Attendees of GasTech 2019 in Houston, USA, got more than they signed up for when Tropical Storm Imelda decided to crash the party. Imelda inundated the city and surrounding parts of southeast Texas, with some areas receiving more than 40 in. (101.6 cm) of rain over a 48-hour period. As of press time, the US National Weather Service reports the highest rainfall amount was 43.35 in. (110.1 cm) in Port Arthur, Texas, USA. Imelda has gone on record as the fourth wettest tropical cyclone to hit Texas — and the seventh wettest in US history.
For Houston, Imelda marks its second “1000-year storm” within two years. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey saturated the city with more than 60 in. (152.4 cm) of rainfall. And Houston is not alone. Storms are getting stronger. Summers are getting hotter. Météo-France, France’s meteorological service, reported temperatures of 108.6°F (42.6°C) in Paris on July 25th, a new record for the City of Lights. Anchorage, Alaska, USA, topped out at 90°F (32.2°C) on July 4th, setting a new record for a city that typically averages 67°F (19.4°C) in July. The list goes on. All around the world, climate is changing.
Oil and gas majors have begun to discuss climate change openly. A topic that was once relegated to backroom talks and off-the-record conversations is now public dialogue. In its latest earnings call, BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley took time during the post-report Q&A to address climate change directly.
“We absolutely support the Paris Agreement goals. We do believe the world is not on a sustainable path. We have recognized the importance of climate change for some time. We recognize the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as the primary source of information on climate science. We’ve called for action for 20 years, and the Paris Agreement’s goal of reaching net zero in the second half of the century — specifically, the Paris Agreement goal of limiting the temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius. We support this rapid transition. It is both good for society and it is going to be in BP’s best interest as well. Slow or very delayed transition increases the risk of some sort of costly and disruptive event later on. So, as a global energy company, we have to contribute to the dual challenge. And, we’ve said it is not a race to renewables; it is a race to reduce emissions from all kinds of fuels. We need to all come together and take action collectively to bring about a rapid transition to a low-carbon future.”
As an industry, we have made considerable strides to run equipment more efficiently, to introduce products and technologies that tackle greenhouse gases and reduce emissions. More is on the way. Technology was presented at GasTech 2019 that will help curb emissions – equipment that can do much more within a much smaller footprint, new materials technology that prolongs the life of disposable components, and myriad renewable-natural-gas projects, to name a few.
By continuing climate change dialogue, even more can be done. As an industry, let’s face this global dilemma head on and show the world that, despite the loud voice of protest, the natural gas industry is a good steward of planet Earth.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Third Coast Publishing Group and/or Gas Compression Magazine. (In other words, questions and concerns should be sent directly to the author. Praises and accolades should be sent to company management.)