Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted April 2, 2020
TC Energy’s announcement that it will proceed with building the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline is a big deal in terms of vital energy for America, jobs, economic growth and North American security. The 1,210-mile pipeline – able to safely deliver 830,000 barrels per day from Canada’s oil sands region in Alberta to the U.S. heartland – figures to be a significant, long-awaited progress toward helping secure this country’s future energy needs.
I say “long-awaited” because my first API writing assignment was about the KXL – nearly nine years ago!
Over that time the pipeline became a political football – a debate in which the basic facts were mostly incontestable: thousands of good jobs during KXL’s construction, tens of millions of dollars in property and income tax revenues to different levels of government and no significant effect on the climate or environment, according to the U.S. State Department, which conducted six comprehensive scientific reviews.
Posted July 1, 2016
Happy Canada Day! Here in the U.S., if you’re not already celebrating with our friends to the North, think about starting. Canada is much more than a good neighbor.
OK, seriously, we celebrate with the Canadians because Canada is vital in terms of trade and energy security.
Posted November 12, 2015
Another postscript to the president’s unfortunate and shortsighted rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline last week: The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that as total U.S. crude oil imports decline, Canada’s share of the imports total is rising.
The data shows that in August 1995 the U.S. imported a total of 7.43 million barrels per day (bb/d), including a little over 1 million bb/d from Canada, about 13 percent of the total. In August this year U.S. oil imports were 7.63 million bb/d (down from a high of 10.7 million bb/d in June 2005), including 3.4 million bb/d from Canada, about 45 percent of the total. (At the same time imports from Venezuela, which produces a heavy crude similar to oil sands crude, have declined from 1.29 million bb/d in 2004 to 849,000 bb/d in August – no doubt, a result of increasing supply from Canada.)
What we see here is a snapshot of the strategically important growth in the United States’ energy partnership with Canada. Our neighbor and ally is our No. 1 source of imported oil – almost three times larger than imports from Persian Gulf countries.
Posted November 6, 2015
With President Obama’s unfortunate decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, look for a number of reports and analyses advancing the notion that the president’s decision is a “stunning defeat” for our industry, Canada and members of Congress who support the project. We disagree.
Canadian oil sands development that Keystone XL would have helped facilitate will continue. As an IHS study detailed earlier this year, oil sands production is critically important to North American supply and U.S. security, and it will go on – as will efforts to get Keystone XL off the drawing board, built and operating – creating jobs and increasing energy security.
The real defeat in the president’s decision has been inflicted on the American people. It’s their present and future that have been dealt a severe blow by a White House that ultimately valued out-of-the-mainstream political interests over the national interest.
Posted September 23, 2015
At some point during the past seven years the Keystone XL pipeline ceased to exist only as an important project of energy infrastructure – one that could generate jobs, economic growth and strengthen U.S. energy security – and became a symbol for a narrow ideological agenda, a political football the White House has endlessly punted around to suit its own political needs. Little surprise, then, that Hillary Clinton has decided to join in the KXL kicking.
Posted September 17, 2015
This Saturday marks a dubious anniversary: seven years since the first permit application was filed to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
Given the typical process for a federal cross-border pipeline approval, Keystone XL should have started pumping oil from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region years ago. For purely political reasons, Keystone XL has languished with the Obama administration for seven years now – denying significant energy, economic and national security benefits to the United States.
The months and years come and go, and yet American public support for Keystone XL has remained a constant – underscoring the political nature of the White House’s mishandling of the project. A new poll of registered voters found 68 percent of Americans want the pipeline built – compared to 21 percent opposed. The result is similar to this poll last fall as well as polls in April 2014, December 2013, April 2013, February 2012 and others. This is consensus. With the American people, Keystone XL is a settled issue.
Posted July 10, 2015
Here’s one takeaway from IHS’ new research report on Canadian oil sands: Thank goodness for Canada and its oil sands.
Along with our own domestic energy renaissance, oil sands imports from our northern neighbor and ally are growing America’s energy security. Oil sands crude is critically important now and will be into the future, IHS says – which is why we here in the United States should be ever so grateful for our energy partnership with Canada and attentive to ways that relationship can be strengthened.
Yes, that’s a reference to the long-languishing Keystone XL pipeline. If we’re serious about oil sands development – and IHS’ report strongly suggests Americans should be – then we should quit politicking to death the single biggest infrastructure project at hand that would facilitate oil sands transportation to the U.S.
Posted June 24, 2015
A few observations on an Energy Department-funded study that reportedly asserts Canadian oil sands will yield significantly greater emissions than conventional crude oil. We say “reportedly,” because the study itself isn’t out yet, just the abstract. Even so, the Wall Street Journal breathlessly says the “findings provide ammunition to foes of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and other critics of surging Canadian oil output.”
Now, take a deep breath.
We’ve posted on this claim before. President Obama brought it up a couple months ago to justify more than six years of delaying a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline by the White House. Certainly, assigning alarming greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to oil sands boosts an anti-KXL, anti-oil sands position. But it’s a faulty comparison.
Posted June 5, 2015
OK, so EPA says safe hydraulic fracturing isn’t a threat to the nation’s drinking water. That’s great news for America’s energy revolution, which is being driven by advanced fracking and horizontal drilling. Without them there’s no revolution and certainly fewer jobs and less economic opportunity. Thanks, EPA, for following the science and recognizing – as industry has for some time, producing specific best practices for fracking – that the focus should be on continually improving safe operations and advancing technologies. These will help ensure our energy revolution goes forward.
Now, let’s talk about another country’s energy revolution – one that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in the U.S. beyond the unfortunate, protracted debate over the Keystone XL pipeline. Canada’s own energy revolution is at the heart of the U.S.-Canadian relationship and is so integral to U.S. security. The vitality of Canadian energy is something more Americans should care about, as it bears directly and indirectly on our lives in a number of ways.
Posted May 13, 2015
Some observations on a new University of Texas energy poll and its findings on the Keystone XL pipeline:
First, among Americans who have some familiarity with Keystone XL, 45 percent support the pipeline’s construction while 21 percent oppose. (Twenty-one percent said they neither support nor oppose Keystone XL and 13 percent said they didn’t know.)
The more than 2-1 margin of Americans who favor Keystone XL over those who don’t in the poll underscores a couple of things: People who’ve learned about the pipeline, its purposes and its benefits in terms of jobs and economic growth overwhelmingly support it – and they must be baffled that it hasn’t been built yet. It also underscores how unfortunate it is for the country that Keystone XL’s merits have been denied by purely political, inside-Washington reasons.
Second, among those in the poll who oppose Keystone XL, climate change isn’t the top reason they oppose it – no doubt a kick in the pants to those who’ve spent lots of time and money arguing that building the oil pipeline would doom the climate and the planet.
They have themselves to blame. The main reasons to oppose Keystone XL, cited by the 21 percent in the poll – potential impacts on the environment and water, the presence of hazardous chemicals and benefits accruing to Canada instead of U.S. consumers – reflect the “whack-a-mole” strategy opposition leaders used, moving from flawed claim to flawed claim as quickly as facts, science and sound analysis dispelled them.
To further the discussion, let’s look again at the facts surrounding the top concerns of the 21 percent. Maybe that number will come down in the next UT poll.