Monday, November 30, 2009

Guest list for Copenhagen climate meeting grows

The White House says President Obama plans to attend the United Nations climate meeting in Copenhagen as a side stop while en route to pick up his Nobel Prize in Oslo.

Scott Segal, legal partner at Bracewell & Giuliani, notes that direct presidential involvement was crucial to passing the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990s. Segal believes involvement from the Oval Office will prove to be a key element again if anything on climate policy is to become US law.

“As to whether Obama’s attendance will transform the results in Copenhagen, it seems unlikely,” Segal said. “While speaking softly, China and India still seem steadfastly opposed to strict (emissions) targets for emerging nations, and progress on the major sticking points across the board remains slow.”

He does note that Obama's involvement in Copenhagen ultimately might help nudge along climate policy debate in Washington, DC.

I tend to agree with Segal. After so much fanfare and anticipation, it’s going to be hard for the Copenhagen meeting to fulfill broad, public expectations. Personally, I expect to see volumes written by the general media following the meeting, regardless of what happens.

What actually happens in Washington on climate after Copenhagen could prove as important to many oil and gas companies as whatever might happen in Copenhagen.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chevron notes cooperation of Australian government

A Chevron Corp. executive vice-president for upstream and gas, told a meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation members that Asian governments need to promote policies to expand and diversity energy resources, especially natural gas.

Speaking at the APEC meeting in Singapore on Nov. 12, Kirkland cited Australia as a good example.

In September, Chevron and partners agreed to proceed with the $40 billion Gorgon LNG and upstream project off Australia.

“Gorgon will supply natural gas into the Asia-Pacific region as well as Australia domestically—with half the carbon footprint of coal,” Kirkland said. “Gas from Gorgon will significantly help expand and diversity the Asia-Pacific region’s energy supplies.”

Australia also worked with Chevron to support a carbon capture and sequestration component of Gorgon, Kirkland noted.

“Australia got it right with natural gas, a resource whose time has come,” he said.

He credits Australia's state and federal government officials with aggressively fostering policies and a political environment providing stable legal frameworks, predictable fiscal and tax regimes, and contact sanctity.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Louisiana DNR: Natural gas is key to US energy future

No climate program should impose constraints or disincentives on US natural gas and oil production, said Scott Angelle, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources secretary.

Speaking to the Independent Petroleum Association of America’s annual meeting in New Orleans on Nov. 5, Angelle called everyone in the room an environmentalist when it comes to enjoying the outdoors. He said industry is open to innovation and technologies that promote a clean, safe environment.

But he also noted that industry is well aware how political debate around climate change policy could have serious implications for independents and for the country’s energy future.

Angelle and other speakers at the IPAA meeting agreed that no climate change policy should be adopted unless it assures the future production and use of gas.

IPAA literature reports that about 800,000 oil and gas wells operate in the US. These wells account for less than 1% of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, said an Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2006.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

London bird sanctuary installs wind turbine

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) supports wind power development in correctly sited locations. To demonstrate that, RSPB installed a small-scale wind turbine at one of its own nature preserves, Rainham Marshes east of London, known primarily for its wading birds.

The organization said renewable energy, including wind power, can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The RSPB, a British charitable organization, often is most visual when objecting to wind turbine proposals. But RSPB’s web site said the group never opposes wind farm developments that are designed and sited to avoid damaging sensitive wildlife.

The Rainham Marshes wind turbine, together with solar technology, is expected to provide enough energy to power the visitor center, minimizing its carbon footprint.
RSPB sees climate change as the biggest threat to global wildlife in the 21st century.

“Onshore wind is an important weapon in the battle against global climate change—a problem that, if left unchecked, will result in the extinction of millions of species of birds, plants, and animals across the world as well as costing the lives of millions of people,” RSPB said.

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