Is the O&G industry becoming more ‘green’?

While the term “environmentally conscious” doesn’t spring forth images of the oil and gas industry, the fact is, the industry is consistently implementing new ways to reduce its carbon footprint, integrating new fuels into its business and updating its refineries with newer, environmentally friendly technology.

The US Energy Information Administration said in a report from early April that US energy-related CO2 emissions fell 1.7% in 2016. Energy use in the US is moving away from coal, moving toward more consumption of both oil and natural gas.

The International Energy Agency reported that energy carbon emissions in 2016 were flat for the third year, even though the global economy grew by 3.1%. The agency also noted that emissions in China fell by 1% as coal demand declined.

When it comes to carbon management, Carbon Clean Solutions Limited (CCSL) and Veolia announced in March that the two companies are partnering together for the large-scale rollout of CCSL’s CO2 separation technology. The technology, the press release states, will ensure 60,000 metric t of CO2 is captured each year and the converted into soda ash.

In China, the construction of the country’s first large-scale carbon capture storage and utilization facility was announced by Yanchang Petroleum. The facility will capture more than 400,000 tpy of CO2 from two coal to gasification (syngas) plants.

Aside from carbon management, companies are looking to turn more “green.” Amec Foster Wheeler announced last month that it was awarded a contract from Eni to convert its refineries from “conventional” to “green” bio-refineries. The contract is for the engineering, procurement and construction of a new steam reforming plant for hydrogen production at Eni’s refinery in Gela, Italy.

ClearSign Combustion Corporation announced in April that the company has received a follow-on commercial order from a California refinery after a pilot project of their Duplex technology. The industrial combustion technology, Joe Colannino, senior V.P. of engineering said, has been applied to several refinery heaters, enclosed flares and once-through steam generators with consistent sub 5 parts per million (ppm) nitrous oxide (NOx) results.

Biofuels is becoming more of a part of O&G companies’ portfolios. The Diamond Green Diesel facility in Louisiana announced in March that it is expanding its annual production capacity of renewable diesel from 10 Mbpd to 18 Mbpd.

According to Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, there has been a 98% reduction in NOx and particulate matter emissions from new commercial diesel trucks and buses, and a 97% reduction in sulfur in new diesel fuel.

As technologies become more advanced and readily available, the industry will continue to embrace alternative and environmentally conscious means.

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