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Investments in GHG Mitigation Cut Oil Sector’s Emissions by 48M Metric Tons

Oil&GasIndustryEmissionsCarbon-dioxide emissions emitted by the U.S. oil and natural gas industry dropped by more than 48 million metric tons from 2007 to 2008 thanks in part to investments in low-carbon technologies, according to a study sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, reports The News Market.

The study, “Emission Reductions Associated with U.S. Oil and Gas Industry Investments in Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Technologies,” indicates that the U.S. oil and natural gas industry invested more than $58 billion in low-carbon technologies from 2000 to 2008, targeted at fuel substitution, non-hydrocarbon fuels and end-use efficiency improvements.

Fuel substitution accounted for 46 percent of the total reduction, and reflects methane emissions reductions in the natural gas supply and distribution network. Non-hydrocarbon fuels, which accounted for 19 percent of the total reduction, include investments in wind and solar energy. End-use efficiency improvements, accounting for 35 percent of the total reduction, focus on investments in combined heat and power.

The oil and gas industry installed more than 250 megawatts (MW) of wind generation and 4,670 MW of combined heat and power projects from 2000 to 2008, according to the study.

In addition to low-carbon technology investments, the study finds that other factors contributed to the greenhouse gas emissions decline, including lower demand due to higher prices and a slowing economy.

Despite the oil industry’s findings, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to collect emissions data from the oil and gas sector. The agency says methane is the primary GHG emitted from oil and natural gas systems, which is more than 20 times as potent as CO2.

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One thought on “Investments in GHG Mitigation Cut Oil Sector’s Emissions by 48M Metric Tons

  1. OK, I applaud the industry efforts. Now let’s put this accomplishment in some perspective.

    In 2005, the EPA esitmated global fugitive (leaked) and vented methane emissions from oil and gas systems to be nearly 1,170 million metric tons of equivalent CO2 (MMTCO2E). If we assume that the U.S. share of this total is only 30% – just a rough guess on my part – that would still amount to 351 MMTCO2E in 2005.

    The 2007-2008 reduction of 48 MMTCO2E represents a 14% reduction off the 2005 base of just the U.S. oil & gas sector methane emissions. Worldwide, the oil & gas sector accounts for 18% of the total methane emissions of 6,407 MMTCO2E. And methane accounts for just 14% of global GHG emissions.

    So 48 MMTCO2E equals about one-tenth of one percent of worldwide CO2E emissions in 2005. We’ve clearly got a ways to go yet. It would be nice if the Environmental Leader provided this kind of background information, so that readers could put their stories into the proper perspective.

    Finally, the EPA further estimates that, by 2020, about 10 percent of methane emissions will be profitable to recover – even with no price on carbon; rising to 30 percent with a carbon price of just $30/TCO2E. Presumably, the 48 MMTCO2E savings is actually profitable for the oil & gas sector, even under the current carbon price of $0 per ton.

    We need carbon pricing, in the form of cap & trade, or a carbon tax. We have our work cut out for us in terms of making globally significant cuts in carbon emissions. Carbon pricing is the only way to get there. U.S. Congress – are you listening???????

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