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Natural Gas

Oil companies swam in record profits over the last few months at a time when Americans struggled to pay for gasoline, food and other basic necessities. On Friday, Exxon Mobil booked an unprecedented $17.85 billion profit for the second quarter and Chevron made a record $11.62 billion. The sky-high profits come one day after the U.K.’s Shell shattered its own profit record. Soaring energy prices have rattled consumers and become a political flash point. Last month, President Joe Biden said that “Exxon made more money than God this year.”

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Help me out here. Explain to me how importing $118 a barrel oil from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, or Iran, perhaps even Russia is good for Americans. Is it not a known fact that we have plenty of oil domestically and we can be as energy independent as we were two years ago? How can it be possible to help our balance of payment situation to continue this policy, or isn’t that important?

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Rising prices for oil and natural gas unsettled the global economic recovery in 2021. The biggest crunch came in Europe, where by December natural gas prices had soared more than nine times their level at the start of the year amid fears that reserves would run out in a colder than average winter. Energy prices spilled over into geopolitics as Russian President Vladimir Putin cited Europe's gas shortage to push for final regulatory approval of the contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Amid tensions over Russian troop movements near Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was "very unlikely" Nord Steam gas would flow if Russia attacked.

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The president and whomever he chooses to serve as his Interior secretary will have broad authority to decide what kind of energy development should take place on land owned by the federal government. On this question, Biden has been clear — he has said he would not issue new leases for fracking on federal lands.

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TRUMP: “Thanks to our bold regulatory reduction campaign, the United States has become the number one producer of oil and natural gas, anywhere in the world, by far.”

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For now, Heliogen is squarely focused on solar. One problem with solar is that the sun doesn't always shine, yet industrial companies like cement makers have a constant need for heat. Heliogen said it would solve that issue by relying on storage systems that can hold the solar energy for rainy days.

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ANDREW YANG: "They are right that we need to take urgent action, but the timeline that they put out there would do away with commercial air travel and a lot of other things in a particular time frame." — candidates' town hall on CNN.

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The U.S. natural gas infrastructure includes a million miles of pipes and millions of valves, fittings, tanks, compressors and other components that operate 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, to deliver natural gas to your home. Natural gas can travel over 1,000 miles from the well to end use. During that long journey, gas has many opportunities to escape into the atmosphere. This includes unwanted leaks from faulty components as well as intentional venting of gas from devices that use the high-pressure gas to open and close valves.

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Because the natural gas infrastructure is so vast, it is not possible to measure every leak from every faulty valve or fitting. Indeed, we don’t even have accurate estimates of the total number of valves and fittings. The best way to estimate the total amount of methane emissions from the natural gas infrastructure is to perform as many measurements as possible from as many different types of components as possible. The reason that one has to perform hundreds or even thousands of measurements from each type of equipment is so that you can capture the high-emitting sources (the so-called super-emitters), which are low in number but their emissions are so high that they can account for 50% to 80% of the total emissions.

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Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas, with more than 80 times the climate warming impact of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it is released. Studies show that if methane leaked at a rate of greater than 3%, there would be no immediate climate benefits from retiring coal-fired power plants in favor of natural gas power plants. The good news is that a 2.3% leak rate suggests that natural gas power plants are slightly more beneficial to the climate in comparison to coal-fired power plants. However, the results of our studies also showed that power plants could show more substantial benefit to the climate if the industry reduced the total methane leakage rate to 1%, which many of our industry partners believe to be achievable.

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The EPA estimates that the proposed new amendments would save the oil and gas industry $17 to $19 million per year. While this may sound like a lot of money, it pales in comparison to the economic value to be gained by minimizing leakage. We estimate that reducing methane emissions from 2.3% to 1% would result in an annual revenue of over a half billion dollars per year, which is more than 30 times the estimated savings from rolling back the regulations. Many oil and gas companies recognize this fact, and they also recognize that regulations are needed to ensure that all companies are held to the same standard.

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TRUMP: "I feel that the United States has tremendous wealth. The wealth is under its feet. I've made that wealth come alive. ... We are now the number one energy producer in the world." — news conference with Macron.

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