Much ado about nothing

It’s become difficult to decipher between reality and alarmism these days. To add insult to injury, President Trump can’t seem to take two steps without being ridiculed from every direction.

The latest point of contention has been his decision to disengage from the Paris Climate Accord (PCA). But is all the noise justified? Perhaps not, and here’s why.

First, the agreement is called an “accord” in the United States, rather than a treaty. This is significant because the difference is that a treaty must be ratified by the U.S. Senate. Fearing rejection in Congress, former Secretary of State, John Kerry argued against binding targets to reduce emissions such as those in the Kyoto Protocol. As an “accord”, the President could bypass Congress and commit $1 billion in taxpayer dollars towards the $100 billion-dollar goal promised by signors of the climate agreement to assist developing nations reach their respective climate goals. That’s $1 billion dollars that could have been used on research and development of innovative and emerging energy technologies on America soil.

Some would have you believe that by withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, the U.S. is taking a stand against meaningful environmental progress, or worse, that the global climate is doomed. Neither could be further from the truth.

In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol, a global climate treaty requiring a 5.2 percent reduction on 1990 carbon dioxide levels, was adopted in Japan. The details on implementation of the Protocol were ratified by 191 United Nations countries in 1997. The first commitment period for the treaty began four years after the Protocol became international law in 2004, and ended in 2012.

Though the treaty was supported by then president Bill Clinton and vice president, Al Gore, it did not have the support of the Republican-held Senate.

The globe’s top three emitting nations are China, the U.S., and India, none of which ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Of the three, the U.S. has been the only country to consistently reduce emissions. Between 1992 and 2004, the U.S. reduced emissions by 13.3 percent. During the same period, China increased emissions a whopping 189.6 percent, and emissions in India rose by 73.3 percent. Fast forward to 2012 and you’ll see that the U.S. continued the trend in emissions reduction.

Without having ratified the Kyoto treaty, the U.S. led the charge as the first major industrialized nation to meet the requirements of the Protocol.

In 2012, the same year the treaty ended, carbon emissions from U.S. energy consumption were the lowest they’d been since 1994, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Remarkably, this was while record-level crude oil production was taking place; the highest for any year, in fact, since 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol was first ratified.

Flourishing energy development in recent years has been a boon to the national economy, however, if the U.S. were to commit to the Paris Climate Accord, the economy would suffer greatly. A study by National Economic Research Associates estimated a loss of nearly 3 million U.S. jobs by 2025. By 2040, the study predicts that a host of industries would be wiped out altogether, eliminating jobs, production, and tax revenue from vital sectors of the American workforce.

Arguably the worst part of the Accord is the fact that it would have no significant effect on global temperatures. A peer-reviewed paper by Dr. Bjorn Lomborg published in the Global Policy journal determined that even if every country achieves their emissions goal by 2030, the total temperature reduction by 2100 would be only 0.048 degrees Celsius (0.086 degrees Fahrenheit). Extending the climate commitments another 70 years, according to Dr. Lomborg’s research, still proves little discernable benefit to the global temperature.

President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord should be acknowledged for what it truly is; a stand not against addressing global climate change, but against global government by fiat.

The U.S. continues to make strides in energy and environmental progress. Emissions have been on a steady decline since 2008. Through the first half of 2016, U.S. emissions were the lowest in 25 years (Energy Information Administration). Better yet, increased production of oil and natural gas has led to lower energy prices, and provided family wage jobs to people from all walks of life.

Climate agreement or not, as history has proven once before, the U.S. will continue to lead the world in energy innovation and environmental stewardship.


Contact: Jessica Sena,

What is “Combustion Efficiency?”
By: Casey Beeler, Vice President, IES, LLC.

