Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted October 15, 2021
News item #1: Because energy demand has continued to significantly outpace supply, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects U.S. households will spend more money on heating costs this winter compared to last winter – for electricity, natural gas, propane and heating oil.
News item #2: Again, largely due to the demand-supply mismatch that’s further tightened energy markets and put upward pressure on prices, White House officials continue to wrestle with the impacts of higher consumer energy costs, including gasoline.
News item #3: Coal use has climbed, complicating U.S. efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Bloomberg reports U.S. power plants are projected to burn 23% more coal this year, the first increase since 2013, driven by higher natural gas prices. …
Taking all of this in, let’s make this point: There’s affordable, reliable energy available in the U.S., right now – American natural gas and oil.
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 24, 2021
The continuing story in Afghanistan is a reminder of how suddenly geopolitical events turn. Stability in the world is fleeting, and we know that global turbulence impacts energy, historically triggering oil price volatility. While the U.S. shale revolution helped keep global oil markets and costs stable, shielding American consumers from many of the impacts caused by destabilizing events in recent years, maintaining and increasing U.S. energy security should never cease to be a top national priority.
American energy security is strengthened by safe and responsible oil and natural gas production here at home. The two supplied nearly 70% of the energy Americans used in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). And natural gas was the leading fuel for generating electricity, EIA says, with a share nearly four times as large as wind and solar combined.Now, Afghanistan is raising concerns that could roil global trade, including oil markets.
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 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 11, 2021
The White House has big problems with its continued calls for more crude oil production from OPEC – even as it is discouraging U.S. production.
Rising domestic gasoline prices are a political problem for President Biden. … The administration’s political dilemma is that since April 2020, when EIA reported the per-gallon cost of gasoline was $1.938, prices rose to $3.231 last month. The safe assumption is that most Americans have noticed the 66.7% increase at the pump.
The White House response last month was to plead with OPEC to produce more crude oil – and that’s because the cost of crude oil is the No. 1 factor in the retail cost of gasoline. More supply means more downward pressure on crude costs and retail prices.
On Wednesday, President Biden doubled down on the approach, saying the administration wants OPEC to reverse production cuts made during the pandemic to lower prices for consumers. … Therein lies a big energy policy problem.
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 May 27, 2021
Posted March 17, 2021
One of the great benefits of increased U.S. oil production over the past decade and a half is strengthened U.S. energy security – decreased reliance on foreign oil suppliers and insulation for American consumers against sudden price increases due to geopolitical events, such as the recent attacks on Persian Gulf oil facilities.
Years ago, an episode like that could’ve caused serious alarm in the United States and globally. Yet, the apparent lack of significant or enduring oil price movement following last weekend’s attack shows the tremendous influence U.S. oil production has had on global markets. The same was true after missile attacks on Saudi facilities in 2019 (see here), which substantially reduced Saudi Arabia’s oil exports for a short period. Both events and their aftermath indicate that U.S. domestic production has largely mitigated the price volatility historically associated with serious geopolitical events.
Still, some cautions are in order. First, U.S. energy security can’t be assumed. It takes long-range planning and investments, safe access to domestic resources, the ability to expand pipeline and export facility infrastructure, and a policy-level approach that anticipates unforeseen events that could affect global energy supply and have dire impacts on U.S. security, economic growth, and consumers.
Posted September 9, 2020
Four questions for proponents of policies that would effectively end new natural gas and oil development on federal lands and waters:
Where will the oil come from that won’t be produced here at home because of such a policy?
Where will nearly 1 million Americans find new work after this policy costs them their jobs?
What will Americans do without because of higher energy costs resulting from the policy?
How will the U.S. continue making environmental progress if increased coal use caused by the policy raises carbon dioxide emissions?
These and other questions are prompted by a new analysis projecting the effects of halting new natural gas and oil on federal lands and waters -- prepared for API by OnLocation with the U.S. Energy Information Administration's National Energy Modeling System, which EIA uses to produce its Annual Energy Outlook.