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On this week’s hemp podcast we explore the intersection of the gas and oil industries with the hemp industry and how hemp can provide an opportunity for Big Oil to take responsibility for the over 3 million abandoned oil and gas wells that dot the American landscape.

Our guest is Mark Mersman from Offset Energy Partners who talks about The Well Done Foundation’s effort to plug leaky wells to fight climate change. We also talk about carbon credits and how they might persuade the oil and gas industry to do the right thing.

“The credit markets are very eager to have projects that are eliminating emissions and if we can sequester methane gas or avoid emitting methane gas by plugging the well, there's a real value to that,” Mersman said.

The Well Done Foundation

https://welldonefoundation.org/

Offset Energy Partners

https://offsetenergypartners.com/

News Nuggets

Oregon’s ‘Operation Table Rock’ busts hemp operators growing marijuana

https://hemptoday.net/oregons-operation-table-rock-busts-hemp-operators-growing-marijuana/

New federal rules get tighter on local hemp farmers

https://naturalresourcereport.com/2021/09/new-federal-rules-get-tighter-on-local-hemp-farmers/

Czech hemp in vanguard as president signs law re-setting THC limit

https://hemptoday.net/czech-hemp-in-vanguard-as-president-signs-law-re-setting-thc-limit/

Pennsylvania Hemp Events

Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival October 2-3

http://www.penncannafest.com/

Canna-Hemp Festival, October 9

https://lancastertradinghouse.com/hempzelstm-first-annual-cannahemp-festival

Special Thanks to Our Sponsor IND HEMP

Read an unedited transcript of this episode of the Lancaster Farming Industrial Hemp Podcast:

Eric Hurlock: Did you know that there are over three million abandoned or orphaned oil and gas wells in the United States and even more than that globally, they're just out there leaking, sometimes spewing methane and other greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change. This is the Lancaster Farming Industrial Hemp podcast. My name is Eric Hurlock. And today I'm going to talk to Mark Mersman from Offset Energy Partners, who has done some work with the Well Done Foundation, a nonprofit that is actively capping these abandoned, orphaned wells around the United States. We'll also talk about carbon credits and what responsibility the oil and gas industries have in cleaning up their mess. First, a quick sponsor message and then we'll come back with nuggets of hemp news.

IND HEMP Message: It's harvest season and and hemp would like to take this moment to share their support for all of the farmers out there. Farming is hard work and it's necessary to the success of our nation, whether that's growing, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the homes we live in, or the natural remedies that help so many. It's our farmers who provide and hemp wishes for everyone a safe and fruitful harvest season.

Eric Hurlock: All right, few nuggets of health news this week, it looks like there's something happening out there in Oregon. Here is a story from Hemp today. The headline reads, Oregon's Operation Table Rock Busts Hemp Operators Growing Marijuana. The story says that Oregon regulators say that more than 110 licensed hemp operations were found to be illegally growing high THC marijuana after a recent crackdown in Jackson and Josephine counties in the southern part of the state. Operation Table Rock, a joint action by the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission and the Oregon Department of Agriculture tested plants at 212 registered hemp growers in the two counties where a total of 335 growing sites were licensed. The story goes on to say that, unfortunately for the hemp industry, the raids in Oregon fulfill a prediction by the DEA, which repeated in its National Drug Threat Assessment report earlier this year that the federal legalization of hemp would mean ongoing headaches for law agencies. The DEA has repeatedly warned that policy surrounding him as a result of the 2008 farm bill are giving cover to criminal organizations that grow and traffic in illegal marijuana. And states have worried they will not have the resources to police the industry. Oregon in July passed a set of legislative amendments to reduce the burden on resources needed to police illegal cannabis operations. The law allows the Agriculture Department to partner with the Wolski and local law enforcement to assess and test crops on cannabis farms.

