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Gas from shale drilling to face strong headwinds next decade

Oil rigs in Permian produce associated gas

The US Energy Information Administration said in October that US crude oil production had climbed to 11.3 million barrels a day. That also means production of associated gas from shale wells is increasing as well. That would put the United States on a par with Russia, which surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of crude oil last year. With news like this, it’s fairly easy for shale oil producers to get caught up in day-to-day challenges associated with production and its challenges, like moving crude, associated gas, and natural gas liquids to market.

Developers often don’t focus on large-scale changes that have drastically affected the oil industry. However, historically certain events have radically changed the oil industry. I believe that a growing “green wave” may change global power and transportation and adversely affect shale oil’s future in the next 10–15 years. With breakthroughs in technology, changes may come even sooner.

Read article at Russo, T. (2019, February). Gas from shale drilling to face strong headwinds next decade. Natural Gas & Electricity 35/.7.  [node:read-more:link]

Reworking NEPA in the Age of Uncertainty

NEPA lacks a dispute resolution process

Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) over the years has produced a lot of paper, delays, and high costs to make sure that projects consider the environment and adequately mitigate project impacts on proposed energy projects, including renewable energy. Current attempts by the President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to revise the NEPA regulations and procedures will fail unless a cooling-off period coupled with dispute resolution with state agencies is established. [node:read-more:link]

Overlooked Environmental Improvements from US Liquefied Natural Gas Exports

Landed Global LNG Prices May 2018

We often overlook or take for granted the environmental improvements that will occur in developing countries that import LNG or countries that choose not to develop their shale gas resources. LNG imports to China, India and Mexico are largely driven by environmental concerns and government mandates. However, LNG prices are very high compared to pipeline gas. Now that Beijing has decided to impose tariffs on US LNG, China may turn to other suppliers or even develop its own shale gas resources. I discuss the pros and cons of these alternatives in:

Russo, T. (2018, September). Overlooked environmental improvements from US liquefied natural gas exports.Natural Gas & Electricity 35/2. Read the article [node:read-more:link]

Atlantic Coast states obstruct offshore wind despite saying it's wanted

Wind turbine heights

One would think that renewables like wind projects would have an easy time in getting permitted. Think again. It took America's first offshore wind farm seven years to begin construction. Is this good for America? I don't think so. Nor is it good for coastal states and their rate payers who are relying on offshore wind to save the day instead of nuclear and gas fired power plants. [node:read-more:link]

FERC’s 1999 Pipeline Policy Could Face Environmental Headwinds

Sailing in rough seas
While FERC and the gas pipeline industry believe that the policy will be tweaked, I see some serious NEPA challenges ahead. The issues seem similar to what FERC's hydropower program faced when the Commission was asked to analyze cumultive impacts in the mid 1980s. Also, the outcome of FERC's review will also spill over to LNG Export Terminals, especially with respect to the need to anlyze greenhouse gas and climate change in FERC environmental reviews.
Russo, T. (2018, May). FERC's 1999 pipeline policy could face environmental headwinds. Natural Gas & Electricity 34/10,  p. 18.

Taking Stock of NEPA at 48

Get a decision in 2 years instead of 10

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) turned 48 with the new year. I thought it would be a good idea to sit back and ponder whether NEPA has resulted in “environmentally responsible projects” or is just a long-winded compliance exercise, and an expensive one at that. The bigger question is whether we can ever get to a final decision in 2 years instead of 10 years as President Trump is advocating. [node:read-more:link]

Hydropower Consulting

Corps Dam with no power

Russo on Energy LLC is an expert in FERC hydropower licensing of existing and proposed new projects. We work jointly GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc, who specialize in dam safety and analysis of dams. We specialize in advising project developers and financial investors on FERC's hydropower licensing process and assessing the risks of conventional and pumped storage projects.  We specialize in analyzing the following projects: 

  • Relicensing existing FERC hydropower projects
  • Licensing newly proposed Open-Loop and Closed-Loop Pumped Storage Projects
  • Licensing projects at existing non-power dams,
  • FERC hydro-compliance and dam safety inspections, and
  • Proposed conduits exemptions

NEPA Impact Assessment Consulting

NEPA and Environmental Laws

Russo on Energy offers strategic and tactical advice on compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We also prepare and review  Environmental Assessments (EA) and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS). In addition, we review and provide independent review of EAs and EISs regarding compliance with NEPA and identify risks and gaps.  [node:read-more:link]


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Tom is a very thoughtful, conscientious professional in the energy industry, knowledgeable on a wide variety of matters relating to the regulation of energy systems, including oil, petroleum products, natural gas, electricity and hydroeletricity. He has shown great leadership in understanding and using technology to improve regulation, and had expanded that competency to address issues related to cyber security. He is particularly aware of the impact of regulation on businesses, the economy, and consumers.

Vice President, Regulatory Affairs at American Gas Association

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