Those in the oil and gas pipeline industry know that fossil fuels will not be so easily replaced as a primary energy source in North America. However, it is clear that reducing greenhouse gas emissions and “decarbonizing” the energy industry has become a key driver for innovation and business development.
During the first half of the year, numerous energy pipeline and utility companies have announced plans to achieve net zero GHG emissions across their operations. Members of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA), for instance, have committed to achieving zero emissions by 2050. Companies that have pledged such goals include Kinder Morgan, Williams Cos. and Enbridge. As one of the largest gas utility companies in the United States, SoCalGas committed to reaching net-zero by 2045.
Other companies are developing projects that incorporate low-emissions initiatives or are aimed at carbon capture technology.
Pembina and TC Energy announced a joint project in June to develop a world-scale carbon transportation system in Alberta, Canada, dubbed the Alberta Carbon Grid, which will use existing pipelines to transport up to 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
Kinder Morgan formed a new Energy Transition Ventures group in March to explore the commercial opportunities within the evolving low-carbon sector.
Hydrogen and renewable natural gas (RNG) have become major areas for research and development among groups like the Gas Technology Institute and the Clean Hydrogen Future Coalition, which are leading efforts to study how hydrogen can be incorporated into the energy mix. Likewise, companies like UGI, Williams, SoCalGas, Dominion and others have launched programs to incorporate hydrogen and RNG.
“Energy Transition” is the name of the game, but where do pipelines fit into the picture? Existing pipelines could be called on to carry low-carbon fuels. In the case of hydrogen gas, groups like GTI are looking into the how current infrastructure will be impacted and what — if any — modifications will need to be made to safely and efficiently carry this form of energy.
As the industry evolves, the future of energy pipelines will require all forms of energy, including oil, gas, hydrogen, RNG and more. Check out our cover story on p. 20 to learn more about how hydrogen is impacting the pipeline industry and what you can do to prepare for the changes to come.