The pipeline industry is changing. There’s no debating that global energy demand is continuing to rise, but how those needs are met is of increasing concern to consumers and providers alike. As the world strives to put the COVID-19 pandemic in the rearview mirror, balancing our energy needs with carbon emissions has become a primary focus in the pipeline industry.
During the past 18 months, several oil and gas pipeline operators are leading the way with initiatives to reduce carbon emissions throughout their operations, including the creation of sustainable measures to power facilities and infrastructure, the development of carbon capture technologies and the introduction of renewable sources of energy to flow through pipeline systems.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global energy demand is set to increase by 4.6 percent in 2021, exceeding 2019 levels. Demand for all fossil fuels is on course to grow significantly in 2021, with both coal and gas on course to rise above 2019 levels. Oil is also rebounding strongly but is expected to stay below its 2019 peak.
However, with this increased demand comes increased emissions. The IEA also reported that global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are on course to surge by 1.5 billion tonnes in 2021. This would result in the second-largest increase in history, reversing most of last year’s decline caused by the pandemic, according to the IEA’s Global Energy Review 2021, released in April.
“This is a dire warning that the economic recovery from the COVID crisis is currently anything but sustainable for our climate,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol. “Unless governments around the world move rapidly to start cutting emissions, we are likely to face an even worse situation in 2022.”
While the U.S. government has placed restrictions on new pipeline development, the industry isn’t standing still. I’m proud to be involved with developing the 2021 Pipeline Leadership Conference, which will feature a slate of panel discussions focused on navigating the Energy Transition and leading pipelines into the future.
This year’s speakers represent the pipeline industry’s top decision-makers who are leading efforts to update energy assets for a low-carbon future, including 2021 Pipeline Leadership Award winner Todd Denton of Phillips 66 Pipelines; Andrew Isherwood of TC Energy; Charles McConnell of the University of Houston; Kristine Wiley of the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), and many more.
I invite you to join me Nov. 17-18 in Houston to take part in this discussion. You can review the agenda on p. 6-7 of the magazine and register at plconference.com. I look forward to seeing you there.