This was announced last week by Exxon CEO Darren Woods CNBC In an interview, he said that carbon sequestration would be the next big thing to prevent the Earth from overheating, and that the production of hydrogen from methane would provide much of the world with an abundant source of clean fuel. Careful readers will note that both always give Exxon a license to continue its work – extracting hydrocarbons from the ground and selling them at a profit.
Carbon retention is a dangerous illusion. Not only does the technology not work, but even if it does, it will cost a lot more than simply switching to renewable energy sources and eliminating carbon emissions in the first place.
The “blue” hydrogen scheme is equally dangerous. The conversion of methane to hydrogen creates massive carbon dioxide emissions that will worsen the Earth’s carbon problem instead of improving it. Its only benefit is to generate revenue streams for Exxon shareholders and executives.
There is another problem with the Blue Hydrogen Plan. Emissions of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from drilling sites, storage areas and pipelines are very high.
Formerly the Rocky Mountain Institute, RMI has created the Oil Climate Index and Gas (OCI +) web tool, which tracks oil and gas production resources around the world. In its latest report released last week, it ranked 135 of them, based on a full-life analysis of 2020 emissions, which together account for half of the world’s oil and gas supplies.
The results show that Russia’s Astrakhan gas field has the largest leak in the supply chain due to numerous leaks in pipelines and other “downstream” infrastructure. Of course, Russia does not care about waste and does not intend to limit it in any way.
Turkmenistan’s South Caspian Basin ranks second, and the Perm Basin in West Texas ranks third – Darren Woods proudly points out how good things can be. Most emissions from the South Caspian and Permian basins occur “above” during production.
Upstream is determined in relation to production or wellhead emissions; average flow associated with processing; downstream due to transport and end use (ie combustion). In the RMI report, the most polluted areas emit 10 times more carbon dioxide equivalent than the least emitted areas.
Methane and Oil
The world is focusing on carbon emissions, but methane is actually a more powerful greenhouse gas. Where there is oil in the soil, there is also methane, but many oil producers consider this a concern and make no effort to catch it. Instead, they are allowed to float in the atmosphere. As governments try to combat methane emissions, they are shouting about energy independence, national defense, and the high cost of catching the material.
The OCI + tool, developed by researchers at RMI, Stanford University, Calgary University and Coomey Analytics, and the accompanying report conclude that significant residual fuel emissions occur not only at the combustion point, but directly at the wellhead and during refining, refining, and transportation, respectively. Bloomberg. The RMI estimates that the US Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas emissions reporting program halves oil and gas industry emissions.
Methane accounts for more than half of all emissions from facilities worldwide. Restricting gas flare and ventilation and ensuring proper operation of oilfield equipment can help significantly reduce upstream emissions, the report said, and methane reduction is “a top priority for the oil and gas sector.”
The RMI initiative is based on years of research by academics and nonprofits, public data and satellite imagery. It consists of two questions: “Who has the worst tubs and who gets the worst things suckers?” Deborah Gordon, director general of RMI’s climate intelligence, says. He added that the focus should be on tackling climate change.
The report recommends purchasing as much local fuel as possible to save on transport-related emissions. According to Gordon, even before Putin started the war against Ukraine, the supply of methane from Russia was “terrible” for Europe. On the OCI + map, Russia’s pipeline system bounces in bright yellow and orange due to concentrated methane emissions.
Gordon says that for decades, government policy has focused on reducing emissions from cars and power plants, leaving producers with less transparency about their emissions. “The common wisdom is that the consumer is responsible for 86% of the emissions from the tub.” However, research shows that this is not the case for most polluting oil and gas fields, he said.
Darren Woods said CNBC that Exxon is not opposed to the price of carbon, but does not say how much this price should be. Researchers and RMIs aren’t that shy. They claim that the OCI + data shows a record of total life cycle emissions – for example, for a tire – which will add more than $ 50 per barrel for the highest emission areas. If a tax reflecting the social costs of carbon were introduced today, the average cost of production for 135 fields would be $ 7 per barrel of oil equivalent, less than $ 1 for refiners and $ 4 for shippers. Values are $ 56 per metric ton modeled by the US government. Whether this is the right cost for a ton of carbon dioxide for the Earth and humanity is a separate and vital question.
Aging oil and gas fields require more greenhouse gases because more energy and water are needed to extract fuel from the ground. According to past research, the average emissions of a typical large oil field will double in 25 years. Gordon says the two main candidates for decommissioning are the Minas field in Indonesia and the Wilmington field in California because they already require large injections.
The OCI + web tool also allocates the share of area emissions from torch burning or the burning of excess natural gas. This practice is widespread in the Perm Basin, where oil is the most profitable fuel and natural gas an unpleasant by-product.
“Perm looks terrible,” Gordon said Bloombergbut “if Texas cleans up its movement and really cares about leaking methane and not burning gas, it will be at the top of the lowest emission areas.”
Exxon CEO Darren Woods is confident that his company will still be relevant and profitable in 20 years. There are many people who welcome it and want to continue sucking hydrocarbons from under the Earth’s crust forever in order to continue modern life. The illusion that we have our own destiny is strong. We believe that we can always continue our work with ease.
With the latest song or internet meme or Superbowl break show, we are distracted and have no time to imagine life will ever be different. We hear that billions of people live in poverty and hunger, but we do not see this as a problem for our way of life in an industrialized world.
It is not easy to imagine a dying planet as if someone with a bullet in his head leaked brain material on the sidewalk. We can’t see carbon dioxide or methane, so it’s easy to ignore them and just have fun. We do not see that we live in the waste pit of our creation, and that one day – in fact, very soon – we will be drowned in the waste of our existence there to the ear.
There is only one way to save ourselves. Stop removing and burning residual fuels. The universe will not care if a corporation has an unbroken record of stock dividends for decades or if some people have amassed more wealth than anyone in history. If we don’t move fast and move, we will be wiped out of the space record just like the dinosaurs were wiped out.
Words like “the current crisis” do not frighten us. We’ve heard it before, but the sun still rises every day, and will continue to do so for billions of years to come. But soon there will be no one left on earth who sees this happen. We will disappear, we will disappear, no more. It will be the eternal secret of the human race to be so ready to hurry for that long night.
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