Carte Blanche or Coexistence?

Anticipating global energy usage

It is with a renewed sense of optimism that I returned from AAPG’s Global Super Basins Leadership Conference in Sugar Land, Texas. With an incredible lineup of speakers from across the globe, the subject matter was superb, touching on every angle of our energy sector. This was an excellent venue to showcase initiatives being made by professional geoscientists and engineers from the four corners of the planet in order to address not only the sustainability of affordable dependable energy upon which modern society depends, but also a collective recognition that the long-term solutions are likely binary rather than singularly focused.

Please log in to read the full article

It is with a renewed sense of optimism that I returned from AAPG’s Global Super Basins Leadership Conference in Sugar Land, Texas. With an incredible lineup of speakers from across the globe, the subject matter was superb, touching on every angle of our energy sector. This was an excellent venue to showcase initiatives being made by professional geoscientists and engineers from the four corners of the planet in order to address not only the sustainability of affordable dependable energy upon which modern society depends, but also a collective recognition that the long-term solutions are likely binary rather than singularly focused.

Carbon capture utilization and sequestration, methane emissions reductions, renewable energy sources (although still heavily subsidized), frac’ water optimization, environmental footprint and waste reduction initiatives were also on participants mind. It was reassuring to be among professionals of all ages whose common purpose was promoting sound scientific principles and research rather than a singularly focused sense of conviction.

The time required to change from one state or condition to another is known as “transition.” The word “time” is essential here: no flick of a switch, no magic wand – just as it took years to get to where we are. This is in part why we are not talking about complete freedom to act as one wishes going forward.

Consideration of social benefit must guide our objectives, which means that it is unreasonable to expect other developing nations to forfeit their own natural resources when they are just on the cusp of developing them. To expect others to remain in energy poverty to accommodate our ideals is an unreasonable expectation. Coexistence of proven affordable energy, more responsible consumption and development of economically viable (non-subsidized) alternate sources by large consuming societies will be what allows us to narrow the gap between the ideals so often stated on social media platforms and the reality of keeping humanity on a path of long-term prosperity.

As global population rises and the quest for sustainable quality of life continues across the world, the answers lie in responsible scientifically broached solutions such as those reflected in the material presented at the 2020 Global Super Basins Leadership Conference.

fdusbxurrzsadyacfs

Comments (3)

Subsidized Renewable Energy
Mary, Thanks for asking. The comment in my column refers to the renewable energy sector, not the Oil & Gas industry. At least here in Canada there have been substantial efforts made to provide grants for those types of efforts. At least in the past 5 years the focus of the Canadian Federal (as well as Alberta's former NDP government) has been to incentivize or subsidize renewable energy efforts as part of their diversification / transition aspirations. They also offered a large purse for successful CCUS R&D. The Quest project was our first big success story if I recall correctly. It would be good to see such projects stand on their own without that backing. As you must be aware, Canada's Oil & Gas industry has taken the brunt of global anti Oil & Gas sentiment. Albertans and I suspect Saskatchewan residents also, can't afford to carry these types of efforts any longer. It has adversely affected the lives of many families and individuals in both provinces.
Show more
3/4/2020 2:26:53 PM
Economic imperative of the energy transformation
There are many quantitative analyses available to the public beyond the social media referenced in this article. Among them WoodMac, Lazards, BNEF, Forbes, the Economist, even government platforms like the EIA and IRENA. These data should be considered carefully, along with those from think-tanks, as canaries in the coal mine if we as energy geoscientists don't want to be blindsided by economics even faster than our sisters in the coal industry. The paternalistic excuse of "alleviating energy poverty" is no longer valid. Developing nations (and the un- and under-electrified communities therein) are now the leaders in implementation of affordable, reliable and sustainable energy products, especially distributed energy resources (DERS), such as battery-backed solar. Not through subsidies, but via micro-financing and entrepreneurial endeavors of their citizens. If you remain in doubt, I suggest you turn to the ultimate economic data - the financial markets. Compare returns for the past five years from traditional energy companies with those of EV, solar, wind, utility and critical minerals firms.
Show more
3/4/2020 12:38:52 PM
Subsidizing energy
Francois, could you expand on how the fossil fuel energy in the U.S. is subsidized? In Louisiana, we give a lot of tax breaks for development of the gas shales like the Haynesville. Should the federal government be sponsoring fossil fuel related research rather than let this mature industry do what it does best, solve its own technical problems? It just seems so crazy to support the tax breaks and federal funding and all the other breaks for the fossil fuel industry (like look up how the federal government leases its lands and at what costs, and I do mean costs. These are great sales!!) then tear into breaks for newer energy types like solar and wind. It seemed like you did not really look into this deeply. I think it would have been a more balanced column if done.
Show more
3/3/2020 2:27:35 PM

You may also be interested in ...