November 01, 2023
Last week, the Energy Dialogues team convened an important and well-managed event at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Washington, DC.
The North American Gas Forum assembled over 200 energy executives, government, and regulatory decision makers and thought leaders to discuss trends shaping the North American energy sector and sustainable strategies for meeting future energy needs.
Importantly, this year’s event included 15 students from various universities and disciplines, sponsored by Octavio Simoes and the Tellurian team—intentionally bringing the voice of the next generation into these high-level conversations.
Many important themes were discussed across the two days, ranging from the innately technical to the deeply geopolitical.
There was conversation of methane capture along the entire value chain to minimize what are already tiny losses.
We heard about LNG and the role it plays in both sustaining global peace and supporting regions affected by ongoing conflict.
Speakers elaborated on capital solutions that the energy industry is bringing to Asia and Africa, contrasting them with the capital stack that is supported by legislation like the U.S. IRA and Infrastructure Acts and the CBAM in Europe.
We explored the potential for hydrogen as an energy vector, and the important role that natural gas can play in making the hydrogen economy a reality. This included some fascinating materials technology to enable blending and transporting hydrogen within the enormous existing natural gas distribution and transmission network.
Too numerous to count were the other environmental and technological leaps being made in extraction, renewables, monitoring devices, transportation, and systems for tracking and compliance.
The energy sector is often described by its critics—and perceived by many of its stakeholders—as a slow-moving dinosaur. If only they would attend events like the NAGF, I think they would leave with a perspective somewhat altered.
Arriving in Washington, delegates probably already knew that the natural gas industry has a long way to go in effectively communicating the value it delivers and the tremendous progress we have made in meeting growing energy demand while reducing the environmental impact of our operations.
If they didn’t, it was brought sharply into focus when we found ourselves sequestered in a conference room while security personnel dealt with some protesters.
As if finding oneself in lock-down isn’t surreal enough, consider that both the delegates in the conference room with me and those outside protesting claim to be climate activists!
This crazy, oxymoron of a situation emphasizes that our challenge is not just to communicate effectively with our energy customers but also with other climate “activists”.
Everyone needs to understand the amazing innovations that our industry is delivering to make the energy transition real.
The stark reality is that some of our climate activist brethren are either unable or unwilling to recognize the technical progress that brings us so much pride and joy.
The student delegates brought some very good perspectives to the debate, especially on improving communication.
They emphasized the need for engagement and active listening, as well as joint evaluation of both groups preferred climate studies and data.
This all makes good sense, but many of their questions remain unanswered.
How might we overcome the deep distrust that many harbor toward an industry that has historically been led by climate change deniers?
How do we reach a common understanding on the real cost of reducing the share of hydrocarbons in our energy mix?
How can we amplify the details of whom it impacts most when we make energy more expensive? If both sets of climate activists are seeking energy justice, then surely this issue should help us find some common ground.
How do we marginalize the zealots on both extremes so that the quiet majority can focus on pragmatic actions that will deliver near-term, continuous, incremental decarbonization, while wrestling with the difficult choices that must be made for the medium and long term?
We didn’t answer these questions to any degree of completeness or satisfaction but, in asking them out loud, we are making progress.
To me, the voices of those 15 students debating so sincerely within the community at NAGF represented hope for the future.
We must strive to support their voices and the pathways they described with as serious an intent as we support our internal R&D efforts and improvement programs.
Trellis is innovating along the entire natural gas supply chain using our trading and logistics platform.
We are engaging AI and other emerging technology to help track carbon and support the growing RNG market.
We are committed to supporting the conversation, and to transparency from here on out.
Let’s talk about your innovation journey in natural gas and how we might collaborate.
At Trellis Energy, we believe that a modern natural gas supply chain should be digital, efficient, and easy to manage, ensuring the delivery of clean energy when and where it’s needed. We’re in business to make that a reality for natural gas in North America.
Talk to us about Digital Simplification for your climate, trading, and logistics goals.
Tags: Natural Gas