Proprietary algorithms and machine learning provides methane concentrations and location and rate of leaks.
BP and the Environmental Defense Fund have announced a three-year strategic commitment to advance technologies and practices to reduce methane emissions from the global oil and gas supply chain. EDF will not receive any funding from BP, consistent with its policy prohibiting receipt of funds from energy companies. Rather, BP and EDF are working to identify third-party analytical and technological demonstration projects. These include methane monitoring and management and the use of ‘digital technologies’, as enumerated in the EDF’s report, Fueling the Digital Methane Future, produced with help from Accenture. Machine learning, artificial intelligence and augmented reality will embed methane management into BP’s digital transformation. BP also announced that greenhouse gas emissions reductions have now been included as a factor in the reward of its 36,000 employees.
Total has signed an R&D collaboration agreement with Collège de France for research into the transformation of CO2 into hydrocarbons and alcohols. These technologies are presented as potential energy storage solutions using electricity from renewables to turn CO2 into ethylene or ethanol.
Carbon Engineering has received equity investments from Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and Chevron Technology Ventures. The monies will be used to accelerate the commercialization of CE’s direct air capture technology that removes CO2 from the air. CE’s DAC plants can be located at an oilfield for EOR use. The company is also working on ‘air to fuels’ technologies, combining CO2 from DAC with clean hydrogen from water electrolysis.
One Dato’ Sri Prof. Ng Tat-yung, founder of the ‘International Scalar Wave Quantum Institute’ has announced an innovative solution for hydrogen production by electrolysis of atmospheric water. The zero-pollution hydrogen fuel is claimed to be a ‘sustainable green energy solution’. The ‘scalar wave quantum implanting technology’ involves ‘Zeus super metals’ with a ‘quantum state of wave-particle duality’, which offer a ‘surge in performance’ in catalytic converters used in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Comment: Getting hydrogen fuel from water or producing hydrocarbons or ethanol from CO2 requires energy input. The ‘greenness’ of such technologies depends on the availability of electricity from renewables. They are in no way energy sources. At best they could be considered as (probably very inefficient) energy storage systems.
The IOGP has been looking into the future climate risk for the oil and gas industry. Oil and gas facilities are at direct physical risk from flooding, exposure of personnel to an increased risk of heat stress and increases in extreme waves. The IOGP’s Metocean Committee is currently reviewing the workshop material to identify risk that can be further understood through working groups and future joint industry projects.
A ‘state-of-the-art’ climate model, funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is claimed to ‘show how we can solve the global climate crisis’. The model, from the University of Technology Sydney, claims to show a ‘one generation’ decarbonization pathway that does not involve CCS or geoengineering. The research was funded by the DiCaprio Foundation’s new One Earth initiative.
In response to a ‘coalition of climate catastrophists’, led by Environment Texas, Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian defended the US’ stance on energy and the environment. ‘In 2018 the US lowered its carbon emissions more than any country in the world. These reductions result from our increased production and use of natural gas, not from punitive government policies such as carbon-taxes or emission reduction mandates.’
InfluenceMap author Edward Collins has analyzed corporate spending on lobbying and advertising and found that oil majors have spent $1 billion battling the Paris climate deal since 2015. Chevron, BP and ExxonMobil were the firms spending the most on lobbying to push against reforms to tackle global warming, using social media to push their agenda to oppose meaningful legislation, the report claimed. Shell ‘firmly rejected’ the report’s findings.
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