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Exploring How Carbon Credits are Evolving in the Oil and Gas Sector

Eastern Time - Virtual - Open to the Public

The AAAS EPI Center hosted a virtual half-day symposium to explore the landscape of carbon credit markets with respect to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector. Presentations and discussions included the relevant science, methodologies, and procedures related to quantifying, monitoring, and verifying reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector. Additional content focused on the opportunities and risks related to carbon credits for properly decommissioning oil and gas wells.


12:00 pm ET  Welcome  

12:10 pm ET  Session 1: What is the Voluntary Carbon Credit Market?

  • TJ Conway, Principal, Climate Intelligence, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)

    TJ Conway co-leads RMI's Oil and Gas Solutions Initiative, working with a range of stakeholders to increase emissions visibility and accelerate sectoral decarbonization. Conway is Professor of Practice at Georgetown University, where he teaches an energy course through the Landegger Program in International Business Diplomacy. Prior to RMI, Conway worked for 15 years in energy consulting and research, advising governments, energy firms and financial institutions on the energy transition, oil and gas markets, above-ground risk, and corporate strategy. He spent 10 years at Energy Intelligence, initially joining with a small team to develop the Research & Advisory Group. He most recently led the creation of the firm’s energy transition practice. Conway previously led the Latin America analysis for the Markets & Country Strategies Group at PFC Energy (now part of S&P Global), focusing on national oil companies, geopolitical and investment risk, and oil markets. He previously was a research fellow at the Inter-American Development Bank. Conway has Economics and Philosophy degrees from Northwestern University, and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.


12:30 pm ET  Session 2: The Science of Carbon Credits Across the Oil and Gas Sector

  • Moderator: Caroline Normile, Senior Policy Advisor, Bipartisan Policy Center

    Caroline Normile is a Senior Policy Advisor with the Bipartisan Policy Center Energy Program, where she draws on research experience in the earth system and carbon cycle sciences to inform evidence-based climate and energy policy. In this role, she is working to advance a coordinated federal approach for emissions reductions as well as carbon management, accounting, and removal. This includes building support for engineered carbon removal methods like direct air capture as well as nature-based solutions like climate-smart agriculture and forestry, enhanced rock weathering, and the use of biochar.
    Prior to joining BPC, she served as a Principal Air Quality Specialist with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, a regional government agency in California. She served as the 2017–2018 Congressional Science Fellow in the Office of U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, sponsored by the American Meteorological Society and AAAS. During her fellowship, Caroline supported the Senate Task Force on Climate Change and advanced innovative bipartisan legislation related to carbon capture, utilization, and storage; renewable energy; aircraft greenhouse gas emissions; soil carbon sequestration; and the blue economy. Caroline completed her PhD as a NASA Earth and Space Science Graduate Fellow at Penn State University. Her doctoral research assessed land-atmosphere carbon exchange across North American terrestrial ecosystems. She also holds a Master’s degree in Atmospheric Science from Penn State and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, where she double majored in Environmental Sciences and Environmental Thought and Practice.


  • Mark Omara, Senior Scientist, Global Methane, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

    Mark Omara is a Senior Scientist at Environmental Defense Fund. For nearly a decade, his research works have focused on the assessment and source attribution of methane emissions from oil and gas operations. As a Global Methane Scientist for EDF, Mark works on EDF’s MethaneAIR and MethaneSAT projects, where he helps guide the scientific analyses and interpretation of the methane flux data products. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University and a postdoctoral research fellowship from Carnegie Mellon University.


  • Mary Kang, Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering, McGill University

    Mary Kang, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the department of Civil Engineering at McGill University. Her main research interests are groundwater hydrology and environmental impacts of energy development, with a focus on methane emissions. Application areas include groundwater impacts and greenhouse gas emissions related to oil and gas development and geologic storage of carbon dioxide. Her current projects involve (1) the development of analytical, numerical, and combined analytical-numerical multi-scale models of multi-phase flow through porous media, (2) field measurements of gas fluxes, and (3) geospatial and statistical data analysis. Fluids of interest include carbon dioxide, methane and other hydrocarbons, and water.
    Previously, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University studying energy, climate, and water problems in the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences.  She received a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) from Princeton University, a certificate from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a M.A.Sc. and a B.A.Sc. in CEE from University of Waterloo. She also spent a semester in Applied Mathematics at the University of Bergen in Norway. Between her time at Waterloo and Princeton, she worked as a water resources engineering consultant based out of Reston, VA.


