Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted January 13, 2021
We’re ready, and we’re able.
After a difficult year in which too many were lost, economic hardship was palpable and creeping doubt dogged the national psyche, Americans are right to look to the future. And America’s natural gas and oil industry is ready and able to help build that future.
It takes energy – affordable, reliable energy – to move people and things, to build, heat, manufacture, innovate and grow today and tomorrow. Natural gas and oil are America’s leading energy sources, by far, and our industry is ready to provide the dependable foundation for the country’s next great chapter.
Like every other business sector, ours took some lumps in 2020, but we proved our resilience, our staying power and capacity, despite significant challenges, to power recovery and drive new opportunity on a nationwide scale.
Those are a few of the key themes from today’s API’s annual State of American Energy event. Emerging from the trials of 2020, all of us can be thankful that the state of American energy – the state of the U.S. natural gas and oil industry – is good, very good.
Posted January 11, 2021
Making energy more affordable for Americans is one of the biggest benefits of the U.S. natural gas and oil revolution. Over the past decade or so, abundant domestic reserves, unlocked by modern hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, lowered consumer energy costs – even as household expenses for health care, education and food increased.
The challenge for everyone is not to take affordable, reliable energy for granted. Not too long ago the country was beset with rising annual costs for gasoline, ever-growing oil imports and dwindling domestic natural gas supplies. The natural gas situation was so alarming, lots of smart people believed the U.S. would need to build natural gas import facilities to help meet domestic demand.
Again, the shale energy revolution changed that storyline. We have plentiful supplies of natural gas here at home and increased energy security. The U.S. has become a leading natural gas exporter and was on track in 2020 to be a net exporter of petroleum and total energy on an annual basis for the first time in 60 years. That’s what energy security looks like.
This leads back to consumer benefits – reflected in a new U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report showing that last year natural gas prices were at their lowest levels in decades.
Posted January 6, 2021
An important point for consideration by opponents of the scheduled natural gas and oil lease sale for the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska: World demand for energy will continue rising into the future as far as we can see.
Both the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the International Energy Agency project that – the effects of the pandemic aside – demand for energy, led by natural gas and oil is going to increase. IEA estimates that even with the U.S. participating in the Paris Climate Agreement, natural gas and oil will supply about half, and perhaps more, of the world’s energy in 2040.
Posted December 30, 2020
What a year. Thinking of those who lost their lives or were seriously ill and the continuing hardships from the pandemic, such as lost jobs and financial setbacks, 2020 can’t end soon enough.
Like other industries, ours faced steep challenges as it played an important role in helping the country battle the virus and supported economic recovery. There was added meaning to the word “resilience,” and our country is better off because our industry proved its staying power.
Think of it this way: Imagine the country in the middle of a global pandemic, trying to regain its footing, but without sufficient domestic natural gas and oil – or a modern, technologically advanced industry to develop that energy for consumers, businesses and manufacturers.
Posted December 16, 2020
A new program aimed at reducing flaring in upstream operations underscores The Environmental Partnership’s founding commitment – to seek ways to expand members’ efforts to further reduce emissions and improve industry’s environmental performance.
The flaring program is a significant addition to The Partnership’s list of performance programs. As with programs on pneumatic controllers, manual liquids unloading, leak detection and repair, compressors and pipeline blowdowns, the flaring program will focus on shared technologies, knowledge and best practices to foster actions that reduce flaring.
It’s a critically important step for The Partnership, which has more than 80 members, representing more than 70% of total U.S. onshore oil and natural gas production.
Posted December 15, 2020
Let’s make a couple of points from last week’s EPA actions – one that will bring transparency to some of the agency’s rulemaking processes and another that leaves in place effective standards for microscopic soot.
Transparency first. The goal in EPA’s new benefit-cost rule is pretty straight-forward: Americans should be able to judge whether the benefits of future Clean Air Act regulation are justified by potential costs to society. The new rule will help by requiring that future regulation under the act must be written using sound analyses, where data to evaluate environmental, scientific and economic impacts be transparent and replicable.
Many of the natural gas and oil industry’s opponents reject bringing cost-accountability to the development of regulation. Many of them also subscribe to a more-is-better federal regulatory approach – which gets us to point No. 2.
Posted December 9, 2020
Let’s discuss the value of natural gas and oil to all Americans – the fundamental worth of abundant, affordable and reliable energy to modern, daily life, the economy and our nation’s security – which gets lost in two U.S. senators’ proposal to make producing energy on federal lands more costly.
U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Tom Udall of New Mexico want to increase the royalty rate for production on federal lands, which would discourage that critical production. We’ll get to that point down below. First, let’s zero in on the issue of fundamental value.
In a New York Times op-ed, Grassley and Udall call the American public “the big loser” under the current royalty arrangement. In doing so, the senators are so preoccupied with percentages they inadvertently make an afterthought of what current natural gas and oil production on federal lands means for U.S. economic growth, global leadership, strengthened security at home and significant environmental progress.
Posted December 3, 2020
Post-election analysis says that the U.S. electorate is mostly moderate and expects moderate, sensible policy positions – an important point as Team Biden assembles and a new Congress prepares to convene.
There’s this from veteran Democratic pollster Mark Penn in the Wall Street Journal: The nation is largely moderate, practical and driven by common sense over ideology. … The message from the voters is that we are not divided into two extreme camps. Rather, they are more centrist in nature and outlook, and that a president who governs too far to the right or left is likely to be left behind in the next election.
And Daily Beast columnist Matt Lewis: If Biden wants to keep his winning streak alive, he will keep running the same winning play that got him this far: He will run right down the middle.
On energy, right down the middle, practical and common sense is best for the country’s energy security, economy and environmental protection. This acknowledges the primary role the U.S. energy revolution – made possible by safe, modern hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies – has played in fundamentally changing the trajectory for U.S. security, global energy leadership, economic growth and emissions reduction.
Posted November 17, 2020
If President-elect Joe Biden follows makes good on his campaign promise to ban new natural gas and oil leasing on federal lands and waters, a recent OnLocation analysis sees the U.S. weakened on the world stage – forced to import more foreign oil – with crippling jobs and economic impacts as well.
In Wyoming, another producing state, the impacts would be especially devastating. The federal government controls nearly half of the acreage in Wyoming, and the state’s energy economy has been rocked by pandemic-related forces, losing about 20% of its energy-related jobs through the second quarter, according to this NBC News report. Banning new federal leasing and development would have dire effects, OnLocation’s analysis projected.
Posted November 13, 2020
Some initial thoughts on energy policy as we look ahead to a new administration and Congress.
First, as API President and CEO Mike Sommers said over the weekend, natural gas and oil will continue to play an important role in the United States’ continued economic recovery – recognizing that, as the leading energy sources for the U.S. economy, the two are essential for growth. ...
Our country needs Washington focused on economic recovery and forward-thinking about energy and climate change, factoring in how much energy will be needed when the U.S. and global economies ramp up (see API Chief Economist Dean Foreman’s post, here), while building on reductions in emissions to date and fostering innovation that will enable a safe, secure and cleaner future. To that point, our industry supports continued development and wider deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage as a tool to further reduce emissions, which the president-elect also supports.