Michael Ford | September 2018

18 Sep 2018 1:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Please note your affiliation and years of experience in the energy and/or environmental field.

I began working in the energy field in 2012 as an Industrial Economist with the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) Office of Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Biofuels Analysis. Since 2015, I’ve worked on energy, minerals, and real estate issues with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). At the BLM, I’ve directly applied the knowledge I gained with EIA of the complex interactions between the production, midstream, and end-use sectors to rulemaking efforts, National Environmental Policy Act analyses, reports to Congress, President’s Budget projections, assessments of fiscal terms, bonding and financial capability statements, and newly developed web products on BLM.gov/programs/energy-and-minerals

Any particular achievement/interest in energy/environment you would like to mention?

I’m really excited to make a presentation on Federal onshore oil and gas resource and production issues and trends at the upcoming USAEE/IAEE North American Conference’s Government Track session, “Informing Federal Energy Resource and Petroleum Policies in an Era of Abundance”: https://www.usaee.org/usaee2018/program_concurrent.aspx#3

At EIA, I had the chance to write, edit, and shepherd numerous documents for publication. These included sections of the Annual Energy Outlook, reports to Congress on the infrastructure needed to process incremental light tight oil volumes in the United States and the impact of lifting of U.S. crude oil export restrictions, and an analysis of efforts to reduce natural gas flaring volumes in North Dakota. I later presented my research on the North Dakota flaring reduction efforts to the Bakken Flaring Alternatives and Gas Capture Conference in Denver.

Over the past two years, I have been applying the professional skills gained from my work with EIA and the BLM in recent years to pursuing a personal interest - looking at alternatives for beneficially reusing produced water from oil and gas wells. I had the opportunity to present an analysis of these alternatives at the Ground Water Protection Council’s Underground Injection Conference in Tulsa this past February (http://www.gwpc.org/events/gwpc-proceedings/2018-uic-conference), and will be further developing them for an upcoming International Petroleum Environmental Conference in Denver (https://cese.utulsa.edu/ipec-conference/). In August, I also hosted my first energy event - a great panel on the future of oil and gas and transportation sector innovations and their impact on U.S. and global energy markets and security for my alma mater, the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy.

In your opinion, what are important issues facing the energy industry nowadays?

The Energy-Water Nexus is an important and increasingly crucial issue that is getting a good amount of attention now from the Department of Energy and EPA. The energy needed to treat, transport, and safely discharge water from industries, households, and businesses is an all-important constraint that makes drought-prone regions particularly vulnerable in the United States and around the world. Ironically, the energy sector’s need for water (both for groundwater consumption and surface water withdrawals) means that it sometimes competes for scarce volumes of acceptably treated water with those same sectors that rely on their energy output for their daily lifeblood.

This era of increasing energy abundance has come with an equally important increase in water scarcity, exacerbated by weather- and climate-related factors. We need the same talent from entrepreneurs, regulators, and policymakers that we tapped to make more energy available here in the U.S. to address this water availability issue – and the climate-related factors underpinning it.

How long have you been a member of NCAC? Any particular NCAC memory you would like to share with us?

I’ve been an NCAC member for three years now, and my favorite memories are getting introduced to the group at an event by my former EIA colleague Shirley Neff, as well as every opportunity I’ve had to meet so many great professionals doing amazing work who share my passion for energy and environmental issues.

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