Here's another story from Oregon. This is on Natural Resource Report.com. It's written by the Oregon Family Farm Association. And it says that folks growing hemp in Oregon will find themselves operating under more stringent rules in 2022 as the state hemp programs come under rules established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That means hemp growers will be subject to background checks and anyone convicted of a felony can no longer grow or possess hemp for 10 years. Public comment is being accepted until October 22nd on the Oregon Department of Agriculture's revised rules. Under the rules, the state can destroy crops planted by people whose licenses are not approved or have been revoked.

Here's another one from hemp today, this one's concerning the Czech Republic. Czech president Miloš Zeman this week signed a law that establishes the limit for THC in industrial hemp at one percent. That makes the Czech Republic the first European country to strike out ahead of other member states. And going beyond current EU guidance that sets the barrier between nondrug, cannabis, hemp and drug cannabis at point two percent THC. Many countries around the world are establishing one percent THC as their national limits, breaking with the generally accepted global guidance of the point three percent that has been observed since hemp reemerged in the 1990s.

All right. Just a couple of local items here this weekend, October 2nd and 3rd. It's the Pennsylvania Cannabis Farm Marketplace. It's at the Renninger Farmer's Market in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. And then the following weekend, October 9th, out in Wrightsville Paea, that's in York County, there is the cannabis Hempfest, rain or shine, nine thirty a.m. to five thirty pm. It's got food, music, vendors and activism and all sorts of things around hemp. So check that out. I will have links to all of these news nuggets on the show page for this episode if you need more information.

All right, so let's get into our interview with Mark Mersman and just a heads up. Mark is not affiliated with the Welldone Foundation, but he is a champion of the work they're doing. I will be conducting a follow up interview with Curtis Shuk from the Welldone Foundation, hopefully in the next couple of weeks. And we'll learn more about the great work that he is doing to fight climate change. But I think you'll enjoy this interview with Mark. He has a really interesting perspective, you know, from the oil and gas side of things. So, hey, let's do this. All right. Here we go.

Eric Hurlock: Mark Marshman, welcome to the Lancaster Farming Industrial Hemp podcast. How are you doing today?

Mark Mersman: I'm doing great. Eric, thank you for having me. Excited to be here to tell a little bit about what we're doing and how we see the future of hemp evolving around oil and gas also.

Eric Hurlock: Well, yeah. Why don't you give us an introduction? Who who are you? What are you doing? What's what's your deal?

Mark Mersman: Yeah, you bet. So I am currently residing in Boulder, Colorado, have been in Colorado for about a year and a half with about a twenty five year plus passion and trying to get moved up here. So covid code spurred that. So that brings me to where I'm at, what I've been doing for the last six or so years I've been involved in the cannabinoid space with different product development, have been part on the MJ side and put together a vertical team that won a license in Denmark. So have been in team building mode for quite a while and different projects and things on the on the industrial hemp side of the business for the last probably four or so years and trying to put together a virtual vertical, retain all the parties together where we really have a whole product capability. And in doing that, that has always had me interested in how we could tie in my past to what industrial hemp can lead to. And my past doesn't involve the oil and gas industry. So I was on the investment side of oil and gas doing real estate, the minerals, if you will, but got to know an awful lot of folks in the industry. This was about a decade ago. I spent about a decade in the industry. My dad actually worked for Mobil Oil. So had all of that upbringing, not so much in the field, but certainly understood the the industry and what its place is in our world and the challenges that come with it as well. And all that to say those two things have come together in what we are doing right now, which is they offset energy partners is one entity and solutions is another entity that I'm involved with where we are helping our states plug the orphan wells that are a real problem for all of us that is just now really becoming known, right?

Eric Hurlock: Yeah. So I first, you know, became aware of you out in Fort Benton, Montana, back in July. You gave a really great presentation at the Indy Hemp Banquet that night. And yeah, I had I had never considered these orphan wells before and I didn't really know anything about them. But can you sort of explain what an orphan well. Is and how many there are in the United States and maybe why that's a problem?

