API says oil and gas industry does most to reduce emissions

By Jamison Cocklin



The American Petroleum Institute says a new study demonstrates the commitment and underscores the overlooked role that the oil and gas industry plays in reducing U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions.

The API’s study says the industry invested more than the federal government and nearly every other sector of the economy combined between 2000 and 2012 to reduce the emissions.

The study was released in September, one day after the nonpartisan Ohio Environmental Council unveiled the Safer Gas Act, a proposal the group is pushing that calls for stronger safeguards against air and water pollution and stepped-up enforcement of the state’s oil and gas regulations.

Among dozens of suggestions aimed at closing loopholes in the state’s oil and gas regulations, which the OEC claims do not adequately protect Ohioans from the dangers of drilling, are provisions that would require operators to use methane-capture equipment, abide by stricter air-emissions controls through all phases of production and establish clean-diesel standards.

API’s study was conducted by T2 Associates, an energy and technology consulting firm. It found that between 2000 and 2012, the U.S. oil and gas industry directly invested approximately $81 billion in greenhouse-gas mitigation technologies.

Other U.S. industries, according to the study, invested roughly $91.2 billion, while the federal government invested an estimated $79.7 million.

“U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions are at the lowest level in nearly 20 years, driven down significantly by advancements in the oil and natural-gas industry,” Kyle Isakower, API’s president for policy and economic analysis, said in a statement.

During the study period, the industry was responsible for $11.4 billion, or one of every six dollars, invested in renewable-energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass technologies.

Onshore and offshore oil and gas production, storage and distribution accounted for 40 percent of the methane emissions reported to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2011.

“This is an industry that portrays itself as a source of clean energy, yet the production and combustion of gas and oil is a top source for greenhouse gases and a host of emissions that present a clear-and-present danger to public health,” said Jack Shaner, senior director of legislative and public affairs for the OEC.

Earlier this year, the EPA revised earlier estimates and said emissions produced by the oil and gas industry had declined significantly as a result of tighter pollution controls.

In 2015, federal regulations will require oil and gas companies to install green-completion equipment, which captures hazardous pollutants emitted during the drilling process.

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