Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted April 13, 2021
The Biden Administration’s goal of modernizing the nation’s infrastructure – including roads, bridges, rail and ports – is something that all Americans can support. At API we have long touted the compounding benefits of upgrading our nation’s infrastructure. The positives go well beyond material enhancements to include creating new jobs, helping communities nationwide, improving efficiencies throughout the economy by reducing congestion and delay, and – in the case of pipelines – bolstering safety and environmental performance.
Early outlines of the Administration’s plan include ambitious goals and many strengths. But it’s important to note that it misses an opportunity to take an across-the-board approach to addressing all our country’s current and future infrastructure needs, including modernizing the pipelines that power our modern lives.
John D. Siciliano
Posted April 2, 2021
Not as noticed in the Biden administration’s halt in new federal natural gas and oil leasing is the possible impact on U.S. offshore production. If the pause were to become a permanent leasing and development ban, nearly 15% of total U.S. oil production could be affected – with significant potential consequences for our country’s energy security and economic growth.
Offshore development not only is critical for our country’s future, it’s safer than ever – underscored by a report issued late last year by the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).
Posted February 9, 2021
As the White House considers where it stands on existing and future pipeline projects that bring the nation’s abundant domestic natural gas and oil – as well as products made from them – to where consumers need them, it should factor in that building and operating pipelines create and support tens of thousands of jobs, generate bipartisan support in Congress and are coveted by working men and women in America’s labor unions.
Exhibit A is last week’s U.S. Senate vote supporting the Keystone XL pipeline, the huge infrastructure project President Biden canceled his first day in office – and with it more than 1,000 union jobs. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana made support for the project bipartisan, and Manchin this week wrote a letter to the president asking him to reconsider his decision. ...
While Senate budget votes are largely symbolic, last week's vote has meaning going forward as the administration weighs other pipeline projects – projects that create jobs and help ensure the affordability and reliability of U.S. energy.
Exhibit B: Remarks by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in an Axios on HBO interview, critical of the president's Keystone XL cancellation.
Posted February 4, 2021
API’s new collaborative agreement with Azerbaijan’s national oil company is the latest in a series of partnerships to extend the safety and environmental benefits of our best-in-class industry standards globally.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) is the 10th MOU signed with an international institution in the past two years, extending the international network of government agencies and industry groups across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.
The result is a wider international focus and alignment on modern standards and operational technologies designed to help the natural gas and oil industry operate safely and sustainably– for workers, communities and the environment.
Posted August 7, 2020
News item from Bloomberg: TC Energy Corp. has reached agreements with four labor unions to build the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline – a move that could amplify political pressure on Joe Biden, who has threatened to rip up permits for the project even as he courts blue-collar workers.
Details in the announcement from TC Energy, Keystone XL’s builder: The project labor agreement (PLA) is with the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA), the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the International Union of Operating Engineers, and the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters (UA); Keystone XL will have 10,000 high-paying construction jobs, primarily filled by union workers; 2,000 unionized workers will start building some of the project’s 28 planned U.S. pump stations this fall, according to Bloomberg.
Overall, Keystone XL is projected to support 42,000 U.S. jobs and generate $2 billion in earnings for U.S. workers during pipeline construction, according to the U.S. State Department, which also found that the project won’t significantly impact climate or the environment.
Posted August 6, 2020
There are two new developments with the federal Nationwide Permit 12 program (NWP 12), which is critically important for key infrastructure projects of all kinds. Both point to the need for a clear, efficient, common-sense permitting program that balances environmental protection with streamlining projects that have limited environmental impacts.
Achieving this is occurring on two tracks. U.S. senators have introduced legislation that would cut red tape and in the short term help reestablish regulatory order and allow infrastructure projects to proceed if they’re following certain species protection rules already in the NWP 12. Meanwhile the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a proposal that includes renewing more than 50 Nationwide Permits for the next five years. This is important because the permits would expire in March 2022 otherwise.
Posted August 3, 2020
As we head into the heart of what is forecast to be an above-normal hurricane season, the natural gas and oil industry stands prepared to protect energy workers, neighboring communities, and the energy production facilities and infrastructure that are vital to keeping Americans well supplied.
Industry preparations help minimize the risk of extreme weather to critical energy infrastructure, including refineries and pipelines, and allow for rapid response to hurricane impacts – specifically, to help limit supply disruptions and aid the recovery. Of course, major weather events test preparations, but we are focused on being as prepared as possible for this season.
Posted July 14, 2020
U.S. energy infrastructure is at an inflection point, with a number of important natural gas and oil pipelines sidetracked by red tape and court decisions within the past few weeks. Most outrageously, the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline, which has been operating safely for three years, was ordered shut down and drained by a federal judge. More on Dakota Access below.
The inflection point is this: Will we build the safe, modern energy infrastructure that broadly serves the public interest, creates thousands of jobs and harnesses abundant domestic natural gas and oil, or will narrow, often extreme interests continue to block the public good?
John D. Siciliano
Posted May 20, 2020
Capt. Russell Holmes is the Center for Offshore Safety’s (COS) new director after serving for nearly three decades with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Holmes, who retired from the Coast Guard in 2020, takes over for Charlie Williams, who had led the center since 2012 after a long industry career. Holmes will be taking the center’s mission of offshore safety and environmental protection into its second decade of existence.
The center was created soon after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. Since then, the COS has enhanced the safety culture in offshore operations, while supporting federal regulations that mandate Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) at all operations on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Just prior to joining the center, Holmes served as the Coast Guard’s senior point of contact for offshore safety in the Gulf, overseeing marine inspection and investigation programs that ultimately support SEMS. As he explains in the Q&A below, Holmes says the industry’s professionalism and safety commitment matched his while he was serving as one of industry’s lead regulators.
Posted April 2, 2020
The health and safety of workers, communities and the environment is always a priority for the natural gas and oil industry, and never more so during a global pandemic. That’s why API requested temporary relief for non-essential compliance requirements from the White House and several federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Sadly, reasonable efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) among the energy workforce have been misconstrued by some as “regulatory rollbacks.” This blatantly political narrative is misleading, not to mention inconsistent with public health recommendations. As businesses and regulators adapt to changing circumstances – and implement physical distancing and stay-at-home policies – there may be limited personnel to manage the full scope of some non-essential requirements, but the commitment to safety and sustainability remains unchanged.