In terms of oil field combustion equipment, combustion efficiency can mean a variety of things. In the world of natural draft combustors, the term usually refers to how “efficiently” the combustion device removes a target compound in a waste gas feed. Those target compounds, typically hydrocarbons, can range from low BTU (BTU/ft3), predominantly methane mixtures, to high, 3500 BTU or greater gas containing rich mixes of methane through C6+’s (Hexanes and larger hydrocarbons). The seemingly simple and often overlooked waste gas combustor is a workhorse in the field, required to meet the most complex and strictest regulated specifications.

“Remove” is really a misnomer. In 100% efficient combustion reaction (typically known as: Ideal, Theoretic, or Stoichiometric Combustion), the combustor should convert all of target contaminant hydrocarbon, say, methane (CH4) into Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Water (H2O) and Nitrogen gas (N2) plus heat – nothing else, nothing more.

This works very well in the theoretic world, but as any experienced hand will tell you, things are usually far from the ideal in the oil patch. Long chain hydrocarbons that should be liquid; but somehow stayed in a vapor state, exotic cyclic and double- or triple-bonded hydrocarbons, sulfur containing compounds, higher than expected oxygen levels, and entrained liquids are all (just to name a very few) situations that can influence how efficiently your combustor is combusting. These types of situations only take into consideration the feed gas stream; external factors can also turn a combustion device from an extremely efficient piece of equipment, into a soot-laden, smoke-belching, fine-inducing nightmare faster than you can say “what inspector?”

Most oil field combustors, also known as enclosed ground flares – are natural draft stacks. This means that the air required for an efficient combustion reaction is drawn into or “induced” into the stack through air intake ports at the bottom of the combustor. A pressure differential is created in the stack by the temperature difference between the base of the stack and the top of the stack creating this air flow. Clogged flame cells, air pressure inversions at the top of the stack due to high winds and flame cooling can cause a lack of induced air, which will lead to a rich combustion, a condition that can lead to smoke or significant noise from detonation.

Obviously, a maintenance program is extremely important to ensure that your combustors remain efficient. Choosing a combustion manufacturer who stands behind their equipment, providing warranty, service and even maintenance agreements is a good step in the right direction. Probably more importantly, choosing the right vendor involves assessing whether a manufacturer has performed and passed mandated state and federal testing guidelines.

Each state air quality agency require combustors meet specific destruction efficiencies and regulate the amount of emissions opacity or smoke a combustor can have in a given period of time. These rules are designed to be difficult in an attempt to guarantee that a combustor will operate efficiently under field conditions. Federally mandated EPA standards are separate, but very stringent guidelines that a combustor manufacturer must prove its products can pass. If a combustor is placed in the field and it hasn’t met EPA NSPS (Standards of Performance for New Stationary Sources), 40 CFR 60 Subpart OOOO, known as Quad O, the purchaser is responsible for a monitoring and testing schedule as described in the regulation, which can be an undue and costly burden.

Quad O can be a very expensive and difficult test to pass and often takes multiple days of testing to complete. It is a much more detailed testing protocol that a straight forward DRE test that shows a snapshot of a combustors operating efficiency. Manufacturers may try to bypass this requirement; however, the regulation is enforced nationwide by the EPA and, depending on the location, may be a state mandated requirement for permitting a wellsite. Either way, it is not a regulation that can be ignored by the manufacturer or producer. A combustor manufacturer that has performed and successfully passed Quad O testing is one that has demonstrated that its equipment meets or exceeds the strictest emissions standards required by law.

So, what are the takeaways? Combustion efficiency seems like a simple concept, but in reality, combustion of waste gas on a wellsite can entail very complex reactions, which are extremely sensitive to inputs. A regular maintenance program and a manufacturing partner willing to stand behind its products and have an established warranty and service agreements. Producers require combustion equipment that is engineered to the strictest specifications and can meet complex and ever changing inlet gas compositions, which have also been proven to meet stringent state and federal testing requirements. This is the most important requirement, and is why I left it as a parting thought: combustion equipment must be safe and follow best practices. Equipment that takes into consideration the human aspect and keeps operators safe and provides for easy field maintenance through good design should be at the top of any purchasing decision.