Topic A: Energy - Analysis, discussion & commentary on energy exploration, development and innovation
Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 25, 2015

Americans Increasingly Concerned with Global Warming

The most recent Yale Project on Climate Change newsletter announces the the release of their latest national survey: Climate Change in the American Mind: October 2015.

“This report details results from our latest national tracking survey about global warming beliefs, risk perceptions, conversations, perceived ethical dimensions, and the impact of Pope Francis on American views of global warming.”

“Here are a few interesting findings. Since spring 2015, the number of Americans who think global warming will cause harm has increased substantially. More think global warming will harm them personally (42%, +6 percentage points since spring 2015), people in the U.S. (56%, +7 points), people in developing countries (61%, +9 points), and future generations (70%, +7 points).”

“The number of Americans who say they discuss global warming with family and friends at least occasionally increased by 9 percentage points over the past six months, from 26% in spring 2015 to 35% in fall.”

“Majorities of Americans say global warming is a major environmental (69%), scientific (62%), or agricultural issue (56%). About half consider it a major health (49%) or economic issue (47%). Fewer consider it to be a major moral (24%), poverty (17%), social justice (17%), national security (14%), spiritual (8%), or religious issue (7%).”

The Case for High Gas Prices: Safety

City Lab: “In a sharp post on the topic, Joe Cortright at City Observatory points us to a very instructive study that sheds new light on how safety suffers when pump prices plunge. Or, if you prefer rosier goggles, how higher gas prices lead to fewer crashes.”

“During hard times, or when gas prices surge, people drive less: some shift to cheaper travel modes, some just stay home.”

“For the recent study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers gathered Mississippi crash data from April 2004 to December 2012 on a month-by-month basis. Then they collected gas prices over this period as well to see when safety connections emerged … For every 10 percent increase in gas prices, the lagged effect produced a 1.5 percent decrease in traffic crashes per capita.”

“The researchers extrapolate the findings to estimate what the broader safety impacts would be at either end of the gas price spectrum. If fuel costs had been at their lowest point ($1.81) over the entire study period, the researchers would expect 57,461 more crashes to have occurred—a 5.7 percent rise. But if fuel costs had been at their highest ($4.17) during this time, the expectation would be for 70,655 fewer crashes, or a 7 percent decline.”

Conversation on US-China Energy and Climate Policy

USC’s US-China Institute writes: “During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent state visit to the U.S., energy policy took center stage as the world’s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases outlined their shared desire for a global climate change agreement. Though the two countries might butt heads on economic and security issues, the agreement signals a new period of cooperation on climate issues. Kelly Sims Gallagher, director of The Fletcher Center for International Environment and Resource Policy and former senior policy advisor to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is at the forefront of energy and climate issues affecting the U.S. and China. She is particularly interested in the role of policy in spurring the development and deployment of cleaner, more efficient energy technologies, domestically and internationally. US-China Today spoke with Gallagher about US-China climate policy and the most effective strategies for tackling this existential threat.”

Topic A: Energy

Connecting the Gulf from Port Fourchon

Time is money, and residents of cities like Washington, D.C. and New York are using online grocery services to manage their busy lifestyles. A recent study projects the expanding industry will grow by 21 percent from 2013 to 2018.

But offshore drilling rigs and platforms are places Peapod and Urban Grocery can’t deliver. Located southwest of New Orleans on the Louisiana coast, Port Fourchon fills this delivery gap. It’s the major base for BP and other energy and service companies working in the Gulf of Mexico.

Port Fourchon has long been a lifeline for the gulf’s offshore energy industry, doubling in size over the past 20 years. Now an average of 270 vessels dock there each day, taking tons of food, tools, fuels and countless other items out to sea to supply the operations offshore.

The activities surrounding Port Fourchon directly support 10,800 jobs and have a huge effect on the region’s economy. BP’s business efforts have been an essential element of that multimillion dollar financial boost.

More than 12,100 tons of groceries pass through the port yearly, equivalent to more than 100 statues of Abraham Lincoln from the Lincoln Memorial. The number of loaves of bread alone delivered each year from the port is enough to create a quarter-million sandwiches.

The BP facility at Port Fourchon is not a one-way delivery operation. About 65 percent of the equipment and tools sent out to the gulf make their way back to shore, along with waste material.

Learn more about how Louisiana helps BP deliver the energy that fuels America by visiting:


UK Government’s Pro-Gas Energy Policy Welcomed by Industry

Rigzone reports that “organizations representing the UK’s upstream oil and gas sector welcomed Wednesday an announcement from Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd that the government of an energy policy that will see natural gas playing a central role in future power generation.”

“Speaking at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, Rudd set out her vision of an energy system that she said will put consumers first, deliver more competition, reduce the burden on bill payers and ensure enough electricity generation to power the nation.”

“Rudd said that in order to develop a cleaner, more secure energy network she would consult on closing the country’s coal-fired power stations by 2025. A key was to achieve this will be to introduce more gas into the energy mix.”

