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 BLOG >> Energy

Know Your Oil [Energy
Posted on August 6, 2015 @ 04:52:00 AM by Paul Meagher

There is an interesting body of work being done on an Oil-Climate Index through the auspices of the Carnagie's Endowment Energy & Climate Program, Standford University, and the University of Calgary. One interesting idea mentioned in the associated Know Your Oil report is that when the price of oil was high it generated alot of innovation and development of new sources of oil (e.g., tars, shales, fracks, deep water, ultra-deep, depleted gas-water, kerragen, permafrost, etc...). So increasingly, when we talk about the climate impact of "Oil", we have to be more specific about it because they are not all the same from the point of view of their climate changing potential. So the index investigates as best it can different dimensions of each oil (upstream/extraction, midstream/refining, downstream/distribution/end products) and combines them to come up with a score that allows you to figure out which one has a higher or lower oil-climate index score.

I encourage you to play with the incomplete but evolving Oil-Climate Index graph which appears to be the centerpiece of the phase 1 work completed so far.

My personal opinion is that I think this Oil-Climate Index idea has significant intellectual merit; it is an important set of relationships that should be analyzed and understood better so that consumers of oil and gas might better know what they are buying when they buy oil derived from a particular source or process.

Perhaps there will come a day when we see eco-labelling on our oil & gas persuading us to buy this gas or pay more for this gas if it has a better oil-climate index score?

To learn more you can go to the Know Your Oil project page where you can also download a nice Know Your Oil PDF Report.

Finally, there was a press release event where the main authors of the report discussed the part of the project (upstream, midstream, downstream) they worked on. You can watch the YouTube video of the press release event below. You can fast forward to approximately 15 minutes 30 seconds in to get Professor Gordon's interesting introductory remarks followed by each author's discussion of their section of the report.

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