Mark Mersman: Yeah, absolutely. So I have to give a shout out to Curtis Shuk and the Welldone Foundation. And he, in that effort that he is pursuing and putting together, is certainly been helpful in us evolving our approach to how to help with this problem. So Curtis shock was being interviewed about a year ago on a podcast very similar to this one. And he it was oil and gas related podcast. So I had had that experience in the oil and gas industry. I've kept an ear to the ground, if you will, with an idea some way. Somehow we'll be able to tie more renewable products into into the industry. And he mentioned that he was going about plugging orphaned wells, utilizing carbon financing. So that is the emerging market place that is addressing carbon emissions from companies like ExxonMobil or American Airlines. And how do they reduce their carbon footprint? There is a whole carbon credit marketplace that's evolving and developing right now so that an American Airlines can actually pay money and buy a carbon offset to offset their footprint. Another dialog to have to dove into that, if you like, to it. But the fact that he'd been addressing that I had been paying attention to the carbon credit markets. I have a finance background before getting into oil and gas, before getting into cannabis and hemp, and have always had a bent towards how do you economically drive behavior. So with it is he mentioned carbon financing, the plugging of the wells. It just immediately struck a chord with me. I called him immediately out of the gates. And for the last year or so, I've been helping just in various ways and supporting his efforts to adopt these orphan wells and plug them so that they stop their emissions. So what is an orphan? Well well, the oil and gas industry has a good century of operations where 50 plus years ago, the technology that we have today wasn't being used and over the course of the history of oil and gas. All be aware of the fact that it has its boom times and its bust times and what an orphan well is and how it becomes to be is in the state of Colorado, where I'm at, we have a roughly sixty thousand orphan wells that need to be plugged. There are estimated to be three million orphan wells across our country,

Eric Hurlock: west in the United States,

Mark Mersman: just probably

Eric Hurlock: way more than that globally.

Mark Mersman: Right? Terrible. Yeah, totally. And so what are

Eric Hurlock: these wells doing? What, they're just hanging out there, are they?

Mark Mersman: Here's here's a mom and pop oil and gas company goes out. I've got this great idea. I think I can produce oil out of this particular area in this particular section of the country. And they go about doing that and they go through the boom of making more money, selling oil, producing oil. And then, oh, wait a sec. The oil market cratered. And as the smaller operators out there, which is a good majority of the oil and gas industry, it's just individuals like us just who see an opportunity to be in that industry and make a living with that. And over time, unfortunately, the resources can just go away for those companies that go bankrupt. And if I'm an operator that was producing some smaller, shallower wells that the big oil and gas companies don't have the economic capacity for, then it's a smaller market for someone to pick up that responsibility and keep operating it. Or if that company were to go bankrupt, who's going in there to clean it up? Because that's likely driven by a downturn in the economics in the industry. So the state is now owner of this portion. There is no longer responsible party in charge of making sure that that well is closed properly and now it's on the books of the state. So now we, as the citizens of the state, have to hope that the state has funds to go out and plug those wells. And that's a whole nother.

Eric Hurlock: Well, what's the issue like? What if it's not plugged properly? What's what's going on

Mark Mersman: at the well? So what we're seeing here and what the brilliance of Curtis and the Welldone Foundation and how they're approaching this is that these wells are oftentimes they're just four and a half inch wellbore, just a hole in the ground with nothing in it. And you can literally smell the methane being emitted from those open well bores. So there are, in many instances, oil that's leaking more often than not in our concern, certainly for the environment as we move forward. As you look at IPCC s new report and what we need to be doing to try and help reduce emissions here, now, these well bores are just emitting any number of amount of cars per wellbore every year to

Eric Hurlock: spew in the methane and the greenhouse

Mark Mersman: gases control. Yeah, a lot of greenhouse gases and all kinds of manner

Eric Hurlock: just leaving the faucet on and letting it. But that run

Mark Mersman: essentially that, wow, there are also plug jobs that were done utilizing technologies from 2005. We haven't changed the approach to how we plug a well for decades. So it's just cement in there. And as geology shifts, as things happen, yeah, there's crevices, there's that space in that wellbore that that gas can still emit out of.

