Articles in This Issue
Carbon Capture and Storage: State of the Field
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are the separation of carbon dioxide (CO2) from waste gas streams generated by coal-fired power plants (or other industrial activities) followed by compression and subsurface injection for either sequestration or enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The regulatory climate around CCS is uncertain, particularly in the United States. Potential environmental impacts may result from implementation of CCS technologies that are distinct from impacts generally associated with power production.The discussion below outlines the current state of CCS technologies in terms of ongoing projects, existing regulation, and the potential environmental impacts associated with this fast-paced, interdisciplinary, and relatively new field.
The Latest Ongoing Methane Emissions Regulatory Developments
Regulatory and judicial developments continue to occur with regulations concerning methane emissions from the oil and natural gas sector. Some recent updates are provided below. Some of these developments follow in part from an executive order signed by President Trump on March 28, 2017 that directed executive departments and agencies to review regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources.
California Approves Regulation to Reduce Risk of Catastrophic Events at Refineries
On May 18, 2017, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved a landmark regulation to strengthen workplace safety and health at oil refineries across the state. The new regulation provides a framework to help employers anticipate, prevent, and respond to hazards at refineries that can threaten workers and area residents. Among the elements outlined in the regulation to be enforced by Cal/OSHA, refinery employers are required to conduct Damage Mechanism Reviews, conduct a Hierarchy of Hazard Controls Analysis, and implement a Human Factors Program for their worksites.
Casing-Integrated, Surface-Activated Well Control Tool Supplements BOP In Uncontrolled Blowout Scenarios
The article is based on work the Exponent team did to support Royal Dutch Shell in developing tools to enhance drilling safety. The tool featured in the article is intended to be an integral part of the casing string and to supplement the blowout preventer in arresting the influx of hydrocarbons into a well during drilling operations.
Underground Storage Operators Must Fully Understand the 2016 PIPES Act
Underground gas storage (UGS) operators need a full understanding of the recommended practices and regulations enacted by the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016, their interactions, and their potential impacts on the UGS industry. The regulatory landscape of underground natural gas storage changed with passage of the 2016 PIPES Act.
Underground Gas Storage Regulatory Considerations: A Guide for State Regulatory Agencies
The report, authored by the Natural Gas Storage Work Group, is on underground gas storage, and it evaluates potential vulnerabilities at gas storage operations and identifies prospective regulatory responses for consideration by state and federal agencies. It addresses the regulatory framework of underground gas storage, risk management, state permitting, well drilling and construction, well integrity, reservoir integrity, monitoring, and emergency response planning among other topics.