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API: US-based oil, gas industry invests heavily to reduce GHG emissions

Investments in greenhouse gas mitigating technologies in North America surged during 2009-10, said a report commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute. The report showed the US-based oil and natural gas industry contributed nearly half of an estimated $225 billion total investment.

Industry invested $108 billion in GHG mitigating technologies, including the development of shale gas, and $71 billion without shale gas investments. Other US-based private industries invested $74 billion and the US government invested $43 billion during 2009-10, the report said.

Kyle Isakower, API vice-president of regulatory and economic policy, told reporters during an Oct. 20 conference call, that API commissioned the report to inform the public about industry’s commitment to GHG mitigating technologies.

The report estimated industry’s GHG mitigating investments, which included shale gas, efficiency improvements including combined heat and power, and advanced technology for vehicles. Oil and gas companies reduced natural gas flaring and fugitive emissions to curb methane releases while adding to gas supplies through gas production from shale plays, Isakower said.

For the latest report, API included industry’s investments in shale gas development because the use of gas can displace the use of coal, which helps reduce GHG emissions, Isakower said. The report noted the potential for GHG mitigation was determined by the amount of gas-on-gas substitution vs gas-on-coal.

The federal government invested in energy efficient lighting, wind, solar, biofuels, and basic research with some of that investment during 2009-10 stemming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Major investments by other private industries included advanced technology vehicles, efficiency improvements in electric generation, biofuels, wind, and solar.

Thomas Tanton, president of T2 and Associates, prepared the report for API, entitled “Key Investments in Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Technologies from 2000 Through 2010 by Energy Firms, Other Industry, and the Federal Government.”

Tanton wrote the report after his company compiled information from more than 565 publicly available documents or web sites, including corporate annual reports, federal budget documents, and other public sources.

Oil and gas investments

Of its GHG mitigation investments, the oil and gas industry spent $60.5 billion on fuel substitution efforts. Shale gas investments accounted for $37 billion of the $60.5 billion, the report said.

Compared with industry’s investment patterns from 2000-10, the fuel substitution investments jumped during 2990-10, the report said. Isakower attributed this surge to investments for shale gas development along with shale play research and development investments.

“These significant new investments were made in the face of a persistent recession,” the report noted.

The Energy Information Administration reported on Aug. 18 that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the US during 2010 increased by 213 million tonnes, or 3.9%, compared with 2009. The US-based oil and gas industry reported direct emission reductions of 55.9 million tonnes during 2010 compared with 2009, the API report said.

The 55.9 million tonnes equates to 11.2 million passenger vehicles taken off the roads, API calculated. The US Department of Transportation in 2009 reported 246 million cars and trucks total in the US.

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