Eric Hurlock: So so you get a capped well is potentially leaking

Mark Mersman: has the potential to and certainly as we have this big drive now. So our current administration and within the infrastructure bill, there is dollars being allotted to the clean up of retired coal mines and brownfield areas and these orphan wells. So there's a there's a tension now that's being given to the issue. The states are getting behind it. We are operational in Louisiana right now. And administratively, we're being well embraced by the idea of how we can change the plug design. So that kind of might be a good Segway to what we're doing differently now. Yeah, well, the Welldone Foundation is going about plugging these orphan wells. They're monitoring the emissions and monitoring that amount so that they can monetize. And that's where the credit markets are very eager to have projects that are eliminating emissions. And if we can sequester methane gas or avoid emitting methane gas by plugging this, well, there's a real value to that. Yeah, that's great. But there's an awful lot of wells out there that you can't just find those that are emitting. We've got to plug them all because there's still surface area remediation that needs to occur. There's groundwater contamination that can occur with these orphan wells. So our approach to this is in support of the well done foundation and what they're doing to find those wells. But when we plug the wells, what we've been incorporating are alternative materials that can do a couple of. Things to the industry at large and its approach to plugging wells, one of those is displacement and why that's important is if you can envision and this is just a real simple analogy, that you have a thousand foot long straw going into the ground. So that's this wellbore. Well, traditionally, the industry would just put Portland Cement down that wellbore. So we put it in this port right in. So we do that and it's plugged and we're good. And there's a metal plate that goes on top. It's a little more than that. It's not so terrible. But Portland cement for every ton of cement being manufactured, there's roughly. So please, those of you that are very detailed on the carbon sequestration and emissions, don't it? Roughly a tonne of CO2 is emitted for every ton of Portland cement that's being manufactured and used. It adds up to a thousand foot wellbore, may only take 10 tons of cement. There's areas that it has to go into, it's not just that area volumetrics of fornicators, like

Eric Hurlock: the void spaces in the strata and whatnot.

Mark Mersman: Right, right. So that is not just going in the wellbore. It's going into the formation until it stops filling up the void so it can take an awful lot of cement. What we've been proposing and what we've proven in concept, what I've done literally just the day before, Eric, when we met in in Montana, was put not only hemp heard in the cement plug, but there is a space in between each of the required cement plugs that has traditionally been cemented that we are putting other materials in that are approved by the API, the American Petroleum Institute. And not only are we then by avoiding or displacing the cement that would be in that middle area between a bottom plug and the top plug, we're avoiding that cement to where if that were eight tons of cement that we needed to put in that plug, where traditionally we've put 10. In the carbon market world, we just avoided eight tons of CO2 emissions because we avoided that eight tons of cement. Well, additionally to that, we aren't there yet. But hemp herd has a carbon content to it, roughly 40 to 60 percent, just like other woody products. That's somewhere in that 50 percent, just pure carbon. And if we as we and when we have a methodology that speaks to the lifecycle assessment of that hemp heard going through the cultivation transportation processing process and into a wellbore to be sequestered in that cement, there should be a carbon credit there, too. So we're not there yet. That'll be a good twenty four months or so likely before we can get that lifecycle assessment and get that part going. But for every one cubic inch of volume that we can displace of cement with hemp heard, we're reducing the carbon footprint. You know, it's really fun, though, is that hemp herd is actually a really good material in cement. So the whole reason hemp creates a very popular thing is because of the silica that's in the hemp heard time and binding to that in the limestone and the cement. So we make a better plug, too, when we're using hemp heard in that bottom hole plug. Right. Additionally, we're using biochar. So biochar is anywhere from 80 to 90 percent carbon. So it's a little higher carbon content. And that's where in using that in between the cement plugs, we can really maximize that space in between the cement plugs to have effectively what we refer to as a carbon sink. So we're we're sinking carbon into that wellbore that's displacing emissions from the cement and adding additional carbon sequestration because we're throwing a high ridge high carbon content material down into the wellbore as well.

