The Energy Awareness Company Essay Example

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LCA The Energy Awareness Company

Table of Contents

3Introduction and background

4Business case

Oil and gas industry activities 4

Upstream activities 4

Midstream activities 4

Downstream activities 4

Gas life cycle and LCA 5

Atmospheric impacts 6

Aquatic impacts 7

Terrestrial impacts 7

Ecosystem impacts 8

8Measures to show concern to environmental sustainability using LCA

Life Cycle Analysis on Using Gas to Liquid Technology (GTL) to produce diesel 8

8Green Gas performance

9Air quality

9Waste generation





14Reflective Log


Introduction and background

Sustainability is a major issue in the modern globalised world. This is due to fact that organizations have to take responsibilities of their industry impact on the environment, society and the natural resources. Organizations have to ensure that they reduce their impacts on the ecological and use resource efficiency to avoid cases of depleting or damage. To enable this, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool that ensures all types of organizations and business improve their activities and enhance sustainability in their companies. This is through minimizing the environment and social economic issues and ensuring that there is maximization of the economic and social values. Using LCA, it’s possible to access the environmental impacts of product from the first stages of extraction to the dispose of the waste material (Rajagopal, 2009). The Energy Awareness Company is involved in providing presentations which are aimed to increase awareness in relation to LCA of products used in today’s society. Oil and gas industries are involved in upstream, midstream and downstream operations. These industries have a great impact on the environment, especially due to carbon footprint. Use of LCA in the oil and gas sector can help the industry in lessening their impacts on the environment (Matthias, 2011). The Energy Awareness Company drafts this proposal to give critical analysis of the measures which oil and gas companies involved in upstream, midstream and downstream can put in place to show concern to environmental sustainability using LCA. The proposal will also give recommendations on how these companies can use the understanding of LCA to lessen their impacts on the environment.

Business case

Oil and gas industry activities

Oil and gas industry is among the sectors which have a major impact on the environment. This is through their activities which includes exploration, extraction. Oil and gas companies are involved in upstream, midstream and downstream activities which all contribute to environmental impacts (Madhu, Eric & Ganesh, 2010).

Upstream activities

In oils and gas industry, upstream activities involve activities such as oil and gas exploration and the production. The companies that engage in these activities explores for crude oil and gas both underground and underwater. In order to bring oil and gas out, the companies have to be engaged in the drilling activities. These activities lead to environmental impacts through dereliction among other issues (Madhu, Eric & Ganesh, 2010).

Midstream activities

These are the companies that are engaged in the storage and transportation activities of the gas and crude oil. The main importance of these companies is the fact that they bridge the gap between the upstream and downstream companies. This is through transportation of the gas and oil using the pipelines, gathering the gas and processing. In some cases, the activities of the midstream and downstream companies overlap (Madhu, Eric & Ganesh, 2010).

Downstream activities

These are companies which are involved in refining the oil from the upstream companies. This leads to the byproducts of the crude oil such as LPG, gasoline and diesel. The activities being carried out in the downstream companies leads to emission of carbon to atmosphere and other environmental issues (Madhu, Eric & Ganesh, 2010).

Gas life cycle and LCA

Through understanding the three terminologies, it leads to the gas life cycle. The lifecycle is made up of exploration, extraction, treatment, logistics, storage, distribution and combustion. The lifecycle is not linear due to fact that it involves parallel routes (Fava & Hall, 2004). After extraction, the gas has to be processed into pipeline quality gas or LNG. This is due to fact that it does not meet the required specification for transport and consumption.

The Energy Awareness Company

LCA diagram (Fava & Hall, 2004).

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LCA diagram (inputs and outputs). (Fava & Hall, 2004).

Life cycle assessment (LCA) can help the oil, and gas companies to design their production in an environmental friendly way (Rebitzer & Hunkeler, 2003). The oil and gas industry offers a great basis where LCA can be applied to help the sector identify and use the opportunities to improve, benchmark and development (Matthias, 2011). Oil and gas have effects on the environment through combustion emissions such as CO2, SO2 and nitrogen dioxides. There is emission of methane (CH4) and other volatile gases during the lifecycle. CO2 and CH4 are identified as green house gases (CHGs).

Atmospheric impacts

Exploration and production of oil and gas have led to impacts on the atmosphere. This has become an issue of interest for the industry and the governments globally. The sources of impacts on the atmosphere from oil and gas are flaring, combustion processes, airborne particles, particulate from burning sources and fugitive gases. The main gas that is emitted is carbon dioxide, methane, organic carbons, carbon monoxide and the nitrogen oxides. Flaring, venting and combustion of the gases have been blamed as the main cause of emissions (Ginley& Daṿid, 2012).

