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Oil and Gas Roundup — May 31

May 31, 2018
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

Carbon dioxide emissions drop from U.S. power sector

Because of the increased use of natural gas, carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. power sector were at their lowest in 30 years, a government report read.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported total fossil fuel consumption in the national power sector was at its lowest level since 1994.

"Changes in the fuel mix and improvements in electricity generating technology have also led the power sector to produce electricity while consuming fewer fossil fuels," its report read.
EIA anticipates a 29 percent share for coal in total electricity generation in both 2018 and 2019, down from the 30 percent last year. The share for natural gas, meanwhile, grows from 32 percent last year to 34 percent through 2019.

For renewables, save hydroelectricity, the share was slightly less than 10 percent last year and grows to nearly 11 percent next year.

Coal consumption in the power sector last year was at its lowest level since 1982. More coal was consumed than natural gas in the power sector, but gas-fired plants generated slightly more power than coal-fired ones because they're slightly more energy efficient.

The changing energy mix, meanwhile, is impacting levels of greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide.

"Because coal combustion is much more carbon intensive than natural gas combustion, CO2 emissions from coal were more than double those from natural gas in 2017, even though natural gas provided more electricity generation," EIA's report read.

The change means total CO2 emissions from the nation's power sector were at their lowest level since 1987.

Read more at UPI.

How a handful of wealthy foundations control the anti-fossil fuel agenda and escape scrutiny

Nearly 20 wealthy foundations funneled hundreds of millions of dollars between 2011 and 2015 into a network of environmental organizations to attack the fossil fuel industry, according to a new study published this week by Matthew Nisbet, Ph.D., a Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern University.

The study, which only analyzed a subset of the organizations active on climate issues, provides a glimpse at the massive funding apparatus behind the anti-fossil fuel echo chamber – and the lack of scrutiny that this big money campaign has faced.

Energy In Depth has previously exposed how wealthy anti-fossil fuel foundations like the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Rockefeller Family Fund are financing a wide range of activist groups. These foundations have admitted to funding studies that attack the oil and gas industry, media outlets that provide favorable coverage of those studies, and activist groups to trumpet their anti-fossil fuel agenda online and in the press.

Nisbet’s paper notes that there has been relatively little scrutiny of the presumed independence of these voices in the media:

“When left‐of‐center and progressive foundations are covered in the U.S. press, coverage tends to be predominantly positive and uncritical, deepening a lack of public scrutiny relative to their philanthropic activities, successes, and failures. These grantmakers are also among the major patrons for academics and their work, and are the main supporters of the rapidly growing nonprofit journalism sector. Many scholars and journalists therefore have reason to be cautious in their assessment (Reckhow, 2013).”

Read more at Energy In Depth.

Australian officials head to U.S. to learn about hydraulic fracturing

Representatives of Australia’s Northern Territory government have flown to the USA to learn more about hydraulic fracturing.

Primary Industry and Resources Minister Ken Vowles is travelling to the USA as part of a government delegation to learn from the world experts in shale gas production.

Mr Vowles said the USA is the centre of the world’s shale gas industry and the home of most of the sector’s exploration, production and technical innovation.

“We promised an independent scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing, and that inquiry showed that if all its 135 recommendations are implemented, the risk from hydraulic fracturing can be reduced to an acceptable level,” Mr Vowles said.

“We have accepted all 135 recommendations, which means no hydraulic fracturing will take place until strict new laws and regulations are in place.

“Governments in the US states of Pennsylvania and Texas have significant regulatory experience when it comes to the exploration, development and production of unconventional gas resources.

“We will gain insight into the world’s best practice, and visit some of the most well-regulated sites in the industry.

“The emphasis will be on observing and learning from their experience in implementing regulatory measures to ensure that in the Territory the industry meets the highest standards of environmental protection.”

The delegation will visit shale gas operations in the US and meet with regulators to learn about best-practice operation, regulation, and the economic and social outcomes of shale gas development.

Canada to buy Kinder Morgan oil pipeline in bid to save project

Canada will buy Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd’s Trans Mountain pipeline for C$4.5 billion ($3.5 billion), the government said on Tuesday, hoping to save a project that faces formidable political and environmental opposition.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said purchasing the pipeline was the only way to ensure that a planned expansion could proceed. The pipeline, running from the oil sands of Alberta to a port in the Pacific province of British Columbia, would allow Canadian crude to gain greater access to foreign markets and higher prices.

Kinder Morgan Canada gave Ottawa until May 31 to come up with reassurances it could press ahead with plans to more than double the capacity of the existing pipeline amid efforts by British Columbia to block construction.

The company also faced opposition from environmentalists and aboriginal groups who worried about the pipeline spilling its tar-like heavy oil.

“When we are faced with an exceptional situation that puts jobs at risk, that puts our international reputation on the line, our government is prepared to take action,” Morneau told reporters.

He said the pipeline purchase provided the federal jurisdiction needed to overcome British Columbia’s opposition, but gave no details of how this would work.

Read more at Reuters.
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