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On Capturing Methane to Fuel Drilling Operations

Bob, this has nothing to do with KXL.

The new law says they will get the flaring down to 5% by 2020 by doing exactly what you say. You can argue the merits of that timeline if you want, but that is not the point of the article which is about technology innovation and mitigating methane emissions by finding useful ways of capturing them.

Converting pollution into valuable commodities is a primary theme of my work. Whether its methane from any source, carbon dioxide, coal ash or garbage. We live in a world where we are inundated with pollution and waste, but all of those molecules can be converted into something useful. It will require technology and policy to make it happen.

January 30, 2015    View Comment    

On Capturing Methane to Fuel Drilling Operations

What do you suggest they do about it Bob?

Everyone agrees that flaring so much gas is bad. But it is one thing to point out problems, it is something else entirely to come up with solutions.

The new laws to restrict flaring went into force in July, 2014. Too early to tell what the results on the ground have been, but the new laws seems like an appropriate step to me and these new laws have driven the technology innovation I discuss in the article.

 

Historical Data:

http://northdakotapipelines.com/natgasfacts/

In December 2012, North Dakota produced roughly 25 billion cubic feet of natural gas. That month, 71% of North Dakota’s natural gas was captured and sold to consumers, while 29% of the natural gas was flared due to a lack of pipelines or space on existing pipelines. According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration and World Bank, North Dakota accounted for 27.6 percent of total U.S. flaring and only 1 percent of world flaring.

January 29, 2015    View Comment    

On Capturing Methane to Fuel Drilling Operations

Bob, I am not sure if they met the target or not, but understand that the goal was not to capture 77% of all the gas being flared, but 77% of all the gas being produced. The current target was only an incremental improvement from previous years since the vast majority of gas in the state is brought to market already. The important benchmark is to get from today's levels up to 95% usage.

January 29, 2015    View Comment    

On Did the US Kill OPEC?

LNG is being used today in the USA in tractor trailers, mining trucks, big ships and in industry. The operational experience is good.

LNG and CNG serve different applications. LNG is more economical at large bulk volumes, while CNG is more practical at smaller production scales. 

January 27, 2015    View Comment    

On Impact of Falling Oil Prices on LNG

Willem, not sure what you mean by copying and pasting. You can see my original text here.

http://www.edwardtdodge.com/2015/01/16/impact-of-falling-oil-prices-on-lng/

There is another chart on my blog that did not make it here. It shows the recent sharp drop in the JKK LNG price from a high of near $15/mmBtu in October 2014 to just over $11 at the end of November.

Prices go up, prices go down. 

January 26, 2015    View Comment    

On Did the US Kill OPEC?

You guys are on the right track, but if you take the logic a little farther you can see that natural gas is the obvious replacement for oil.

LNG is being used today as a direct replacement for diesel fuel in a wide variety of high horsepower machinery, such as container ships, drill rigs, enormous mining trucks and soon freight trains. There is no other game in town for replacing diesel in these in these high volume applications.

Natural gas is simply methane, and methane is our most abundant fossil fuel and our most abundant renewable fuel. Whereas ethanol and biodiesel require engineering compromises to utilize and have serious questions about scalability, methane does not. Biomethane is chemically identical to fossil methane and can be blended without restriction, a true 'drop-in' fuel. We can also produce robust quantities of biomethane, there are trillions of cubic feet available from waste resources alone.

Natural gas enables intermittent renewables and also enables carbon capture. And the best way to mitigate concerns over methane emissions is to capture them and use them for fuel.

Methane is non-toxic, abundant, renewable, and a universal fuel that can be used across the entire energy spectrum.

January 26, 2015    View Comment    

On Environmentalists are Wrong about Port Ambrose LNG

Bob,

The "Don't Frack the Beach" poster was used by protesters in opposition to the port proposal. The protesters are claiming, falsely, that the port is really an export terminal in disguise and will lead to additional fracking. The whole anti-gas agenda is rooted in the attempts to halt hydrofracking, particularly where I live in upstate NY.

I consider myself an environmentalist and a Green and come out of that community. I find myself in heated arguments with my friends over natural gas issues. I genuinely belive that natural gas is part of the solution for the environment, and strongly disagree with my green friends who insist that gas is the enemy. There was a time in my life when I would have been part of the protests against these projects, but after a number of years of intense research my opinions on natural gas (and nuclear) have changed. Industrial society requires hydrocarbons, they are irreplaceable, and natural gas is the only option that is a direct replacement for coal and oil across ALL applications, and methane is non-toxic and renewable.

As far as a reservoir goes, the ship injects gas right into the pipeline, any storage would be land based somewhere. The ship cargos would only come in periodically to meet seasonal spikes in demand.

January 13, 2015    View Comment    

On Everything Has Changed: Oil, Saudi Arabia, and the End of OPEC

Interesting analysis. Sell it while you can.

January 9, 2015    View Comment    

On Talkin' 'Bout Cogeneration: Prospects for 2015

Bob, Cornell has dozens of buildings (not sure how many, but it is a big campus) connected to an existing steam infrastructure that works. Why abandon infrastructure when we can improve it? Installing individual furnaces would require expensive and intrusive retrofits on every building, and far more maintenance. The co-gen system they installed was a big improvement over what existed previously, and it made sense economically and operationally.

The easiest way to reduce the carbon emissions from the natural gas would be to raise the ratio of RNG used compared to fossil gas.

January 6, 2015    View Comment    

On Talkin' 'Bout Cogeneration: Prospects for 2015

Natural gas fired co-gen has been very successful; economically, environmentally and operationally. Two examples: Cornell University replaced their century old coal fired steam plant, used to heat campus buildings, with a modern natural gas combined cycle system that not only provides heat but also power to the campus. The gas turbines are smaller, more efficient and easier to operate than the old coal boilers, and the system is integrated with local hydro and lake source cooling. Emissions slashed, reliability improved, and economics are better.

NYU's campus in lower Manhattan also has a similar gas fired co-gen that remained operational throughout Hurricane Sandy when the rest of lower Manahttan went dark. NYU's campus had heat and power and was able to provide much needed services to the entire neighborhood and even became a command center for emergency officials. 

Combined heat and power using natural gas is the leading edge for reliable, clean distributed energy that integrates perfectly with renewables and reduces stress on the power grid.

January 6, 2015    View Comment    

On EPA's Coal Ash Storage Rule Shouldn't Let Utilities Off the Hook: Viable Options Exist

My understanding is that one of the major objections to classifying coal ash waste as "hazardous" is that it would undermine the recycling market for coal ash as well as make disposal more complex and expensive.

I have not read the details of the EPA's ruling. But my feeling is that we should be doing all we can to create effective markets for coal ash. Regulating ash as hazardous waste means that third-parties are extremely limited in their ability to accept the ash, transport costs will be much higher, and ultimately there will be more ash that needs to be disposed of.

 
December 29, 2014    View Comment    

On How Much Renewable Natural Gas Can Be Produced?

Projects need to be priced out on a case by case basis. But there are plenty of investment worthy projects with sufficient quantities of gas to justify the capex. Commercial projects are being developed today even without support. 

All of the resources used for RNG are waste products just sitting there as liabilities creating toxic emissions. It costs us money to not use these resources. It is certainly worth some measure of public policy support to turn these waste liabilities into green commercial assets.

RNG is the lowest carbon fuel we have available, it is non-toxic, and we can use it for heat, power, and transportation.

December 23, 2014    View Comment