Aquatic impacts

Production and exploration of oil and gas lead to waste streams. The aqueous waste includes water produced, drilling fluids, treatment chemicals, drainage water, spills and leakage and cooling water. The amount of the aqueous waste generated is based on the stage of exploration. When exploring and drilling, the main waste is the drilling fluids and cuttings. During production, the main source of waste is the water produced. The volume of the water that is produced is dependent on the type of the production and lifecycle. As the oil field gets old, more water is produced as waste. The water may lead to land pollution and have adverse effects on the aqueous life (Rajagopal, 2009).

Terrestrial impacts

These are potential impacts to soil from activities such as physical disturbance, contamination from spillage and indirect impacts due to open access (Ginley& Daṿid, 2012). The impacts may also occur if there was a poor design which can lead to soil erosion and change in drainage patterns due to altered hydrology. In past, the burying of waste was widely used. This however has impacts which are associated with the pollutant migration. This is through ground water pollution and spills damage. Pollution migration occurs through seepage and leaching. Leakage of the chemicals and oil can lead to situations where flora and fauna is damaged.

Ecosystem impacts

Changes in the environment through oil and gas production activities affect plants and animals. This is through variations which occur in water air and land. The noise, changes in vegetation cover and other effects such as light have a direct effect on the ecology. Removing the vegetation cover leads to erosion and siltation which affects ecology. If not controlled, the effects may later lead to situations where the flora and fauna is affected (UNEP, 2008).

Measures to show concern to environmental sustainability using LCA

Life Cycle Analysis on Using Gas to Liquid Technology (GTL) to produce diesel

Diesel is byproduct of crude oil refinery. Using GTL technology, diesel can be produced using natural gases in remote reserves. The two technologies differ in their attributes and have different impacts on the environment. By analyzing the two technologies using LCA on their impact on environment, it’s evident that GTL technology has less impact on the environment. Using LCA, it has been proved that GTL fuel has less contribution to greenhouse effects. Oil companies have done analysis using LCA to come up with the following conclusions. Though GTL is relatively new, several LCA analysis conducted have shown its advantages as compared to conventional refinery. The technology offers less resource consumption, better CGH performance, low air pollutant and less waste (PWC, 2002).

Green Gas performance

Using GTL fuel, the amount of the green gas in the atmosphere can be reduced. Using the gas that is flared in amount of 10% or more, GTL production can help in reducing green house gases. By advancing the GTL technology, it has been proved that the available natural gas can help in heating and generating power. Using GTL to fuel vehicles leads to less fuel being used per kilometre travelled. Due to the fact that the technology uses the remote natural gases, GTL technology will continue to exist even when natural gas reserves are depleted (PWC, 2002).

Air quality

GTL fuels have been proved to be free from sulphur and aromatics. For the distance travelled, GTL fuels have lower emissions and leads to low negative impacts on the urban air. GTL also ensures that there is less acidification (19% to 54% lower) and reduces chances of smog formation (up to 36% lower than normal refinery). Locations of the GTL plants are also in areas which are remote. These are areas which are not prone to acidification problems (PWC, 2002).

Waste generation

The GTL technology has been proved to generate less solid waste. There is also less hazardous waste that is generated from the technology. To come up with the conclusions, LCA study compared the existing refining technology with GTL. The GTL data used in LCA is got from analysis and pilot plant operations. From the data, it was evident that using GTL technology, less solid waste is generated (up to 40% less) (PWC, 2002).


Most of the oil and gas companies have put in place cogeneration. But still some of the companies in the sector are yet to adopt cogeneration in their extraction facilities. Using cogeneration facilities, the steam and electricity that is generated can be used to enhance high energy efficiency. Some of the power plants use steam more than electricity. This can help them to use the excess power generated back to grid. Putting excess power generated back to grid lead to reduction in power dependency from the grid and also helps in environmental conservation. Cogeneration plants helps also in reducing CHG emissions. Reducing dependent on coal generated power helps a lot in making sure less CHG emissions are experienced (Mann & Spath, 2000).


Using understanding of LCA, oil companies can use technology to reduce emissions. The oil and gas industry have been very active in implementing and inventing new technology (Boughton & Horvath, 2004). This includes new technologies which have been aimed at reduction of pollution. Flaring and venting have been major causes of air pollution. There have been technological advances in designing valves which have led to reduced emissions and increased combustion efficiency. Through technology advancement, it’s possible to reduce the CHG emissions (Fava & Hall, 2004).

Water produced in oil and gas extraction is a major waste. With advanced technology such as the water shut off technology, it is possible to limit the amount of water produced. There are also diverting gels and use of the reinjection technology. There are also new technologies which can be used in treating the water produced such as skimming and static hydro cycle which can make the water less harmful (Ginley & Daṿid, 2012).

Solid waste can be tackled through use of new technologies. There are drill bits which are capable of reducing the need for chemical additions. Using improved controls, it have been proved that it is possible to reduce the sludge and mud. Waste materials can be recycled and reused. This includes using the drill cuttings to make bricks and also road bed materials (Ginley & Daṿid, 2012).There are also new technologies that are aimed at enhancing waste materials treatment. These methods include thermal, biological treatment and chemical methods (Fava & Hall, 2004).


