Expert Q&A: David Felcman Discusses Considerations for Oil and Gas Companies Transitioning to a Lower Carbon Future
David Felcman is a senior oil and gas (O&G) program analyst with 30 years of industry experience in the areas of environmental health and safety (EHS), environmental social governance (ESG) reporting, operational management systems, and crisis management.
During his career, David has served in various EHS leadership positions within O&G midstream companies. In these roles, he has been responsible for developing operational and environmental management systems; designing and implementing environmental information management systems; developing and maintaining greenhouse gas (GHG) emission inventories; and serving as the EHS subject matter expert in developing annual ESG reports. He has served on corporate and industry association teams that were tasked with identifying potential carbon reduction strategies.
David has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University.
What factors should O&G companies consider as they transition toward carbon neutrality?
There are several factors that O&G companies will want to consider as they develop carbon transition plans, including the makeup of the organization’s scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions, expectations of the organization’s stakeholders, and anticipated business impacts of related government policies and regulations. Having a good inventory of organizational scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions aids in identifying where the greatest opportunities for reductions exist and in reporting progress on reduction goals.
Understanding customer, investor, regulator, and employee concerns and expectations through stakeholder engagement also helps ensure that transition plans consider their most important issues.
It also is important to know how existing and potential government regulations and tax policies might impact the business. As the organization explores carbon reduction opportunities and transitional technologies, they should consider opportunities and risk that could result from government policy action.
To support our clients’ transition toward carbon neutrality, Tetra Tech offers GHG inventory development, data management, and reporting services that help leadership understand, track, and manage their company’s carbon transition. Through our stakeholder engagement services, we gather relevant feedback and identify primary concerns through tracking, data management, proactive communications, and stakeholder outreach meetings.
What strategies can O&G companies use as they contemplate a lower carbon footprint?
A common strategy is repowering existing process equipment with renewable energy, whether transmitted from the power grid or self-powering via on-site solar or wind installations. Development of utility-scale renewable installations for sale on the grid is another option. Other potential strategies include developing renewable natural gas; implementing carbon capture and storage (CCS); and producing blue or green hydrogen. Tetra Tech has proven experience with each of these solutions and can conduct engineering and economic feasibility studies for companies to assist in evaluating these potential opportunities.
Some companies have formed joint ventures or offshoot companies that concentrate on technology development. These strategies may provide the opportunity to use existing assets like pipelines as part of a CCS solution. Another strategy is to pursue acquisitions and divestitures that will transition the company to a lower carbon intensity footprint.
Companies also can conduct a process efficiency study or consider green certification programs to differentiate their products or services from others in the market. For example, a company can implement a robust methane management and reduction program along the natural gas value chain. After a third-party certifies the product, the product can then be marketed as responsibly sourced natural gas.
How does Tetra Tech support our O&G clients in developing an energy transition strategy?
Tetra Tech offers a wide range of services to support our O&G clients in developing and implementing carbon transition strategies. We offer a full range of ESG planning and support services such as stakeholder engagement, outreach programs, emissions inventory, and data management solutions. We conduct engineering and feasibility studies, as well as cost/benefit analyses. We also offer a full range of project development services including siting, permitting, engineering design, and construction services to support our clients once they decide to move forward with a carbon transition strategy.
While fossil fuels will continue to be a significant part of our energy mix for years to come, the transition to renewable energy alternatives is rapidly accelerating. As technology advances, renewable solutions become more cost effective, and elected leaders implement policies to advance renewable energy solutions. Tetra Tech is uniquely positioned to assist and support our O&G clients as they successfully transition to a lower carbon future.