Eric Hurlock: Wow, that's amazing.

Mark Mersman: It's it's a it's a work in progress. So we're getting there. We've got five pilots that are being pursued at the moment in Louisiana right now that we should have underway here in the next four to six weeks. And just the embrace we're in conversations with other state governments to to get that use of those materials approved. Yeah, yeah. Well done. Is helping out in that effort, too, is they've had other states that they're working in. They're wanting to utilize these materials and their plug design as well.

Eric Hurlock: That's fantastic

Mark Mersman: stuff.

Eric Hurlock: Yeah. So how many wells have you capped so far or how many wells has well done. Well done foundation. How many have they cap so far.

Mark Mersman: Yeah, great question. So I'm not involved on the day to day on that. I know that we have had with in Montana they are in the process of plugging twenty six well package and they've gone a good five to ten into that. They've got, they've been really doing the groundwork to get those wells in a position to be plugged. So even down in Louisiana they I believe was about thirty seven wells that were identified and that's a key piece. So they aren't necessarily getting plugged yet, but have been identified as wells that the well done foundation could adopt. Right. So they take possession of those wells, go through their whole plan, assess the emissions, plug it, and then they submit that effort for carbon credits. So they've got Pennsylvania and I think Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Kansas, Montana, I believe Ohio. So they've got multiple states and I think they're upwards of about one hundred and fifty wells that they've identified they'll be going after. Oh, we we are more boots on the ground, our solutions operating entity based entity at the moment. So we're working very closely with Louisiana's Department of Natural Resources on those efforts. There are many thousands of wells and every one of these states that we will need to be plugging. And yeah, so at the moment, that's just been proof of concept. We needed to prove pump ability of biochar into the slurries that we were wanting to do the same with the humpert. Lots to learn as it is not hydrophobic. So it's everything, all the water in the cement. So it's been an interesting learning curve as that's been developing.

Eric Hurlock: Yeah, hemp is a fight over a mediator so we can draw things out of the soil. Is there any are you looking into, you know, like using hemp to remediate, you know, Superfund sites and then using that contaminated material

Eric Hurlock: to stick in the ground of the Capitol?

Mark Mersman: Well, exactly. Yes, absolutely. Very much so. So a little bit of background in that hemp space. Yeah, very much been attuned to that opportunity and that potential of it. And I understand, too, as a co as the host of the event where we met, that the Elliotts have been applying hemp in some of those remediation efforts. And we're very excited to pursue that as well. We expect to be able to do that on every one of these well sites because there is so much surface contamination. It's a big part of what our company is focused on. Right. Is not just remediating to, hey, OK, we cleaned up the junk. Well, the soil soil is still likely contaminated. So we do have. It hasn't been implemented yet, it does need to be approved by the states, but our overall surface remediation effort incorporates utilizing help and fight over mediation technologies and incorporating biochar hemp mulch to to improve the soil and amend the soil. And then after that, we expect to be in every place that we possibly can, introducing native grasses and ultimately working with ag departments and. Verifying authorities for carbon credits like Indigo, Agnihotri and others, we think we can turn these prior oil sites into carbon sink estuaries or conservatory's where we can just let them lay fallow. No telling, just grasslands, biochar infused soil to really amp up the carbon content and just sit there and watch it sequester carbon over the coming decade or so.

Eric Hurlock: What responsibility does the oil and gas industry have here like? Shouldn't they be more involved? Like this shouldn't be left to, you know, a nonprofit to clean up all these these wells? Right.

