This month the Chemicals Industry recognised the need for modernisation of current legislation. President Obama signed a measure into law that provided federal standards for everyday chemicals. Electricity production from natural gas-fired power plants is expected to reach a record high this year, as the fuel source remains cheaper than coal and continues to act as a viable bridge fuel. The Oil & Gas Industry is continuing to defy market expectations and is striving to recover after a sustained period of falling prices. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister has claimed that the oil market is becoming more balanced and that prices are beginning to stabilise.
Congress finally modernises the US toxic chemicals law
United States congress has passed a long-awaited update of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. For the first time the new legislation will provide uniform federal standards for thousands of everyday chemicals. When President Obama signs the measure into law – which he is expected to do – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will obtain more authority to review and regulate new and existing chemicals. The law change is motivated by an erosion of trust among consumers in the Chemicals Industry. The new regulation will enable the industry “to get a stamp of approval from the federal government to tell consumers a product is safe to use as intended — that these have been looked at and determined that they are OK to use.”
The new law also gives the EPA clear authority to regulate a chemical if it finds it poses a risk to human health or the environment – banning it, restricting it or requiring specific warning labels.
Power from natural gas is set to reach a record high
Electricity production from natural gas-fired power plants can be a controversial process, but the fuel source remains cheaper than coal and production levels are expected to reach a record high this year. Natural gas-fired plants will provide 34% of the UK’s electricity this year and coal-fired plants, nuclear and renewables follow with 30%, 19% and 15%, respectively. The cost of natural gas has dropped dramatically in recent years – a result of new technologies that have opened up vast new areas in the United States to drilling – greatly increasing production levels. Although some environmental groups are deterred from natural gas electricity production because of the potential for leaks, the general view is that electricity production by these means is far better than burning coal.
“I subscribe to the view that natural gas is a very helpful bridge fuel,” said John Holdren, the president’s chief science advisor, at the EIA conference. “Natural gas technology can be done well or it can be done badly.”
Saudi energy minister says oil market is balancing
The Oil & Gas Industry has faced uncertainty in the last few years and questions remain over its recovery. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister has claimed that the oil market is becoming more balanced and that prices are beginning to stabilise.
“In doing so, the Kingdom secures the flow of oil supplies as it retains a spare production capacity,” the minister, attending a climate meeting in Berlin, was quoted.
The minister’s remarks echo earlier comments made in the Saudi city of Dhahran at a meeting with newly appointed OPEC secretary general, Mohammed Barkindo. Saudi Arabia is poised for a successful fourth quarter in the Oil & Gas Industry.
Industry in turmOil: IoT in the Oil & Gas Industry
Following the recent oil and gas price crash – crude oil prices per barrel dropped to less than $40, down more than 60% from the high of summer 2014 – the Oil & Gas Industry has faced significant financial uncertainty. To make up for lost revenue, oil and gas producers are looking for other ways to decrease production costs and invest in emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Thing (IoT). Data collection is the single-most important reason an oil and gas producer would implement an IoT solution. IoT devices can be used by oil and gas companies and their associated analytics to survey land for new potential drilling sites, then extract the oil from the ground. Being able to harness and use IoT data increases the efficiency of workflow, supply chain and people management. Using data to monitor equipment can save both millions of dollars and ensure a safer environment around drill sites.