Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted August 27, 2021
The Biden administration’s plan to hold its first ever oil and natural gas lease sales this year is a positive sign after it paused new leasing on federal lands and waters for nearly seven months. The question is whether this is a significant policy shift for the administration, which will be determined by what actually happens and how swiftly it occurs.
It must be remembered that it has been more than two months since the administration was ordered to lift its leasing pause by a federal judge, and the administration is continuing its appeal of the court’s ruling. Again, it’s fair to ask whether this week’s announcement is a policy change – or something else while the legal case continues?
The answers to that question and others are critically important to future oil and gas development in federally controlled reserves, much of which requires sizeable investment and lengthy planning.
Posted August 19, 2021
We’ve entered a different era in America, one in which this nation, rich in oil and natural gas reserves, publicly begs OPEC+ to increase its crude oil production to offset a U.S. supply-demand imbalance and the highest gasoline prices in years.
Let that sink in: Practically on bended knee, the American president and his administration – leading the world’s No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas – have pleaded with an oil cartel to solve their problem by producing more oil – as they bypass U.S. producers and pursue anti-oil policies here at home. …
Insult to injury: OPEC+ said, sorry, America, we see no reason to meet your request.
Posted August 17, 2021
The American Petroleum Institute (API) and 11 other energy industry trade groups filed a lawsuit on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana challenging the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI’s) indefinite pause on oil and natural gas leasing on federal lands and waters.
Following the lawsuit’s filing, DOI said it would resume oil and gas lease sales, even as it appeals a separate court ruling that said its pause on such sales likely violated federal law. Policymakers across the political spectrum agree that President Biden must end the indefinite federal leasing pause once and for all. Only then can America unleash its resource potential and safeguard our decades-long progress toward energy leadership and geopolitical security.
Posted August 16, 2021
Some observations follow on the Biden administration’s continued call for OPEC to increase its crude oil production – even as it curbs or discourages U.S. production – plus the president’s recent announcement that he wants the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate summer gasoline prices.
We’ll take the FTC first. Chair Lina Khan has been asked to look into any potential illegal conduct or anti-competitive practices that may have occurred during the summer driving season.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported the national average for gasoline reached $3.172 per gallon Aug. 9, the highest point since October 2014. “[T]here have been divergences between oil prices and the cost of gasoline at the pump,” wrote National Economic Council Director Brian Deese. “While many factors can affect gas prices, the president wants to ensure that consumers are not paying more for gas because of anti-competitive or other illegal practices.”
Numerous federal and state agencies have investigated the causes of price spikes for decades and consistently have found that the markets and other factors are responsible for price fluctuations. If the White House truly believes “anti-competitive or other illegal practices” have elevated gasoline prices, it’s strange that it would look to a cartel of oil-exporting countries to help solve the problem. In fact, the administration is floating a false premise on what’s happened this summer with gasoline prices.
Posted August 5, 2021
This summer, Americans saw gasoline prices rise to their highest level since 2014 as Congress debated infrastructure policy and economies worldwide continued their recovery.
Gasoline prices primarily reflect the local balance between gasoline supply and demand. Notably, the cost of crude oil is the largest component in the price of regular gasoline, accounting for 55% of the per-gallon cost, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Right now, demand for crude oil is outpacing supply across the U.S. ...
Given these conditions, it’s no time to restrict or discourage U.S. natural gas and oil production. Instead, government and industry should work together to expand the safe and responsible development of American energy resources. Unfortunately, while America’s natural gas and oil are in high demand, the Biden administration has advanced misguided policies that could exacerbate the crude imbalance and further affect consumers.
Posted July 15, 2021
As we await the Biden administration’s report on the federal natural gas and oil leasing program, let’s note the welcome news that oil and gas permitting approvals this year are on track to reach their highest levels since George W. Bush was president.
Permitting at that pace is good for near-term U.S. production, no question. In January, when the administration suspended new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters, it said permitting would continue, and it has. The country benefits from safe, responsible and robust domestic natural gas and oil production.
Americans shouldn’t conflate permitting and leasing. Drilling permits are issued when companies are ready to develop from acreages, onshore and offshore, previously leased from the federal government. Put another way, leases typically are secured years before development occurs. We’re seeing permits go through at a significant rate because investment and planning have been completed and acreages are ready to go into production. Permitting is about production that’s imminent; leases represent energy in the future.
Posted June 21, 2021
Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction blocking President Biden’s policy pausing new natural gas and oil leases on federal lands and waters. The decision identified major limits on the federal government’s ability to restrict energy access and concluded that the Department of the Interior must resume lease sales, both onshore and offshore.
On behalf of U.S. natural gas and oil operators, API urges the administration to move quickly to comply with the court order and end the federal leasing pause.
Posted May 3, 2021
The World Bank is out with its annual Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report, and there’s positive news on U.S. flaring from natural gas and oil production – underscoring industry’s commitment to reduce emissions while continuing to supply the affordable, reliable energy Americans use every day.
The report showed a 32% decrease in U.S. flaring from 2019-2020. This included decreased flaring in three key shale regions – the Permian, Bakken and Eagle Ford. Lower production last year associated with the pandemic was a factor, but the report also notes infrastructure improvements to capture and use gas that in the past would have been flared.
Posted April 6, 2021
The Biden administration’s pause in new natural gas and oil leasing on federal lands and waters continues to look like a hard sell, not only in energy-producing states but also with traditional Democratic allies in organized labor.
We’ve talked about potential negative effects of the administration’s policy on leasing and have warned against even greater impacts to the economy and American energy security if the pause becomes a permanent ban on federal leasing and development (see here, here and here). Projected impacts from a full-on ban on leasing and development in an analysis by OnLocation include approximately 1 million jobs could be lost – nearly 120,000 in Texas, more than 62,000 in New Mexico and more than 48,000 in Louisiana – foreign oil imports could increase 2 million barrels per day; and carbon dioxide emissions could increase 5.5%
Similar concerns surfaced as the U.S. Interior Department (DOI) held a forum on the federal oil and gas program. At the public session, Frank Macchiarola, API senior vice president of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs, noted that federal lands and waters account for 22% of U.S. oil and 12% of U.S. natural gas production and urged DOI leaders to recognize the importance of this production to U.S. energy security, economic growth and continued environmental progress.
Posted March 18, 2021
It’s not surprising that New Mexico’s governor, both U.S. senators and other elected officials are concerned with the Biden administration’s halt in new federal natural gas and oil leasing. In 2020, New Mexico was the nation’s No. 3 crude oil producer and No. 8 natural gas producer, and the administration’s policy could affect billions of dollars in state revenues and thousands of jobs.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, penned a letter to President Biden earlier this week cautioning that potential lost revenues as a result of the policy could mean significant hardship for her state. New Mexico receives more than 40% of its total revenue – nearly $4 billion annually – from taxes and royalties paid by the natural gas and oil industry.