Report: U.S. Beats Competitors with Low Carbon Intensity Oil

The United States is a global leader in minimizing greenhouse gas emissions from offshore production, according to a recent  from the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA).

The report, commissioned by NOIA and conducted by global advisory firm ICF, is a comprehensive analysis of the emissions intensity of offshore oil producing locations worldwide. This study is the first of its kind with researchers comparing carbon crude intensities from 103 different countries with a clear and consistent scope.

United States Maintains Low Emissions Intensity

The United States, particularly the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, is at the forefront of energy production.  Yet, despite being one of the top oil and gas producers in the world, U.S. oil and gas production has some of the lowest carbon intensive emissions worldwide, beating out competitors like Russia, China, Brazil, Iran, Iraq, and Nigeria..

Source: NOIA

NOIA President Erik Milito applauded this saying:

“Thanks to the remarkable efforts of the women and men producing energy in the Gulf of Mexico, we have an incredible source of reliable and responsibly produced energy. The Gulf of Mexico produces a massive amount of energy with a remarkably small footprint, and its continued success is critical for our energy security, national security, and energy affordability.”

The report also shows that if additional U.S. offshore oil production were to displace foreign production, it would lead to a net decrease in carbon intensity globally. This trend is even more pronounced for offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico with the report explaining:

“According to ICF’s estimate, if U.S. oil production were increased enough to offset foreign crude or condensate, it would result in a significant 23 percent reduction in the international carbon intensity for the displaced oil.” (emphasis added)

And continuing:

“[…] If U.S. Gulf of Mexico production were to increase enough to offset foreign crude or condensate, the resulting reduction in carbon intensity would be significant: a 46 percent decrease in the international average carbon intensity for the displaced oil.” (emphasis added)

Innovation, Efficiency, Continuous Improvement, and Regulatory Oversight in the U.S.:

It cannot be overstated the role that innovation and investment play in keeping emissions from production low, besides the unique properties of U.S. offshore production.

The U.S. Gulf of Mexico specifically can attribute, at least partially, the lower GHG emissions to its high volume of offshore projects. Offshore wells have an average productivity of 658 barrels of oil per day (BOE/day) versus onshore wells which come in at a much lower 33 BOE/day.

Offshore producing companies also voluntarily comply with multiple stringent emissions standards. Potential emissions factors such as venting and flaring are highly regulated, meaning they are limited to specific situations and are not able to exceed 48 hours without special approval. These regulations are only successful because of industry buy-in and speaks to the industry’s proactive role in the U.S. energy future.

Threats of methane leaks have also inspired innovation as companies continue to develop tools to prevent, monitor, and combat these leaks. Today, this looks like complex gas detection and flare monitoring technologies, including optical and thermal devices that can detect leaks and alert the operations team.

Bottom Line: Oil and natural gas have to and are going to continue to play a significant role in the global energy makeup. NOIA’s report provides evidence of what the United States has been advocating for decades: Emissions reduction goals do not have to come at the expense of our energy security. U.S. oil is and gas continues to be cleaner than the rest of the world, and continued investment is needed, and deserved.

Milito concurs and in an interview with Fox Digital says:

“The Biden administration, Congress, they have the ability to implement policies to either boost or harm U.S. oil and natural gas production. . . So, let’s make sure that we do it smartly, recognizing that we can do it cleaner, we can do it with far fewer emissions than other parts of the world.”


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