Mark Mersman: It's a it's a really challenging issue and matter. So, yes, the the the industry at large, including all of its constituents, meaning the state regulators and others, we've all done a poor job of managing what happens with these assets that need to be retired. And a big challenge with that came from not getting enough funding in the coffers to take care of the eventuality of some companies going bankrupt. So what we weren't keeping up with as states mandating that we have capital to clean this up on behalf of the oil and gas industry, we weren't mandating large enough sinking funds, if you will, being funded by the oil and gas industry to support those increasing costs. Because as time went by, the cost of the wells got more and more. The complexity of the wells got to be more and more the depth and length of these verticals, all more. And we weren't increasing the amount of dollars going into these coffers. So now we are in this really challenging position. And that is well, duns approach to this is like, listen, the states are underfunded. The industry is not in a position to be able to take care of it through current methodologies. Not that they aren't.

Eric Hurlock: They have a lot of money. They've got a lot of money over the past century.

Mark Mersman: Right. No question about it. And that's where, OK, what is the mechanism to do this? And that's where not to get into the politics of it or labeling anyone anything other than we have this challenge to fix. And what does fix behavior? Well, I don't know if you ever read the book Freakonomics, but economics really drives behavior. Whether you're dealing drugs, inner city or you are trying to put policy in place. Economics of a particular behavior are really important to it. So what are the economic incentives currently for the oil and gas industry to support this? Well, nothing so much other than the optics. And there are state mandated programs now that are addressing the amount that's being funded into them. So here comes this carbon credit piece. Well, this is a very contentious topic for the right and the left sides of the argument, but if if a project can be funded through carbon markets. Where that money comes from. Is a function of an expense to whoever is buying that carbon credit. So if that's an airline or if it's Microsoft or Amazon trying to reduce their carbon footprint or it's ExxonMobil, they all have a mechanism now to pay money, to buy a credit to offset their operations. Well, what are those credits made of? How durable are they, are they really having an impact on our environment, are they really doing anything? So it's a really contentious debate about conversations and points. But what we see right now is that there is a carbon market that's emerging and that there are really good programs. And I think agriculture has a huge role to play in this moving forward. And that's part of what I'm passionate about, too, and working with Can and others. You know, in the industry of AG, how do we get carbon credits working for the industry? And I think there's a real possibility there is still some science has to get worked out nonetheless, that carbon credit, whoever is buying it, is doing something to support efforts that are reducing carbon emissions. And what we believe is that there are ways to offset energy partners and to affect solutions to change the behavior that actually reduces that carbon credit. So by changing this plug design, we are taking what is a carbon producing, an emissions producing effort of maybe only 15 to 30 metric tons a project. But if we can remove that times three million, well, that's an awful lot. And if we can actually remove the 30 that are being emitted and create an offset, a 30, so we actually eliminated 30 and. Create an offset for an additional 30. Wow, that's a pretty big needle move, just change their operational activity. So I'm saying that to get back to your question, where we see the oil and gas industry having a way to pay to get out of this is that these are really good credits that they could support and in their purchasing of these credits that come out of these projects. So if they were to fund a orphan well project, they get to speak to that optically PRL. That's a very valid thing for anybody in this industry. As individuals, we are trying to do that with, hey, I'm buying carbon credits just to reduce my own footprint. So if that's happening and we are actually doing projects that are stopping this emission from these orphan wells, we think it's a pretty good think it's a pretty good way to have industry at large, whether it's oil and gas or airline or whomever, to help fund up these plugging jobs that are reducing that emission from the wellbore, just sitting open.

Eric Hurlock: And right now it's progress. Yeah, I mean, my interest in hemp, you know, like we talked about before the show started, but, you know, cannabinoids are wonderful gift from God. But for me, it's like it's really about this climate change, carbon sequestration thing that like, I I believe that agriculture has to be part of the mitigation solution. And, yeah, it's great that, you know, you're you're out there doing this work. And, you know, I'm I'm just skeptical of the oil and gas industry, you know,

