The amount of natural gas released or burned at oil-and-gas wells reached a record high in 2019 due to growth in Texas and North Dakota, per Energy Information Administration data.
Why it matters: Venting directly releases the highly potent planet-warming gas methane, while flaring (or burning) produces CO2 emissions and also allows some methane escape.
New York's $226 billion pension fund has set a 2040 goal to neutralize its carbon emissions and may divest from oil and gas companies in order to achieve it, the state's comptroller announced Wednesday.
Why it matters: The proposal, from America's third-largest public pension fund, is one of the more significant moves in the divestment battle that's been building over the last several years.
Two huge oil companies charting different paths through the industry's uneven movement toward lower-carbon sources are both coming under fresh — but different — forms of pressure and scrutiny.
Driving the news: The Financial Times scooped yesterday that several clean energy executives have left Shell "amid a split over how far and fast the oil giant should shift towards greener fuels."
Exxon has paused plans to develop a major carbon storage project in Wyoming as the pandemic curtails industry spending plans, according to Bloomberg.
Why it matters: Experts, including the UN's climate science panel, say CO2 trapping and removal tech will need to play a role in holding warming in check.
One of America's biggest oil producers, Occidental Petroleum, has a new term to describe how it hopes to evolve in response to climate change.
What they're saying: “Ultimately, I don’t know how many years from now, Occidental becomes a carbon management company and our oil and gas would be a support business unit for the management of that carbon," Occidental CEO Vicki Hollub told IHS Markit's Daniel Yergin in an interview.
Crude prices are trading at nine-month highs after a protracted OPEC+ meeting ended with plans to just slightly boost output and fresh signs emerged of a potential Beltway deal on new stimulus.
Driving the news: OPEC+ yesterday avoided a breakdown that would have led to a large output boost in January.
The Interior Department on Thursday said it will auction oil drilling leases in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in early January.
Why it matters: The procedural step would make it harder for President-elect Joe Biden to thwart drilling in the region, even though any actual development is years away.
There doesn't seem to be an oil major that's got it all figured out between the pandemic, cloudy demand and price outlooks, and the unknown path through a world getting a bit more serious about climate.
Driving the news: ExxonMobil yesterday afternoon showed the latest signs of its struggle to position itself as it announced large write-offs and a big rethink of long-term spending.
Powerful lobbying groups are throwing their support behind oil companies' efforts to keep climate-related lawsuits against the industry out of state courts.
Driving the news: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, among others, filed amicus briefs this week supporting Big Oil companies in a pending jurisdictional case before the Supreme Court.
Dozens of oil-and-gas companies — including the big ones like BP, Shell and Total — are pledging to provide more detailed information about their methane emissions.
Why it matters: Methane is a very strong planet-warming gas and atmospheric concentrations keep rising, as new World Meteorological Organization data shows. Releases or leaks from oil-and-gas well sites, pipeline and other infrastructure are a key source.