The DEG already is halfway through its year, which begs the timely questions: What have we accomplished, and what does the future have in store for us?
Our Executive Committee and Advisory Board members continue to have monthly meetings to discuss items ranging from DEG’s involvement at ACE, Section and Region meetings (technical sessions, co-sponsoring luncheons, short courses and field trips), to membership (currently at 925, down about 30 percent from last year) to a restructuring of the standing committees – while at the same time forming new ad hoc committees (“Centers of Excellence”) to address current environmental issues facing the petroleum industry.
How does the future look?
We should first take a look at the past.
The United States Energy Policy is based on regulations from federal, state and local entities. It was initially formed during the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil embargo during 1973-74. The immediate concern of adequate supply resulted in a significant increase of domestic drilling. Since then, several cycles of boom and bust have occurred.
Current energy policy focuses on adequate supply, providing low costs and protecting the environment while producing and consuming energy. There is considerable public debate regarding hydraulic fracturing, induced seismicity and fugitive emissions from oil and gas operations and their potential impact to climate change.
There should be some clarity over the next few months on the future of our energy policy. While the new administration will take office next month, it also is likely there will be new individuals heading the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Will fossil fuels continue as our primary energy source?
Will research, development and commercialization of renewables continue?
And what about nuclear energy?
The world certainly has a large appetite for energy. In both the near- and long-term, how will we satisfy the need of providing adequate supply at low cost while protecting the environment?
Be involved with doing good science and educating others about the potential environmental impacts of energy development. Your ideas and contributions on these topics may help to develop public opinion – and policy – going forward!