Mark Mersman: totally interested in it. And that's where I think if they could, it would it's it's a really complicated topic. So we have this infrastructure bill. And a big concern about the allocated dollars to plugging these wells is how is that? How are we going to make sure that that really gets to the job that it's being allocated for? So how do we make sure the industry doesn't just get that money thrown at them is a concern that I've heard quite a bit and understandably so. The industry at large has not done a good job how they've handled certain aspects of their business. So with it, how do we put in place oversight? And one of the things that's happening in in one state in particular, in anticipation of these dollars coming down to the state level as well as grants, is there's oversight committees that are being put together on behalf of the appropriations of those dollars. But they are not oil and gas industry members that are doing that. They are environmentally oriented. Kojak here in Colorado is a really interesting make up of individuals. That's the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. And just in 19, Colorado made a big shift in what the oversight responsibilities for that organization is from. Here's a voluntary organization that's overseeing the industry of oil and gas to here is a professional board of predominantly environmentally and other constituents representing our state and all of our state's constituents being the environment, the residents, industry at large and every other ancillary aspect of that to be a good steward in our actions and how we move forward as an oil and gas industry and that it does have to take into consideration how are we affecting our communities and our environment. And that's a different shift in Colorado's easily at the forefront of that. I see in another state in particular that an advisory panel anyway, is with a similar attitude, trying to figure out how do we make sure that that's this right.

Eric Hurlock: Because in the past, you know, it's I think it's been shown that the oil and gas companies have been actively working on miseducation programs to sort of like deny the climate change. And they've ceded all of this doubt, you know, within there. And here we are, you know, OK, I was born in 1972, and by the time I was eight years old, I had a sense that, you know, we were polluting this place pretty good. And you heard climate change back then, global warming, they called it. And here it is, you know, like 40 some years later. And we're in worse shape. Right. Like an absolute crisis.

Mark Mersman: So how nothing was ever enough. Yeah. Yeah. It's so frustrating. Yeah. I land on economics driving that right. That greed is a terrible thing.

Eric Hurlock: Yeah.

Mark Mersman: Endino Motivations are a really, really challenging thing for any industry to maintain integrity with how they operate because they're always being pulled in the direction of profits.

Eric Hurlock: Right. Short term profits too. Right. Yeah, yeah. So how do we do that. How do we how do we change? Like we need a complete paradigm shift in how we approach business or like what? What's the way out?

Mark Mersman: Mark, I kind of think what we're seeing is is well it's taken forever to get here. It does seem like we're finally getting the the pressure, if it nothing more than just the optics and that the industry at large, oil and gas industry, oil, the American Petroleum Institute, just four, six months ago acknowledged that, yeah, these carbon markets really do need to come about, because if we're being pragmatic about how the economics of the industry work and our uses for the headset you're using now being derived from plastics that come from oil and gas and everything else that you touch, there is there are new materials that's been so promising about him. I just had an introduction the other day with a very prominent Ph.D. in the hemp industry talking to a plastics company. So it was really fun.

Eric Hurlock: Yeah, that's what we need.

Mark Mersman: It's those types of things, little things like what we're doing. As small as it might be, we're helping show the industry how to change their approach. Not not the hey, just pay to offset your your emissions, which is going to work. And it'll drive it and it'll drive other projects that can reduce our emissions. But gosh, if we can show and continue to add operational protocols that do in fact reduce the operational footprint of carbon, then we're on to something. And that's where these are small deals. It's an incremental cost to the operator, but it's a small incremental cost, as I have heard, and other materials get more prominently available. We're going to be able to see that costs come down. It's going to make it so much more easier for adoption. And in doing that, what is the. What's the downside, I can change my protocol and I immediately stop emitting. On my books. 20, 30 metric tons every time I do one of these wells.

Eric Hurlock: Wow. So that's amazing. Where can people learn more about the work you're doing and the work they're doing at the Well Done Foundation?

Mark Mersman: Absolutely. I appreciate that. We're we're a pretty light on the website, the website side of things, but offset energy partners dot com and soon we will have o f x solutions. Dot com will be up and running. I'm just Mark Timmerman at Gmail, as I think I think that's my username on Twitter. I'm not very socially savvy on that side of things. OK, that's going to be evolving, but

Eric Hurlock: I'll put some links on the show page for the episode so people can click on those and get to, you

Mark Mersman: know, that's great and well done. Foundation is well done. Foundation dot com, I believe. So, yeah,

Eric Hurlock: call in before we started recording, you had mentioned you were going to tell a story.

