President Joe Biden, upon taking the reins of leadership, made it very clear that he is going to focus on clean energy and preserving the environment. On day one, he cancelled the permits for the Keystone XL Pipeline cross-border oil transportation project. I guess his advisers pointed out to him that the pipeline isn’t that economic right now. Canada is a nice stable trading partner and had great plans for the pipeline. They also know that oil prices will be going up soon. Canada is our biggest source of energy imports. The president forgot that pipelines are cheaper and safer than rail and trucks. Canada may as well ship their oil to Asia. When oil hits $100 per barrel again, I expect Mr. Biden will be sorry. We are and will remain in need of hydrocarbons for transportation well into the future. A healthy oil industry will be needed as we transition to clean energy sources.
Chris Walker, vice president of the Division of Environmental Geosciences, is a carbon capture, usage and storage geologist at BP and has provided us with some food for thought as the petroleum industry moves into 2021.
He said, “Throughout 2020, more energy companies rolled out net-zero ambitions and pledged to invest in methods to lower their carbon emissions. Many stated that they would seek to invest in (CCUS) projects and technologies to facilitate these emission reductions. The primary source of value for CCUS projects in the United States is the Section 45Q tax credits that allow up to $50 per ton of carbon dioxides placed into secure geological storage, or $35 per ton used for enhanced oil recovery.”
“The fledgling CCUS industry received two boosts recently,” Walker explained. “First, in the Consolidated Appropriations Bill at the end of 2020, the ‘begin construction’ deadline a CCUS project has to meet in order to qualify for the tax credits was extended by two years to Jan. 1, 2026. This will allow more time for the complex subsurface appraisal, permitting, contract negotiations and detailed design work to take place in order for these projects to be developed at a natural pace.”
“Second, the final version of the 45Q regulations themselves were published in the Federal Register, clarifying the details of the tax credit as it relates to the recapture period, the definition of carbon capture equipment and how to demonstrate secure geological storage through an ISO pathway, as well as EPA Subpart RR. These developments will help to ensure that the CCUS industry can continue to grow and provide opportunities for geoscientists to contribute to the energy transition as the world begins to move to a net zero future,” he added.
You can learn more about the growing CCUS industry, and the opportunities available for geoscientists, by participating in the upcoming AAPG CCUS conference that will be held online March 23-25, 2021. Registration is now open and available at AAPG.to/ccus2021reg.
Mining Applications for Plastic Waste?
The world has changed, and we bring much experience to future explorations.
Most of all, we bring our vast experience to the protection of groundwater and our environment. We will be working for environmental companies, land developers and smaller operators as oil development scales down.
And we could benefit from reading “Recycling Reimagined,” by Maria Temming, in the Jan. 30, 2021 issue of Science News. It was very interesting and it opened my eyes to the current state of recycling plastics. Only two types of plastics are commonly recycled in the United States. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that in 2018 alone, the United States landfilled 27 million tons of plastic and only recycled 3 million tons. Worldwide, of the 6.3 billion tons of plastic discarded, only 9 percent was recycled, 12 percent was burned and 80 percent was piled up on land and in waterways.
Chemists designed their plastics without considering what to do with them after they were used. The current plan is to use a compatibilizer molecule to break down the polymer chains. I suspect it will be somewhat like heap leaching gold.
Could this be applied in pits where the operator passes solvents over the plastic to dissolve them so that they can be reused? Different solvents will take out different plastics. All could be reused many times. Just a thought.
Stay safe and be well.