Rob Jackson, professor, Environmental Earth System Science, Stanford University
Monday, September 29, 2014 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All
Unconventional oil and natural gas extraction fueled by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is driving an economic boom, with consequences described as “revolutionary” to “disastrous”. Reality lies somewhere in between. Unconventional energy generates income and, done well, can reduce air pollution compared to other fossil fuels and even water use compared to fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Alternatively, it could release toxic chemicals into water and air and slow the adoption of renewables. Based on research to date, some primary threats to water resources come from surface spills, wastewater disposal, and drinking-water contamination through poor well integrity. For air resources, an increase in volatile organic compounds and air toxics locally is a potential health threat, but the switch from coal to natural gas for electricity generation will reduce sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, and particulate pollution regionally. Data gaps are particularly evident for human health studies, the extent to which natural gas will displace coal compared with renewables, and the decadal-scale legacy issues of well integrity, leakage, and plugging and abandonment practices. Critical needs for future research include data for 1) estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) of unconventional hydrocarbons; 2) the potential for further reductions of water requirements and chemical toxicity; 3) whether unconventional resource development alters the frequency of well-integrity failures; 4) potential contamination of surface and ground waters from drilling and spills; 5) factors that could cause wastewater injection to generate large earthquakes; and 6) the consequences of greenhouse gases and air pollution on ecosystems and human health.
Mark Lerdal, Hydrogen California and MP2 Capital
Monday, November 12, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All
Hydrogen Energy California is a project for converting fossil fuels to hydrogen in order to generate clean power and manufacture low-carbon fertilizer products. HECA will be one of the first industrial complexes combining a large, commercial scale power plant and a low-carbon footprint fertilizer manufacturing facility, while capturing the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the fossil fuel to hydrogen conversion process. Utilizing the CO2 for fertilizer production and enhanced oil recovery increases domestic energy security, while simultaneously storing the captured CO2 permanently in the geologic formations where the oil was extracted. It is a project that offers California, the nation, and the world progress toward controlling global climate change, while providing enormous economic stimulus through construction and related jobs over the intermediate term and permanent manufacturing and related jobs over the long term.
Mark Thurber, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford University
Monday, February 6, 2012 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | NVIDIA Auditorium, Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center | Free and Open to All
State-owned oil and natural gas companies, such as Saudi Aramco, Petróleos de Venezuela and China National Petroleum Corp., own 73 percent of the world's oil reserves and 68 percent of its natural gas. They bankroll governments across the globe. Although national oil companies superficially resemble private-sector companies, they often behave in very different ways.
Oil and Governance: State-Owned Enterprises and the World Energy Supply (Cambridge University Press, 2012), a new book commissioned by Stanford University's Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, explains the variation in performance and strategy for such state-owned enterprises. The book, which Mark Thurber co-edited and contributed to, also provides fresh insights into the future of the oil industry and the politics of the oil-rich countries where national oil companies dominate.
Though national oil companies have often been the subject of case studies, for the first time multiple case studies followed a common research design, which aided the relative ranking of performance and the evaluation of hypotheses about such companies' performance. Interestingly, some of the worst performing of these operations belong to countries quite unfriendly to the United States. Mark will also discuss the industrial structure of the oil industry, and the politics and administration of national oil companies. One result of the dominance of this structure for oil markets is that high prices often lead to lower supplies and low prices lead to increased production -- the opposite response of private companies.
- Zhi-Xun Shen, Stanford Institute for Materials & Energy Science (SIMES)
- Sally Benson, Global Climate and Eneregy Project GCEP
- Stacey Bent, TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy
- Jim Sweeney, Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC)
- Frank Wolak, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD)
- Larry Goulder, Stanford Environment and Energy Policy Analysis Center (SEEPAC)
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All
Franklin M. ("Lynn") Orr, Jr. became the director of the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford upon its establishment in 2009. He served as director of the Global Climate and Energy Project from 2002 to 2008. Orr was the Chester Naramore Dean of the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University from 1994 to 2002. He has been a member of the Stanford faculty since 1985 and holds the Keleen and Carlton Beal Chair of Petroleum Engineering in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering, and is a Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment. His research activities focus on how complex fluid mixtures flow in the porous rocks in the Earth's crust, the design of gas injection processes for enhanced oil recovery, and CO2 storage in subsurface formations. Orr is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He serves as vice chair of the board of directors of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and he chairs the Science Advisory Committee for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and was a foundation board member from 1999-2008.
Adam Brandt, Stanford University
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | 04:15 PM - 05:15 PM | Building 420, Room 40 | Free and Open to All
The ongoing transition to oil substitutes poses economic, environmental, and political risks. In particular, the problems of oil depletion and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are unavoidably intertwined: any shortfall in conventional oil will induce the production of oil substitutes such as unconventional hydrocarbons or biofuels, which have differing GHG emissions per unit of fuel produced. This transition could have positive or negative impacts on total GHG emissions depending on the resources used and the regulatory environment in which it takes place. Professor Brandt explores this transition using a large-scale mathematical model of future transportation fuel production. He discusses future research to improve our understanding of the environmental impacts from oil substitutes.
* Energy Social following the talk (details will be announced at the seminar)