Something you don’t hear every day: oil and gas methane regulations can reinforce innovation and leadership. Numerous new methods to reduce oil and gas methane emissions are being developed; and regulators, environmentalists, oil companies and innovators are working together to craft a new way for innovation to be recognized and rewarded.
I interviewed Drew Pomerantz of Schlumberger, the world’s largest provider of oilfield services, about what new methods and technologies are available to reduce oil and gas methane emissions, what their impact might be, and what is needed to realize that potential.
Over the past few weeks, companies like BP, Equinor, Exxon and Shell have publicly stated their support for direct federal regulation of methane. It is not every day that a company will ask for more rules rather than less. What’s one of the driving forces behind these public position reversals? Investors.
Investors have been an important pressure point in moving these companies to their new policy positions, and they continue to wield their influence to encourage more companies to join.
Since 2017, ExxonMobil has expanded its U.S. methane leak detection program, committed to its first global methane target, supported methane monitoring technology innovation and encouraged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate methane emissions at new and existing sources. Although Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and ExxonMobil are not always aligned on certain important issues, the organizations are working together to understand and reduce methane emissions. Ben Ratner, senior director with EDF+Business, sat down with Matt Kolesar, regulatory manager at ExxonMobil’s XTO Energy affiliate, to discuss the company’s perspective on why methane is such a key issue for the industry and how technology and regulation can accelerate industry’s progress.
Methane has made quite an entrance into climate science in the last few years.
Though long recognized as a potent greenhouse gas – more than 80 times as powerful as carbon dioxide in the short term – its significance in our battle against climate change has only recently been quantified. The oil and gas industry, for example, is among the largest emitters of methane on the planet, and research (including some by EDF scientists) has documented that far more methane seeps out of wells, pipelines, valves and other points in the oil and gas supply chain than energy companies and official emission inventories report.
Businesses today are taking basic services and turning them into well-designed, convenient user-friendly experiences. You see it every day with companies like Spotify and Seamless. Or Netflix, which is suggesting I watch The Great British Baking Show, based on my family’s viewing-history.
Now, imagine the possibilities if we applied this business model to sustainability.
The Supply Chain Solutions Center does just that. Launched today in partnership with over 10 leading environmental NGOs, this innovative platform puts resources and expert advice at the fingertips of sustainability professionals.
At the Baker Hughes GE Annual Meeting this week in Florence, Italy, a CEO began his presentation with this bold adage: “Digital strategy = Business strategy.” Executives on nearly every panel pointed to the digital opportunity.
As the oil and gas industry invests in the digital transformation to improve competitiveness, companies should seize the opportunity to integrate methane emissions management into their broader digital agendas, as a key way to maximize value and stay competitive in the low carbon energy transition.
This post was co-authored by Rosalie Winn, attorney for Environmental Defense Fund.
Methane emissions from the American oil and gas industry waste valuable resources, accelerate climate change and severely cloud the credibility of natural gas in the low carbon transition. Unfortunately, Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has proposed to weaken standards limiting pollution from new and modified oil and gas facilities.
Nearly one-quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions comes from agriculture and deforestation, but if we continue with business as usual agriculture could become the world’s largest contributor to climate change. That’s because feeding a growing population takes a toll on the earth, including outsized impacts on our soil, water and climate.
Consumers are starting to recognize this massive challenge, which is part of the reason why the demand for sustainably grown food has skyrocketed. Unfortunately, seemingly simple solutions like switching to a plant-based diet are also the least realistic. Despite the IPCC’s call for widespread individual diet changes, global meat consumption is expected to increase by over 80 percent by 2050.
That’s why I believe the best and most pragmatic path forward is to ensure that meat – and all food – is produced as sustainably as possible, and why I believe the world’s biggest food brands need to take the lead in doing so.
Tyson Foods – the largest food company in the U.S. – showcased just such leadership today by announcing a new initiative to accelerate sustainable food production, in part through the large-scale deployment of exciting ag tech. Read more
Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to sit down with Michael Cappucci, Senior Vice President of Compliance and Sustainable Investing at Harvard Management Company (HMC). In a recent blog post, Michael shared his outlook on the methane opportunity for oil and gas companies, along with his opinion on the pace of change within the industry.
Below is the second part of our conversation, where Michael offers new insights on investor ESG engagement and its correlation to portfolio performance. He also talks about private equity’s somewhat quiet stance on methane, and the sector’s potential to bring about change among mid-size operators who have yet to tackle methane emissions.
Last week, investors representing $1.9 trillion assets under management called on 30 oil and gas companies, urging them to publicly oppose the EPA’s proposed weakening of its methane rules. This letter is signed by investors including CalSTRS, the New York City Comptroller’s Office, and Robeco, all of which have joined together to say no to these regulatory rollbacks.