  • Natalie Pekney, Technical Lead, Natural Gas Infrastructure Program, National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)

    Natalie Pekney, Ph.D. is an environmental engineer on the geo-analysis and monitoring team in the Geological and Environmental Systems Directorate of the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh, PA.  Natalie currently conducts air quality research as it pertains to fossil energy production and use.  She is the technical portfolio lead for the Undocumented Orphaned Wells program, which aims to develop tools and technologies for finding and characterizing undocumented orphaned wells.  She leads a technical team focused on quantifying emissions from components and processes within the natural gas system as part of NETL's Natural Gas Infrastructure Program.  Under NETL's National Emissions Reduction Initiative, she is researching emissions measurement approaches and the emissions distribution from marginally-producing oil and gas wells.  She has expertise in direct emissions measurements, regional ambient air quality monitoring, source-receptor modeling, plume dispersion modeling, concentration surveying and mapping techniques, and optical gas imaging.  She received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


  • Dwayne Purvis, Founder & Principal Advisor, Purvis Energy Advisors

    Dwayne Purvis, P.E. is a petroleum reservoir engineer offering consulting and advisory services for the oil and gas industry and others engaging the energy transition based on nearly three decades in reservoir engineering and executive leadership as a consultant and operator.
    He has led or participated in hundreds of engineering studies over dozens of basins in the United States and abroad and advised on tactical and strategic decisions large and small.   Mr. Purvis frequently speaks and writes on issues of shale reservoirs, the energy transition, commodity prices, decline curve analysis, and risk analysis.
    He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas, member of SPEE, AAPG, SEG, SIPES and an active, 25-year member of SPE. He also recently completed a master’s degree in sustainable energy at Johns Hopkins University.


1:35 pm ET  Session 3: Evaluation of Methodologies, Reporting, and Verification of Carbon Credits

  • Moderator: Todd Boesiger, Former Deputy Director, Nebraska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission and IOGCC ERRT Vice-Chair

    Todd Boesiger is currently the Biostratigraphic Manager for Ellington Geological Services. Before joining Ellington, Todd spent the previous 4 ½ years as the Deputy Director and UIC program coordinator of the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission - following 15 years in various exploration roles with BP America and Hess Corporation. Todd currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Energy Resources, Research and Technology Committee for the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.


  • Brad Handler, Program Manager, Sustainable Finance Lab, and Researcher, Payne Institute for Public Policy, Colorado School of Mines

    Brad Handler has been with the Payne Institute since 2020. As the Program Manager for Payne’s Sustainable Finance Lab, he researches how to spur more private institutional investment into lowering carbon emissions with a particular emphasis on fossil fuel assets, carbon removal and carbon offset markets. Brad is a former Wall Street Equity Research Analyst covering the Oilfield Services & Drilling (OFS) sector for 20 years at firms including Credit Suisse and Jefferies. He has a B.A. in Economics from Johns Hopkins University and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


  • Brian Prest, Fellow, Resources for the Future (RFF)

    Brian Prest is an economist and fellow at RFF specializing in the economics of climate change, energy economics, and oil and gas supply. Prest uses economic theory and econometrics to improve energy and environmental policies by assessing their impacts on society. His recent work includes improving the scientific basis of the social cost of carbon and economic modeling of various policies around oil and gas supply. His research has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Nature, the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, and the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. His work has also been featured in popular press outlets including the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Reuters, the Associated Press, and Barron’s.
    Prest holds a PhD from Duke University and previously worked in both the public and private sectors. At the Congressional Budget Office, he developed economic models of various energy sectors to analyze the effects of proposed legislation, including the 2009 Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill and related Clean Electricity Standards. At NERA Economic Consulting, he conducted electricity market modeling, project valuation, and discounted cash flow analysis of various infrastructure investments in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia, with a focus on the power sector.


  • Pedro Martins Barata, Associate Vice President, Carbon Markets And Private Sector Decarbonization, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

    Pedro leads EDF’s work to assist the private sector and governments in leveraging carbon markets to address the climate challenge and contribute to global efforts to decarbonize toward a net-zero world. He also leads EDF’s initiatives to improve the integrity and functioning of compliance and voluntary carbon markets around the world, including through the Carbon Credit Quality Initiative (CCQI). He is an international expert with more than 20 years of experience in international climate policy and carbon markets, and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Expert Panel for the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market (IC-VCM).


2:15 pm ET  Session 4: Transactions, Uncertainty, and Trust in the Voluntary Carbon Market

  • Moderator: Kate Stoll, Project Director, AAAS EPI Center 

    Kate Stoll, Ph.D. is a project director at the AAAS Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues (AAAS EPI Center). Kate served as Senior Policy Advisor at the MIT Washington Office from 2014 to 2022. Prior to MIT, she served as a Congressional Fellow with the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. From 2011 to 2013 Kate was a AAAS S&T Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation. Kate served as Chair of the AAAS Committee on Science and Engineering in Public Policy in 2022 and is a member of the Board of Higher Education and Workforce at the National Academies.
    She received a B.A. in Biochemistry from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Washington in Seattle.