Using LCA understanding, oil and gas companies involved in upstream, midstream and downstream activities can lessen their impacts on the environment (UNEP, 2008). To achieve this, the companies can utilise technologies such as GTL in diesel production. This can make it possible to reduce the CHG emissions and cut fuel consumption.

Oil and gas industry should adopt cogeneration to enhance their power consumption and reduce the green gas effects associated with coal as source of electricity. Studies have proved that oil and gas industry utilising coal as a source of power can benefit a lot through cogeneration.

Lastly, oil and gas industry should adopt technologies that reduce emissions and waste. There are several technologies that have been developed to recycle water from the oil extraction and also to help in waste management. Oil and gas industry have been able to come up with a lot of technologies which if implemented well can reduce emissions and ensure a healthy ecosystem.


Boughton, B., & Horvath, A. 2004, ‘Environmental Assessment of Used Oil Management Methods,’ Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 38, no. 2, p. 353-358.

Ginley, D. S. & Daṿid, K. 2012, Fundamentals of materials for energy and environmental sustainability. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fava J. & Hall, J. 2004, Why Take a Life CyclApproach? UNEP/SETAC publication, Viewed 6 July 2014,

Madhu, P., Eric, S & Ganesh A 2010, ‘Developing The Epc Value Chain In The Upstream Oil & Gas Sector In Middle East,’ Oil And Gas Business, Vol. 338, No . 4, p.1-20.

Mann, M & Spath, P 2000, Life Cycle Assessment of Biomass Co-firing in a Coal-fired Power Plant, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, TP-430-26963.

Matthias, F 2011, Towards life cycle sustainability management, New York, Springer.

PWC 2002, Use of a Life Cycle Approach to Compare the Environmental Implications of Sasol´s Slurry Phase Distillate Technology with Complex Refinery. Prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers for Sasol Technology Pty and Sasol Chevron.

Rajagopal, D 2009, Economics of Lifecycle analysis and greenhouse gas regulations. eScholarship, University of California.

Rebitzer, G & Hunkeler, D 2003, ‘Life cycle costing in LCM: ambitions, opportunities, and limitations — discussing a framework International’, Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, Vol. 8, no. 5, p. 253-6.

UNEP 2008, Environmental LCA for Products and Services, UNEP, Viewed 6 July 2014, publications/training/index.htm.

UNEP 2008, Unchaining Value: Innovative approaches to sustainable supply, UNEP, Viewed 6 July 2014, publications/Unchaining-Value-Final- Report.pdf.

Reflective Log

Environmental management for sustainable development module has helped me a lot in understanding how sustainable development can be achieved. The module has acted as an insight on managing the environment to ensure that there is a sustainable ecosystem. For the sustainable development to exist, I have learned that there must be sustainable environmental measures being carries out. Among the lessons that I learnt is the importance of identifying the best strategies in addressing environmental impacts.

During the module, there are key education skills that I experienced. The skills are conservation, resource efficiency and sustainability challenge. I learnt that the key to achieve sustainable development is through conservation. For example in oil and gas sector, there is need to conserve the fuel by minimizing waste and encouraging efficiency. This helps a lot in ensuring there is minimal damage to the environment. During the module, I was able to appreciate that the economic activities carried out should not endanger the environment. For example, when extraction of minerals is being carried out, there is need for measures that will make sure there is sustainability. This is through use of appropriate technology, avoiding dereliction and making sure that the waste from the activity does not affect the environment. During the module, I was able to evaluate my development activities and came with resolution on how to ensure that I contribute towards sustainability. This was through ensuring that I reduce waste and engage in environmental conservation. Managing environment will enable sustainable development. As we work towards sustainable development, there is need to use tools which enables us to know the level of environmental sustainability. Using tools such as life cycle analysis (LCA), it’s possible to enhance sustainability. LCA indicators are important as they enable in monitoring the trend towards sustainability.

Resource efficiency is a concept that I looked at during the module. This involves decoupling resource use and the economic growth. The concept has three main aspects which are energy efficiency, water efficiency and the material efficiency. I learned that if resource efficiency concept is utilized, there will be reduction in environmental impacts while at the same time meeting the human needs and ensuring that there is improved well being. To achieve resource efficiently, the main areas to look at is how to reduce waste and use the available resources efficiently. Using LCA, it’s possible to achieve resource efficiency. The module helped me to realize that business expansion requires more commitment towards environmental conservation. Due to fact that the world is resource strained, I was able to appreciate the need to meet sustainability challenge. To achieve the sustainability challenge, we have to appreciate the need for innovation. Innovation of new products which can help achieve the maximum society needs and minimise environmental impacts is needed. The skills which are experienced have helped me a lot in my studies through appreciating the need for sustainability and making it possible for me to contribute towards it. It’s through the experiences in this module that I am able to contribute towards sustainable ecosystem.


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GTL Technology (PWC. 2002)

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GTL technology trend from 2009-2012

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CHG emissions from oil (Rajagopal, 2009)