A simple problem can be solved with a simple solution, but more complex problems require a more nuanced approach, often using a combination of strategies. That’s the case with plans to mitigate methane emissions, which are not only potent and prevalent, but notoriously hard to quantify, with little common ground among industry, the government and the public about what steps should be taken next. In today’s RBN blog we look at the different approaches the U.S. is taking to regulate methane emissions and address other clean-energy priorities.
Posts from Jason Lindquist
Prior to the adoption of the assembly line, automotive production was slow and expensive, with Ford needing about 12 man hours of labor to do the final assembly for each new car. With Henry Ford’s installation of the first moving assembly line for mass production in December 1913, followed by additional refinements in future years, the average time dropped to about 90 minutes, with manufacturing costs also falling significantly. Those are the types of improvements in cost and efficiency the carbon-capture industry — which to date has been largely limited to smaller, individual projects — is anticipating as hub-style projects gain wider acceptance and begin to take shape. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the two basic concepts for carbon-capture hubs, the key advantages of the hub approach, and the complications inherent in that strategy.
The swift increases in crude oil and gasoline prices that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February — and the sanctions that were implemented soon thereafter — spurred a lot of concern that the U.S. and global economies would go into a tailspin. In response, government officials here and abroad turned to their strategic reserves as a way to quickly balance the market and rein in prices while buying time for additional oil production to come online. But U.S. production growth and rig activity have hit a wall since June, when releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) started to pick up steam, reducing the prospects for a significant output increase this year. In today’s RBN blog, we examine the changes in the market since the major withdrawals were announced, how the hoped-for bridge to higher oil production has so far failed to materialize, and why it’s unlikely the government will turn to the SPR if prices spike again soon.
By all appearances, the momentum behind electric vehicles (EVs) has done nothing but increase over the last year, boosted by higher gasoline prices and federal legislation intended to speed the pace of EV adoption. But the transportation sector's transition to electric power and away from the internal-combustion engine (ICE) won't be easy, and may take a lot longer than many expect or hope, due in part to the significant challenges in finding the hard-to-come-by metals and other materials needed for EV production. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the continuing focus on EVs, China’s current dominance in the global market, and how the newly passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is boosting plans to make EV batteries in the U.S.
The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) offers a lot of incentives, mostly in the way of tax credits, to advance the Biden administration’s clean-energy initiatives and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. There are inducements for everything from carbon capture and electric vehicles to renewable energy and hydrogen production, but very few penalties. One exception is included in the new law’s Methane Emissions Reduction Program (MERP), which features the federal government’s first-ever fee on the emissions of any GHG. In today’s RBN blog, we look at recent attempts to mitigate methane emissions, how the new methane charge will work, and how it could one day be replaced by new federal rules.
Economic sanctions can be a powerful tool to punish a country or group, especially if they involve an essential commodity like crude oil. Imposed for a variety of reasons (military, political, social), sanctions can cause serious harm to the targeted entity. But levying them effectively is not as simple as it may seem, and even the most well-intentioned plans can fall short or have unintended consequences or backfire altogether. In today’s RBN blog we look at a plan by the U.S. and its allies to limit the price of Russian crude oil and the significant challenges in designing a cap that is effective and enforceable.
The high cost of gasoline and diesel and their impact on inflation and the global economy has been a major market development this year, with the blame typically being cast on politicians, oil producers and policies intended to limit development of traditional energy resources and encourage decarbonization — and sometimes all of the above. Prices have retreated in recent weeks amid lower consumer demand and worries about the state of the global economy, but long-term concerns about global refining capacity and the possibility of another price spike remain. In today’s RBN blog, we discuss highlights from our new Drill Down Report on the state of global refining.
Not long ago, many considered large-scale industrial carbon capture to be a pie-in-the-sky concept. But neither the capturing of carbon dioxide (CO2) nor permanent underground sequestration is new — naturally occurring sources of CO2 have been used in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) for decades. And, with new financial incentives and a renewed sense of urgency regarding climate action, things are changing fast — so quickly, in fact, that the carbon-capture industry may be poised for exponential growth, both in the U.S. and abroad. In the encore edition of today’s RBN blog, we discuss highlights from our second Drill Down Report on carbon capture.