  • Erin Sills, Professor and Department Head Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University (NCSU)

    Erin O. Sills is the Edwin F. Conger Professor and Head of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University.  She is a research associate of CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research), EfD (Environment for Development), and Imazon (Institute of Man and Environment of the Amazon).  Her research lies at the interface of environment and development economics, with a recent focus on evaluating the impacts of conservation initiatives on both forests and local populations.  She received her BA from Princeton University and her PhD from Duke University.


  • Barbara Haya, Director, Berkeley Carbon Trading Project 

    Barbara Haya is a research fellow at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley where she directs the Berkeley Carbon Trading Project. Her research focuses on the outcomes and effectiveness of carbon offset programs and alternatives to them. Barbara holds a PhD from UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group. 


  • Virginia Palacios, Executive Director, Commission Shift

    Virginia Palacios is Founder and Executive Director of Commission Shift, a statewide nonpartisan advocacy organization building public support to reform oil and gas oversight in Texas through accountability at the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC). Palacios is a ninth-generation native of Webb County, one of the highest gas-producing counties in Texas. She has worked on water, air, soil, and methane issues related to oil and gas development since 2011. Palacios has co-authored several peer-reviewed studies on oil and gas methane emissions and reports proposing solutions for addressing orphaned wells, venting and flaring, and ethical conflicts at the RRC. She holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University, and was recently selected to serve on a White House Task Force on Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) on non-federal lands.


3:00 pm ET  Session 5: Financing the Energy Transition, A Moderated Discussion

  • Moderator: Adam Peltz, Director and Senior Attorney, Energy Transition, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and IOGCC ERRT Chair

    Adam Peltz is a director and senior attorney in EDF’s Energy Program. Adam focuses on oil, gas and carbon capture, utilization and sequestration regulation and policy, and serves as a public advocate on these issues. Adam is responsible for managing multi-stakeholder efforts concerning oil and gas development and CCUS to improve environmental outcomes through enhanced regulation and improved industry practices, especially concerning secure geological storage of carbon dioxide, and orphaned oil and gas wells.
    Adam started as a legal fellow with EDF in 2011, working on natural gas as well as international climate efforts. During law school, he studied international development and climate change law, and interned at the Legal Resources Centre in Ghana, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation in Washington, D.C., and with the Geneva, Switzerland-based carbon credit certifier the Gold Standard.


  • Caitlin Sparks, Chief Executive Officer, Onyx Transition

    Four-time founder, including Gold Standard – a leading carbon certification standard – and Matternet, a WEF Technology Pioneer. 18 years of climate finance, climate technology and sustainable project investment experience. Board member of the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute and the Lab to Land Institute.


  • David Daniels, Senior Researcher, Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), and Non-resident Fellow, Payne Institute for Public Policy, Colorado School of Mines

    David Daniels is a senior researcher at the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), where he focuses on the interconnection between the energy and transport sectors.  Formerly in Washington, DC, he served as the Chief Energy Modeler at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), where he learned more than he ever thought he would about shale resource assessment methodologies and fit more well decline curves than he cares to admit.  Before his time at EIA, he developed the quantitative terrorism risk methodology that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security used, he worked as a technical advisor at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and he was a strategy consultant at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).  He holds a Ph.D. in high energy particle physics. 


  • Maris Densmore, Director of Industrial Solutions, ACR

    Maris has 20 years of experience in the climate, environmental protection, and energy sectors is responsible for implementing new strategic opportunities to harness the power of markets for high impact emission reduction and removals actions including geologic storage of carbon and high-GWP gas emissions abatement. She specializes in building strategies for challenging technical issues within complicated political and policy environments such as climate change and carbon mitigation, water use and protection, sustainability, education, and community engagement. Maris is a licensed geologist and has extensive field experience in both environmental and oil and gas operations.  Maris has a BS in Earth Science from UC Santa Cruz and a MS in Geology from UC Davis.


  • Virginia Palacios, Executive Director, Commission Shift

    Virginia Palacios is Founder and Executive Director of Commission Shift, a statewide nonpartisan advocacy organization building public support to reform oil and gas oversight in Texas through accountability at the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC). Palacios is a ninth-generation native of Webb County, one of the highest gas-producing counties in Texas. She has worked on water, air, soil, and methane issues related to oil and gas development since 2011. Palacios has co-authored several peer-reviewed studies on oil and gas methane emissions and reports proposing solutions for addressing orphaned wells, venting and flaring, and ethical conflicts at the RRC. She holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University, and was recently selected to serve on a White House Task Force on Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) on non-federal lands.

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