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…)


Renewable Jet Fuel Tested on a Commercial Airline

On November 14, Alaska Airlines used a 20% blend of cellulosic-based jet fuel on a flight from Seattle to Washington DC. Feedstock for the jet fuel was forestry wastes that were converted into sugars at Washington State University which leads the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA). NARA, a consortium of 32 (more…)


Exploiting Data Analytics – What a Difference a Year Makes!

I started writing this blog about a year ago under the working title “Big Data is Watching You – But why isn’t it working for you?” But lots of players had similar thoughts after viewing the infomercials and exhibits by the Data Analytics Service Providers at the Petroleum Conferences in 2H 2015! (more…)


California Leads the Way in Reducing Carbon Emissions

With the recent signing of its Climate Change Legislation and its Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), California has embarked on historic steps to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. On September 8, 2016, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed Senate Bill 32 and Assembly Bill 197 which, together, requires California to reduce GHG (more…)


US Ethylene Plant Development; Announcement, Plans, and New Technology

Appalachian Region

Just over a year ago, in June 2015, Shell Chemical received approval from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection to proceed with its plans to build an ethane cracker in Beaver County, Pa. (see my October (more…)


Will U.S. Methanol Exports to China Help Alleviate Its Water Shortage?

It is well known that China is facing a water crisis. With 20% of the world’s population, China has only 7% of the world’s fresh water. According to Liu Changming, a retired hydrologist for the Chinese Academy of Science, four hundred Chinese cities now face a water shortage of which 115 cities have severe shortages. Most of the (more…)