Not long ago, many considered large-scale industrial carbon capture to be a pie-in-the-sky concept. But neither the capturing of carbon dioxide (CO2) nor permanent underground sequestration is new — naturally occurring sources of CO2 have been used in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) for decades. And, with new financial incentives and a renewed sense of urgency regarding climate action, things are changing fast — so quickly, in fact, that the carbon-capture industry may be poised for exponential growth, both in the U.S. and abroad. In today’s RBN blog, we discuss highlights from our second Drill Down Report on carbon capture.
Conversations about decarbonization and the energy transition often turn to the transportation sector, which accounted for about 27% of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2020. Electric vehicles typically dominate these talks, but alternative fuels like renewable diesel (RD) and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) also come up, not only because of their lower emissions but also because they are considered “drop-in” replacements for conventional diesel and jet fuel. Policies at the state and national level have already encouraged some production growth, but a tax credit established as part of the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides a major incentive for cleaner fuels. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the new 45Z Clean Fuel Production Credit (CFPC), how it will impact the production of RD and SAF, and why facilities that can produce fuels with the lowest carbon intensity (CI) stand to benefit the most.
The 45Q tax credit has been the federal government’s main tool to incentivize the development of a carbon-capture industry. If the original legislation that created the credit in 2008 was intended to get things started, and the credit’s 2018 expansion designed to give the industry a further boost, the newly enacted Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) — which focuses on clean energy, despite its name — aims to propel carbon capture into the big time. In today’s RBN blog we look at changes made to the 45Q tax credit under the IRA, from the scope of the enhanced incentives to how they could boost carbon-capture opportunities for all types of projects.
The energy industry — everything from oil and gas production and transportation to oil refining, gas processing and NGL fractionation — has a myriad of variables influenced by dozens of factors. It’s a value chain so vast you’d think it would be impossible to explain in simple terms. But behind it all is a well-oiled machine for developing the resources that literally fuel our modern economy. And, by understanding what happens at each link in the value chain, you can ultimately gain a clearer picture of what’s happening in energy markets. In today’s RBN blog, we kick off a series aimed at examining and explaining the oil and gas value chain, starting with the upstream world of exploration and production — what happens in production areas, the types of companies that operate in that segment, and the critical role of oil and gas reserves.
As a piece of legislation makes its way through Congress, the name it’s given can say a lot about its overall importance and what it intends to accomplish, but also a little bit about the current political environment. Surging inflation has been one of the biggest stories of the past year and politicians of all stripes have been looking for ways to ease the pressure on consumers. Those concerns were a big reason why the Biden administration’s Build Back Better Act (BBBA), which included several climate- and energy-related measures, ultimately died in Congress late last year. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which Democrats in Washington hope to pass soon, embraces the fight against inflation and includes other significant provisions, but clean energy is at the heart of the bill. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the legislation's climate and clean-energy initiatives — including a methane-reduction program, more tax credits for electric vehicles, and incentives for renewable energy and clean hydrogen — and how they would help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
It’s one thing if you’re 25 or 30 years old and your 401(k) is just getting started — you’ve got time to build it up, so don’t sweat it — but it’s quite another if you’re 60 or 65 and you’ve still got to sock away a lot of money before calling it quits. It could be argued that the environmental community is facing a quandary very similar to that of an aging boomer short on retirement savings. The fact is that the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) target of achieving net-zero man-made carbon emissions globally by 2050 in order to blunt the human impact on climate change will require massive new investment and a complete and well-coordinated transformation of the world’s energy complex. In the near-term, progress along that path must include an extraordinarily rapid ramp-up in the use of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). And like an aging worker whose late discipline may be thwarted by an unforeseen health challenge, as we’ve seen with the recent energy crisis, there’s a lot that could derail progress toward those goals. Is the IEA's goal achievable? Maybe. But, as we discuss in today’s RBN blog, it won’t be easy.
The global reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was swift, with calls of condemnation and plans quickly surfacing for the U.S. and other countries to stop their purchases of Russian crude oil and natural gas immediately, or at least as soon as practical. The strategy has been to make the situation as politically and financially painful as possible for Russia, which has not been shy about using its energy supplies as a weapon, before or after the invasion. But those plans haven’t worked as well as hoped, and some impacts are bringing back memories of the 1973 oil embargo which, though driven by a far different series of events, may provide insight into the current situation. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the many parallels to today, including weaponized oil, regional supply shortages, price spikes and well-intentioned (if sometimes ill-conceived) government responses.