Throughout his career in Upstream, Samik Mukherjee has acknowledged the importance of initiatives focused on lowering environmental impact within the industry. While some hold the misconception that creating and maintaining carbon-neutral facilities presents challenges that complicate its benefits to cost ratio, Samik and other experts in the field argue that such initiatives give industry leaders the ability to collaborate to optimize processes- using their resources in ways that are beneficial for both their businesses and the health of the environment.
Here, Samik Mukherjee explains the urgency of the clean energy transition as well as the steps that companies are taking to optimize their processes with the environment in mind.
What is the Importance of Clean Energy Transition?
Recently, there has been a large emphasis on clean energy transition and the benefits that investments into the process can have. Samik Mukherjee notes that clean energy transition involves adapting energy production that releases little to no greenhouse gases such as hydro, wind, solar, and nuclear power. Much of the urgency for companies to shift practices to prioritize clean energy comes from the Paris Agreement. Almost two-thirds of the world’s electricity is still created using fossil fuels, and companies will need to shift 80% of electricity production to low carbon sources to reach the Paris Agreement’s climate goals by 2050.
While commitment to clean energy has the benefit of helping maintain our environment, there are other cited reasons for companies adhering to the change as well. Clean energy sources can help lead the charge to improve public health in communities around the world, produce a variety of jobs and economic benefits for new and existing energy professionals, and help provide an inexhaustible source of energy.
What Steps are Companies Taking to Commit to Carbon-Neutral Upstream Facilities?
Samik notes that companies are taking several steps to ensure that carbon-neutral upstream facilities become the norm. Most collaborations involve research and design for carbon-neutral facilities in the natural gas and upstream oil markets. This is meant to demonstrate the scope of current upstream technology and discover which developments will be needed to make net-zero facilities a possibility soon. A proof of concept for carbon-neutral facilities produced by ongoing collaborations between industry leaders can be adapted to the scope of any project and region, which is crucial if these processes are to be widespread.
This year, there have been announcements that industry leaders are looking to improve upon the existing design of facilities for a more environmentally conscious process. In one example, facilities are leveraging proprietary designs that use electrolyzers for green hydrogen and oxygen production. Because storage and production capabilities are a priority of the project as well, the design also provides the flexibility to expand upon both processes.
Committing to the Future of Energy
Samik Mukherjee recognizes that- while it may take decades to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuel energy sources- it is a very worthwhile endeavor for companies to make investments into transitioning to clean energy. This will involve collaborations with other leaders in the space, pulling from research and proof of concepts from current projects, and committing to evolving methods and processes to prioritize clean energy.