Mark Mersman: Yes.

Eric Hurlock: So how can we lead up to that or should I ask you a question so you can get to that story?

Mark Mersman: So I'll share it with you and we'll see how we might want to be able to to to incorporate it, because it's my partner. So I don't want to necessarily it's just an interesting evolution of someone who is a scientist who up until just the last few weeks. Really was skeptical about the environmental impacts of human behavior and rooted in science. But there has been a remediation project that was put in front of our team and in particular as there was more and more research put into how our ability to sequester carbon in soils was a possibility for us. It it became aware to the individual that, wow, yeah, you know what, with AG and tilling and everything we've been doing to release carbon from our soils and certainly the emissions and everything else that come from our our human endeavors and industry, she's like, oh, yeah, I got it now. And we need to do a lot to try and get it back into the soil. Right. And that is a really big piece of what we see being able to do. So a natural extension of what we're doing is soil remediation and carbon sinks in areas where we can let that land stay fallin.

Eric Hurlock: Yeah. And the no till farming practices that are fantastic. We need I think we need to get all the farmers on board.

Mark Mersman: There is a big, big push. It's a huge step for sure. Yeah. Yeah. So I just thought it was interesting. It's a. I think it's wonderful in that we can all hold out hope that as we continue to educate, we can change minds and hearts. And maybe that's the story to take away.

Eric Hurlock: Amen to that. He education is key.

Mark Mersman: Yep, yep, yep.

Eric Hurlock: All right. Well, Mark Marshman, thank you very much for your time today.

Eric Hurlock: It's a pleasure talking to you. Thank you. And appreciate the work you're doing.

Mark Mersman: You bet. My pleasure.

Eric Hurlock: All right. Well, there you go. That's the interview for today. I hope you enjoyed that. I hope we learn something from it. Thank you for listening. If you listen to last week's show, you might remember me talking about a bonus episode that I published that same day. While I'm not going to do that today, I do have another episode kind of in waiting in the wings to put out there. So I might put out a weekend edition this weekend. I have an interview with Nick Walters from the National Hemp Growers Co-op that I think you'll enjoy. But I've also got some really exciting interviews coming up for next week, too. So there's just so much to talk about. And maybe once a week isn't enough for this podcast. What do you think? I don't know. I'm always curious what you think about anything. So drop me a line. I have gotten some really, really wonderful emails from listeners lately. So thank you. Thank you for that. Yep. I'm looking at you, Emma and Neal. I really appreciate your suggestions and the fact that you took the time to write to me with your suggestions.

Eric Hurlock: Just it's it's fantastic.

Eric Hurlock: Of course, I can't do this work at all without listeners. And I enjoy this work and I hope it's meaningful for you. So, yeah, I'd love to hear from you. And we need to come up with with ways to grow our audience to make our marketing department happy. So are you a marketing expert? You want to call me up and shoot the breeze on what to do? I would love to hear hear your feedback. So, OK, you can always get in touch with me. Send an email to podcast at Lancaster Farming dot com or call me up seven one seven seven two one six six four two in a message. I'll call you back. All right. So my name is Eric Hurlock and. I am the digital editor at Lancaster Farming newspaper, the greatest agricultural newspaper in the world. Don't take my word for it. Pick yourself up a copy or get yourself a digital subscription. Seriously. If you're a farmer, you need our newspaper. Anyway, speaking of the newspaper, until next time, I'll see you there.

Eric Hurlock: Industrial hemp. No. Episode one hundred and fifty nine of the Lancaster Farming industrial podcast Discovery twenty twenty one by Lancaster Farming newspaper, which is part of the state communications family. Today's show is written and recorded, edited and produced by Eric Hurlock. The music you hear through the show is courtesy of Tin Bird Shadow.

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