China has Bold Plans to Reduce Air Pollution

Air pollution is a major issue in China. A recent study by Berkeley Earth links polluted air in China to 1.6 million deaths a year. (Air Pollution in China: Mapping of Concentrations and Sources) Other studies indicate that two-thirds of China’s cities don’t meet its own air emission standards. And only 1 percent of China’s 560 million urban residents breathe air that is deemed safe by European standards. (more…)

Crowdfunding of Common Carrier Gas Trunklines and LNG Plants Who Owns that Elephant in our Room?

Wikipedia defines “Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from many people, typically via the Internet. Crowdfunding is a form of crowdsourcing and of alternative finance.” (more…)

Renewable Fuel Standard Update

On July 5, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for 2018 including biomass-based diesel for 2019. The following table and figure summarize the amounts along with the RVOs for the previous four years: (more…)

Diesel Exhaust Fluid: Fastest Growing Non-Fertilizer Use for Urea

Diesel Exhaust Fluid, DEF, is a mixture of urea at 32.5% and deionized water at 67.5%. It is used in vehicles with heavy duty diesel engines to control NOx emissions. The U.S. NOx emission standard of 0.20 grams per brake horsepower hour (0.2 g/bhp-hr) was mandatory for all diesel engines after 2010 with an allowable phase-in period from 2007 to 2009. While there were several options available for diesel engine (more…)

Developing Skills Required for Peer Review Participation and Leadership

While preparing a talk for the SPE Calgary Section on the Role of the Peer Reviewer looking at Unconventional Field Development Plans and Complex Well Designs, I was reflecting on how poorly prepared I had been for my first encounters with Peer Reviews and Joint Venture Technical Committee Meetings. (more…)

International Testing of a Carbon Capture Technology

According to the latest US Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report, electricity generation is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 30 % of the total. On a global basis according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuel and industrial processes is the largest contributor, accounting for 65 % of all GHG emissions.  It’s no wonder then that a (more…)

Learning to Live with Low Break-even Oil Prices: Creating Incremental Value

I particularly liked the latest SPE Distinguished Lecture by Reidar Bratvold, Professor of Petroleum Investment and Decision Analysis at the University of Stavanger in Norway, about ‘Creating Value from Uncertainty and Flexibility’, because it also points to a potential solution. He suggests that there is value to be realized by modest incremental investments to provide flexibility for future decision making, in order to (more…)

Learning to Live with Low Break-even Oil Prices: Where Are We?

What if it is true, that the current situation is the new norm? In what ways do we need to change how we evaluate, plan and manage new development opportunities and ongoing production operations in a more uncertain and, possibly, declining market?

I started my career at a time when we knew that the REAL oil price had to rise (more…)

Montreal Protocol Amended to Phase-Out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

Last October, the 197 signatories to the Montreal Protocol met in Kigali, Rwanda, and reached an agreement to limit the use of hydrofluorocarbons. HFCs were first introduced in the 1980s as substitutes for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) which were identified as ozone depleting chemicals (ODCs.) ODCs contain either chlorine or bromine. Fluorine, on the other hand, (more…)

New Gas-To-Liquid Alternatives

Presently there are only six full-scale Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) plants operating in the world and all of these are based on the process discovered by two German chemists, Dr. Franz Fischer and Dr. Hans Tropsch almost a hundred years ago. These two chemists showed that passing a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, known as synthesis gas, over a catalyst could produce long chain hydrocarbons. (more…)