Guest essay by Eric Worrall
NYT has revealed that a secret tape recording of a meeting of oil executives has shown that oil companies flare off unwanted natural gas.
A Secret Recording Reveals Oil Executives’ Private Views on Climate Change
At a meeting last year, industry leaders contradicted public claims that emissions of climate-warming methane are under control
By Hiroko Tabuchi
Sept. 12, 2020, 9:14 a.m. ET
Last summer, oil and gas-industry groups were lobbying to overturn federal rules on leaks of natural gas, a major contributor to climate change. Their message: The companies had emissions under control.
In private, the lobbyists were saying something very different.
At a discussion convened last year by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a group that represents energy companies, participants worried that producers were intentionally flaring, or burning off, far too much natural gas, threatening the industry’s image, according to a recording of the meeting reviewed by The New York Times.
“We’re just flaring a tremendous amount of gas,” said Ron Ness, president of the North Dakota Petroleum Council, at the June 2019 gathering, held in Colorado Springs. “This pesky natural gas,” he said. “The value of it is very minimal,” particularly to companies drilling mainly for oil.
The pushback against more stringent methane rules has been led by smaller, independent producers who argued the rules were unfairly burdensome for smaller drillers, because they could not afford to invest in costly leak-detection and capture technology.
Oil giants like BP, on the other hand, urged the federal government to keep methane regulations in place, saying it was “the right thing to do.”
Dan Haley, president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, laid out the stakes.
“Hippies were going to change the world, until they wanted to get a job and buy a BMW,” Mr. Haley said in the meeting. “In Colorado, we’ve been kind of playing a game of whack-a-mole. We went from where fracking was the dirty word, and contaminated your water. And we inundated them with information about that and blitzed the TV airwaves,” he said. “Then slowly that changed into a health and safety messaging. And so we’re ramping up our health and safety messaging.”
…Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/12/climate/methane-natural-gas-flaring.html
Wow, a tape recording of oil executives discussing normal conduct of business, and public relations strategies to counter negative messaging from activists so they can just get on with business.
I love Dan Haley’s whack-a-mole comment. We all know most hippies sold out and became yuppies. If Michael Moore’s film “Planet of the Humans” is any guide, some high profile climate activists may also be well along the path of following former hippies down the money trail.
As for the rule change, President Trump’s recently announced rule change is intended to stop small fossil fuel companies from being strangled by red tape. I suspect some big companies would love to keep as many onerous Obama era rules as possible, to keep profit margins high by messing up the ability of smaller independents to undercut big companies by delivering cheap fuel to customers.