Analysis: Modest Future for Nuclear Power

Stratfor Global Intelligence writes: “With international climate negotiations set to begin in Paris at the end of the month, it remains to be seen whether leaders and experts can come together to sign a binding agreement on reducing global emissions. Regardless of the talks’ outcome, many countries are already working to reduce their emissions on a national level. From a geopolitical perspective, their efforts are less about potential environmental effects than they are about changes in the energy makeup of individual countries, and consequently, the cost of economic development.”

“Although much of the world’s focus is on variable renewable energies like wind or solar power as a solution to the emissions problem, nuclear power can also play a role in reducing the total emissions created during electricity production. Nuclear energy provides a low-emission energy source that does not vary with the weather and is not subject to the volatility of hydrocarbon markets. However, nuclear power must overcome its own set of constraints and obstacles to compete with other energy sources. And although global capacity for nuclear power is likely to expand in the coming decades, the United States probably will not substantially increase its own capacity. Instead, it will serve as a technological developer that helps other countries ramp up their use of nuclear energy.”

Natural Gas to Play Large Role in Climate Talks: IEA

Bloomberg BNA reports that “natural gas, the ‘least carbon-intensive fossil fuel,’ could play a key role in reaching global climate goals, an issue at the center of upcoming talks in Paris, said the head of the International Energy Agency.”

“Fatih Birol, the agency’s new executive director, noted that energy production and use account for two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions, so energy policies will be key at the Paris talks starting Nov. 30, which have the aim of achieving a global deal to fight climate change, largely through commitments to cut carbon dioxide emissions.”

“Speaking at the agency’s Nov. 17–18 ministerial meeting, which brought together energy ministers from the Paris-based agency’s 29 members, including the world’s advanced economies and many of its biggest energy users and carbon dioxide emitters, Birol said IEA ministers approved his three-pillar plan for modernizing the agency’s strategy to face today’s ‘transformed’ global energy landscape.”

Topic A: Energy

BP Well Advisor Enhances Safe and Reliable Operations

As America’s largest energy investor over the past decade, BP is making important contributions to America’s energy and economic security. One way that the company does this, and does it safely, is through technology.

Drilling for, and producing oil and gas from deepwater reservoirs present many engineering and technical challenges. Oil and gas reservoirs can be as much as 35,000 feet below sea level, under hard rock, thick salt and tightly packed sands. So it is important to properly understand and manage the risks we face.

A technology called BP Well Advisor is helping drilling teams around the world to monitor oil and gas wells with unprecedented clarity, using dashboard-style consoles, to enhance operational safety and efficiency.

This technology, currently being used on many of BP’s rigs worldwide, acts as an early warning system and helps people working both offshore and onshore to view and respond to changes in well conditions and safety equipment.

Learn more about BP Well Advisor and what the company is doing in order to ensure safe and reliable operations.

Saudi Minister: Increase Oil Production Investment

The Wall Street Journal reports that “Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali al-Naimi on Thursday called for more investment in petroleum production, warning that new output was needed this decade as global demand grows annually by more than a million barrels a day.”

“Mr. Naimi, one of the most influential figures in the global petroleum industry, said the investments had to be made despite a precipitous drop in the price of crude oil, which is down more than 60% from highs of $114 a barrel in 2014.”

“About $200 billion in new oil and gas projects have been delayed or canceled this year because of the drop in prices, according to Wood Mackenzie, the Scottish consultancy.”

Conversation on US-Japan Energy Policy

The Asia Society writes: “How will Japan continue to juggle its high demand for energy, its condition as an island nation with few natural resources, lingering concerns surrounding nuclear power following the Fukushima incident, and environmental issues associated with cheap coal and oil imported from the crisis prone Middle East? With powerful voices backing different energy sources, it seems no policy pleases everyone. Jeffrey Miller, Energy Attaché at the United States Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, joins Asia Society to discuss Japan’s struggle to find a balanced energy strategy and its global implications.”

CO: Industry Pushes Back on Proposed Regulation

Colorado’s NBC 9 reports that “the oil and gas industry… pushed back hard against Colorado’s proposals to require that energy companies communicate more and earlier with local governments when big oil and gas operations are planned near homes.

Industry representatives said the proposals put together by the staff of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), which held the second day of hearings on the matter, went far beyond the written recommendations of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s 21-member oil and gas task force. They also offered the industry’s suggestions for modifying the proposals.

The proposed rules aim to require increased communication between companies and local governments when “large” facilities are proposed in areas where there are at least 22 homes within 1,000 feet of the site — known as urban mitigation areas.

Topic A: Energy

The future impact of technology on oil and gas resources

As energy demand grows, securing access to new resources will continue to be essential. Technology will increasingly enable the industry to find new sources of oil and gas and recover more from known reservoirs. It will also make those resources that currently face technical and cost challenges more affordable.

Here are three things to know about technology’s role in discovering and unlocking new sources of oil and gas:

  1. Developments in directional and horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have made the shale revolution possible. Estimates of shale resources have more than doubled the total estimated volumes of oil and gas in place globally with development potential (up from 20 to 45 trillion barrels of oil equivalent).
  1. Technologies such as next-generation enhanced oil recovery, seismic imaging, and well construction and intervention could increase recoverable oil and gas resources by about 35 percent by 2050.
  1. Subsurface imaging, drilling and completions, facilities and digital technologies could all contribute to reducing today’s cost of supplying oil and gas resources by as much as 25 percent by 2050.

