Natural Gas: Sustainability Friend or Foe?

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Energy Collective webinar 11/30/10

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  • The main greenhouse gas benefit of additional natural gas supplies is in reducing emissions from the electricity sector, which accounts for 1/3 of US greenhouse gas emissions. The output of natural gas power plants competes mainly with coal power and to a lesser extent with renewables. Renewables compete with coal or gas depending on demand and timing. However, gas also facilitates renewables by providing backup for intermittency and cyclicality. As EVs come into the car fleet, electricity will begin to compete with gasoline, in ways that might or might not reduce emissions significantly. 31.4% of US gas consumption produced nearly a quarter of US electricity (August 2010 ytd) In 2007 gas was 22% of power and coal was 49%. These are not lifecycle emissions (except for wind). However, despite assertions that the lifecycle emissions from gas are no better than for coal, the official EPA greenhouse gas inventory indicates that the upstream emissions from gas only add about 10% to its energy-related emissions. (Coal has upstream emissions, too.) Note: Emissions comparisons for generation from NETL 2007 report, comparing CCGT @50.8% eff. to coal IGCC and Supercritical PC (both without CCS.) These are not lifecycle figures, except for wind; otherwise all are from generation. Wind from University of Wisconsin lifecycle chart @ 14 tonne/GWh. Chevy Volt emissions basis equivalency between 0.25 kWh/mile on battery and 50 mpg on onboard generator. http://www.netl.doe.gov/KMD/cds/disk50/ http://www.nei.org/resourcesandstats/documentlibrary/protectingtheenvironment/graphicsandcharts/comparisonoflifecycleemissions/
  • The combination of technologies that has enabled domestic gas to become a serious contender to displace higher-emitting fuels—when it looked like it was in permanent decline just a few years is the same one associated with significant new local environmental concerns. Why is that? Total US producing gas wells 2008: 478,000 Per DOE, between 2000 and 2008, the number of working gas wells in VA increased by 110%, PA by 55%, AR by 40% and NY by 15%. Even TX was up by 44% and OK by 95%
  • The key to protecting groundwater is to keep it out of contact with fracking fluid, which contains chemicals you wouldn’t want to consume, just as you wouldn’t want to drink some of the cleaning products in your home. To research, time permitting: How much water used per well? (1-5 million gal.) How does this compare to other water uses? Oil industry already handles nearly a trillion gpy of produced water. Chemicals used? (See Halliburton site.) How many gas wells have been fracked? 20,000 in last 10 years.
  • Natural Gas: Sustainability Friend or Foe?

    1. 2. Natural Gas: Friend or Foe to Energy Sustainability? Brought to you by
    2. 3. About this Webinar <ul><li>Submit your questions in the GotoWebinar presentation window </li></ul><ul><li>Follow along and share your thoughts on Twitter at #TECwebcast </li></ul>How you can Share
    3. 4. About the Panel Marc Gunther is a veteran journalist, speaker, writer and consultant whose focus is business and sustainability. Marc is a contributing editor at FORTUNE magazine, a senior writer at Greenbiz.com, a lead blogger at The Energy Collective. He's also a husband and father, a lover of the outdoors and a marathon runner. Marc is the author or co-author of four books, including Faith and Fortune: How Compassionate Capitalism is Transforming American Business. He's a graduate of Yale who lives in Bethesda, MD. Geoffrey Styles is Managing Director of GSW Strategy Group, LLC, an energy and environmental strategy consulting firm. His industry experience includes 22 years at Texaco Inc., culminating in a senior position on Texaco’s leadership team for strategy development, focused on the global refining, marketing, transportation and alternative energy businesses, and global issues such as climate change. Previously he held senior positions in alliance management, planning, supply & distribution, and risk management. David Hone is Climate Change Advisor for Shell since 2001, as well as a board member and Vice Chairman of the International Emissions Trading Association. He works closely with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and has been a lead contributor to its recent energy and climate change publications. Previously, David has worked as a refinery engineer in Australia, an oil economics and supply specialist, and manager of the global trading and chartering of Shell's crude oil tanker fleet. #TECwebcast
    4. 5. Unconventional Gas – The New Conventional! Tight Gas Shale Gas Coalbed Methane <ul><li>Occurs in ‘tight’ sandstone </li></ul><ul><li>Low porosity = Little pore space between the rock grains </li></ul><ul><li>Low permeability = gas does not move easily through the rock </li></ul><ul><li>Natural gas in coal (organic material converted to methane) </li></ul><ul><li>Permeability low </li></ul><ul><li>Production via natural fractures (“cleats”) in coal </li></ul><ul><li>Recovery rates low </li></ul><ul><li>Natural gas trapped betweens between layers of shale </li></ul><ul><li>Low porosity & ultra-low permeability (0.02-0.1 mD) </li></ul><ul><li>Production via natural fractures </li></ul>
    5. 6. Abundant: Huge Global Resources IEA estimates 250 years global supply at current production levels Conventional Gas Resources (tcm) Unconventional Gas Resources (tcm) Source: IEA World Energy Outlook, WoodMackenzie, Shell Interpretation North America Eurasia Middle East Asia Pacific Africa Europe Latin America
    6. 7. United States Gas Production (EIA Data): U.S. Natural Gas Marketed Production (MMcf per month)
    7. 8. Natural Gas and Climate Change: US Electricity Coal (IGCC or Supercritical PC) 1.8 lb/kWh 45.3% Natural Gas (CCGT) 0.8 lb/kWh 23.9% Wind 0.03 lb/kWh 2.1% Gasoline (Chevrolet Volt) ~1.7 lb/kWh EV power Key CO2 emissions from advanced generation Share of August 2010 ytd generation
    8. 9. Local Impacts of Natural Gas <ul><li>The same technology that has dramatically increased gas supplies has also elevated local environmental concerns. Why? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential water impacts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Quantity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Quality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Greatly expanded drilling footprint </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Number of US gas wells up by over 40% since 2000 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Drilling in unaccustomed places </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Some of these concerns are reasonable, but many are based on a poor understanding of what happens underground in a shale gas well. </li></ul>
    9. 10. Shale Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing <ul><li>Shale gas reservoirs are isolated from drinking water aquifers by thousands of feet of impermeable rock. </li></ul><ul><li>The well is isolated from drinking water by casing cemented to rock beyond the aquifer depth. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Frackwater” produced from the well is either recycled or disposed of per state regulations. </li></ul><ul><li>Accidents can happen, but they are not unique to fracking . </li></ul>Illustration credit: API
    10. 11. Thank You for Joining Us <ul><li>This webinar will be available on-demand at www.TheEnergyCollective.com. Stop by to learn more and share your comments. </li></ul><ul><li>Connect with our panelists on The Energy Collective using the Search feature </li></ul>

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