Going, going, green…

Hydrogen: Canada’s Transition Accelerator to advance Albertan hydrogen economy. DNV GL reports on hydrogen’s central role in oil and gas industry decarbonization. Eneco joins Neptune Energy in PosHYdon offshore green hydrogen project. Emissions: IOGP and Geocento report on airborne and satellite environmental monitoring. Environmental Defense Fund’s MethaneSAT to launch in 2022. Gaffney Cline discusses EDF report on methane data credibility. ExxonMobil’s framework for methane regulation. EPA notice on controlling air pollution in the oil and natural gas industry. Kayrros uses Sentinel-5P satellite data to pinpoint sources of emissions. Qnergy’s ‘CAP3’ low emissions pneumatics sees investment from OGCI. CO2 capture & storage: Global CCS Institute report on the value of carbon capture and storage. Equinor reports successful Northern Lights test drill. McguireWoods provides guidance on update to the US IRS carbon capture tax credit regime. Global CCS Institute explains US 45Q tax credit for CCS. Advanced Resources on CCS in the electricity industry under section 45Q tax credits. Bureau of Economic Geology presents research into offshore CCS. Chevron Technology Ventures to trial Svante’s large-scale CCS technology. Reporting: API, IPIECA, IOGP on sustainability reporting guidance for the oil and gas industry. Global Association of Risk Professionals to offer Sustainability and Climate Risk certificate. France’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers to tackle greenwashing in asset management. EU taxonomy of environmentally sustainable economic activities. New IOGP website for environmental performance data.


Canada’s Transition Accelerator has announced a framework to advance the hydrogen economy in Alberta’s industrial heartland, leveraging Alberta’s strength as one of the world’s lowest-cost producers of hydrogen. Alberta blue hydrogen is made with ultra-low emissions by upgrading natural gas. The carbon by-product generated from this process can then be captured and permanently sequestered underground or used for another purpose. The Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research (CESAR) initiative at the University of Calgary was a catalyst for the TransitionAccelerator.

DNV GL has published a report, ‘Heading for Hydrogen’ that outlines hydrogen’s ‘central role’ to the oil and gas industry’s decarbonization effort. DNV GL research has found that over half of senior oil and gas professionals expect hydrogen to be a significant part of the energy mix by 2030 and one fifth of industry leaders say that their companies have already entered the hydrogen market. Heading for Hydrogen includes a survey of some 1,000 senior oil and gas professionals and in-depth interviews with industry executives.

Eneco has joined Neptune Energy as a partner on the PosHYdon pilot, the world’s first offshore green hydrogen project. Eneco will supply simulated wind data from its Luchterduinen offshore wind farm, to support the project which aims to integrate three energy systems in the North Sea: offshore wind, offshore gas and offshore hydrogen. The data will be used to model the use of electricity generated by the windfarm to power sea water electrolysis on the Neptune-operated Q13a platform.

Emissions, remote sensing

The IOGP has published Report 629, ‘Environmental sampling and monitoring from airborne and satellite remote sensing’, a free 68 page analysis from the IOGP’s environmental and geomatics committees with help from consultant Geocento. The report covers modern satellite-based remote sensing across the oil and gas project lifecycle on land and sea. A companion Report 630 adds a comparison of methane reporting requirements, authored by consultants MACH10.

The Environmental Defense Fund is to launch ‘MethaneSAT’ in 2022, a new satellite to detect methane emissions from oil and gas across the world. MethaneSAT is to identify the areas and extent of methane emissions worldwide, giving companies and governments the opportunity to track, quantify and reduce emissions. MethaneSAT data is to be publicly available. EDF also recently produced a report, ‘Hitting the mark: Improving the Credibility of Industry Methane Data,’ an entreaty to improve emissions data accuracy and earn stakeholder confidence. Adding to the EDF report, Nigel Jenvey reports from Gaffney Cline’s review of readiness of the top 10 oil and gas companies for a low carbon transition. While all had started reporting on the carbon intensity of their business, no calculation was comparable because of differences in units used and contrasting approaches to accuracy and transparency.

ExxonMobil has proposed a new framework for industry-wide methane regulations. The framework was developed across ExxonMobil’s oil and natural gas operations and has resulted in improvements that ‘demonstrate what’s practicable and achievable’. The framework addresses high-leak potential at production sites and is said to be more comprehensive than current federal rules.

A pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice ‘Controlling air pollution in the oil and natural gas industry’ and fact sheet is available from the EPA. In October 2019 the EPA held a public meeting regarding the proposed policy amendments to the 2012 and 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the oil and natural gas industry. Transcriptions and presentations from the event are now available on the US Regulations.gov website.

Kayrros takes satellite data from the European Space Agency Copernicus program’s Sentinel-5P satellite and uses AI/ML to trace emissions back to their source. The work has shown that there are around 100 high volume-emitting events at any one time around the world, one half of which are in regions with heavy industry ‘such as oil and gas and coal mining’. Kayrros is documenting thousands of major methane plumes from various sources around the world.

Qnergy has closed a $10 million Series B funding round led by OGCI Climate Investments, Tene Capital and Kibbutz EHI. The funds will be used to accelerate deployment of Qnergy’s CAP3 compressed air pneumatics product, a low emission alternative to gas pneumatic devices currently used in upstream oil and gas.


The Global CCS Institute has produced a modestly subtitled ‘thought leadership’ publication, ‘The value of carbon capture and storage’, a 24 page explanation of why CCS is an essential climate mitigation technology, how it will scale and what it will cost.

Equinor reports successful testing of its 31/5-7 Northern Lights CO₂ storage well in the North Sea. The Northern Lights Alliance, with operator Equinor and partners Shell and Total, has submitted a plan to the Norwegian government for an ‘important part’ of the Norwegian project for transport and storage of CO2 on the shelf. CO2 will be captured from Fortum’s heat recovery plant at Klementsrud in Oslo and Norcem’s cement factory in Breivik. The first phase will see the injection of 1.5 million tonnes of CO2.

A release from legal and public affairs consultancy McguireWoods provides advice and guidance on the February 2020 update to the US IRS carbon capture tax credit regime, Notice 2020-12. Section 45Q of the US tax code allows a federal tax credit for carbon captured from qualified facilities that is used in either EOR ($35/tonne) or secured in a geological formation ($50/tonne).

In a similar vein, the Global CCS Institute has published a seven page brief explaining the US Section 45Q tax credit for CO2 sequestration.

Vello Kuuskraa, (Advanced Resources) and co-authors have published an article, ‘Reconsidering CCS in the US fossil-fuel fired electricity industry under section 45Q tax credits’ suggesting that Section 45Q tax credits may need to be modified to achieve their intended impact.

The US Bureau of Economic Geology’s Gulf Coast Carbon Center presented its research into offshore CCS. Current projects include the Gulf of Mexico Partnership for Offshore Carbon Storage (GoMCarb), and SECARB Offshore, covering the potential in the eastern Gulf region from eastern Louisiana to Florida.

Chevron Technology Ventures is to explore the use of Svantec’s (formerly Inventys) large scale CCS technology with a pre-front end engineering design study of Chevron’s operations. The study will evaluate the feasibility and design of a 10,000 tonne-per-year carbon capture unit in one of Chevron’s California facilities and is expected to be complete in the first half of 2020.


The API, IPIECA and the IOGP have published the 4th edition (2020) of ‘Sustainability reporting guidance for the oil and gas industry’, a 200 plus page free download.

GARP, the Global Association of Risk Professionals has opened registration for its Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR) certificate, a new risk management training program to start in September 2020. The SCR Certificate is designed to help businesses address the risks associated with climate change. The program includes modules on policy and regulation, sustainable finance, and scenario analysis, among others. The exams can be taken via remote proctoring or at testing sites around the world. Register at GARP.

France’s Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) is to tackle greenwashing in asset management with a set of minimum requirements that fund managers must meet in order to market themselves as green. These include quantitative thresholds to investment in issuers with a higher environmental, social and governance (ESG) rating. A critique from the XBRL organization warned that such ‘laudable’ efforts will be hampered by the lack of standardization in non-financial disclosures, advocating consideration of its global XBRL taxonomy, based on the work of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

The European Union has adopted a unified EU sustainability taxonomy to provide businesses and investors with a common language to identify environmentally sustainable economic activities. The taxonomy is to ‘encourage private investment in sustainable growth and contribute to a climate neutral economy’ and is said to be key to the EU target of climate neutrality by 2050. The XBRL organization regretted however that ‘this is a classification not a taxonomy’ adding that ‘to be usefully and effectively monitored, an XBRL taxonomy enabling comparable, machine-readable disclosures of business-material information is the next step’.

The IOGP has built a new website for environmental performance data to house HSE data reported by its members. Environmental performance data for 2018 is already online and is to expand to other reporting areas throughout 2020 and 2021. Visit the IOGP Data Series and read the executive summary.

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