Read the BP Technology Outlook for more on how technology advances can help meet the projected growth in global energy demand.

Advances in seismic imaging enable geologists to pinpoint subsurface reservoirs more accurately,

Advances in seismic imaging enable geologists to pinpoint subsurface reservoirs more accurately,

Oil, Natural Gas Lobby Groups to Merge

Fuel Fix reports that “the American Petroleum Institute and America’s Natural Gas Alliance, two of the largest energy lobbying groups, said Wednesday they plan to join into a single voice promoting the industry.”

“The combined organization will continue under the American Petroleum Institute name as of Jan. 1. It will speak for an industry that has been rocked by low commodity prices and faces resistance to use of fossil fuels because of climate change concerns, even as energy demand grows around the world.”

“America’s Natural Gas Alliance and the American Petroleum Institute have similar agendas, although the alliance focuses mostly on natural gas. It will continue that advocacy under a newly created Market Development Group led by ANGA President Marty Durbin.”

Global Oil Jobs Decrease

Fuel Fix reports: “Still nursing deep financial wounds from the oil-market collapse, the petroleum industry has shed roughly 25,000 jobs around the world in the last two months, cutting upstream workers that analysts say will likely be difficult to replace when the downturn ends.”

“Job losses in recent weeks have increased the industry’s losses to more than 233,000 since the slump in crude prices took hold late last year, according to energy recruiter Swift Worldwide Resources. Given the speed at which companies are cutting payrolls — a rate that hasn’t slowed down yet — Swift expects layoffs to grow to more than 250,000 this year and to increase again next year if oil prices languish at current levels.”

North Dakota’s Bakken Oil Output Slows

Bloomberg reports that “the shale boom in North Dakota has softened to a whisper.”

“The state’s Bakken oil region produced less oil in September than it did the previous year, the first time that has happened in more than a decade. Output fell as low oil prices, exacerbated by the region’s remoteness, caused companies to scale back drilling operations and delay completing new wells.”

“North Dakota’s portion of the Bakken produced 1.11 million barrels a day in September, down 1.1 percent from the same month a year ago, according to state data. Half the oil left the state by costly truck and rail routes, forcing producers to offer steep discounts. Along with an overall decline in crude prices, that’s prompted drillers to idle 67 percent of the rigs that were in the region last year.”

Topic A: Energy

Emerging Technologies Set to Transform the Energy Landscape

Major technology breakthroughs in the energy sector can drive dramatic transformation. The development of technologies for directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing to produce shale gas and oil is a clear example of how innovation can shake up the industry.

The BP Technology Outlook examines a range of emerging technologies that could play a role in delivering more energy to more people at lower cost in the future. Analysis shows that innovations in the areas of oil recovery, digital, energy storage (such as batteries) and solar photovoltaics (also known as solar panel electricity systems) have the greatest potential to change the way energy is produced, supplied and consumed.

Watch the video below to learn more about the technologies that could accelerate or disrupt energy models in the future.

EPA Proposes Stronger Downwind Air-Pollution Rule in 23 states

The Associated Press reports that “the Environmental Protection Agency proposed tougher new limits on Tuesday on smokestack emissions from nearly two dozen states that burden downwind areas with air pollution from power plants they can’t control.”

“At the same time, the EPA moved to remove two states — South Carolina and Florida — from the “good neighbor” rules, saying they don’t contribute significant amounts of smog to other states.”

“The EPA proposal came as Republicans in Congress moved to block President Barack Obama’s plan to force steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants.”

Governments Spend Over $450 Billion Annually to Subsidize Fossil Fuels

Inside Climate News: “The governments of the world’s 20 largest economies spend more than $450 billion annually subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, a new analysis has concluded, four times more than what they spend on renewable energy.”

“The report by Oil Change International, a Washington-based advocacy organization, and the Overseas Development Institute, a British research group, calculates the amount of money the G20 nations provide to oil, gas and coal companies through tax breaks, low cost loans and government investments.”

Differences in How Countries Approach Climate Change, Energy

National Geographic reports that “Costa Rica, known for its white-sand beaches and cloud-draped forests, is a meager contributor to global climate change. Its largest provider of electricity, which relies almost entirely on hydropower, can go months without burning any fossil fuels. Yet, despite its miniscule role in warming the climate, this Central American country is among the nations trying hardest to curb greenhouse gases.

“An ocean away, Australia is another story. This coal-rich nation spews more CO2 per capita than almost every other country, putting it nearly on par with the United States. But Australia lacks Costa Rica’s ambition, and its carbon-cutting goal is less aggressive than the U.S. government’s.”

“The tale of these two countries half a world apart highlights an often-overlooked reality: Slowing the relentless pace of climate change requires action by more than just the global juggernauts of the United States, China, and India. And as 195 nations and the 28 member-states of the European Union descend on Paris beginning Nov. 30 to try to lock down the first global agreement to curb CO2, some countries are doing much better than others.”

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