Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted February 18, 2021
More than 4 million Texas homes and businesses have been without electricity this week as an Arctic air mass left the state coping with temperatures hovering around zero. Electricity and natural gas use spiked and rolling blackouts were ordered as energy systems experienced what the Webber Energy Group’s Joshua Rhodes called a “black swan event” that taxed all parts of those systems at the same time.
I spoke with Dustin Meyer, API vice president of Natural Gas Markets, to find out what happened in Texas, to understand the conditions that left the nation’s No. 1 energy state struggling for power and heat and what resources could help prevent this from happening again.
Bottom line points: Texas’ difficulties represent a failure of the grid across the board, with all generation technologies falling short of expectations; as in California last summer, events in Texas underscore the need for a diverse energy supply and smart planning to support the health of the U.S. power grid; natural gas, unique among energy sources in supplying needed attributes that ensure grid reliability, is and will remain a key in that diverse mix; and natural gas has carried most of the energy load in Texas this week, and without its contributions the energy picture would have been even worse. Expanded infrastructure would help make natural gas systems more resilient.
Posted April 16, 2020
Amid talk in Texas of production quotas (“proration”) and other extreme policies that have been suggested to address the oil demand downturn, API’s Monthly Statistical Report (MSR) shows that supply is responding in real time and that U.S. crude and refined storage capacities have some flexibility to adjust to the COVID-19 driven demand decrease – helping to alleviate the need for blanket policies or government interventions.
Notably, recent federal actions may help provide additional flexibility to the entire energy value chain. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy’s opening of crude oil storage capacity within the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to individual companies provides much-needed flexibility. Separately, Federal Reserve measures to either purchase corporate bonds or provide loans may perform additional triage for the energy industry and across the broader economy.
Posted April 13, 2020
We understand the oil demand-side circumstances that have led to calls for artificial market interventions such as tariffs and quotas – including a proposal before natural gas and oil regulators in Texas to mandate oil production cuts in the United States’ No. 1 oil-producing state.
Tough market conditions are no reason to implement bad remedies, such as the Texas proposal, which is problematic at best.
That’s not just an API view. Economics and history argue strongly against veering from the principle of markets dictating production levels, which is a core principle of our industry.
Posted April 3, 2020
The natural gas and oil industry’s commitment to accelerate the reduction of methane emissions is being advanced on a number of fronts. The Environmental Partnership, whose 75 members include 33 of the top 40 U.S. producers of natural gas, is in its third year of sharing of knowledge and technologies to further reduce emissions. This week, the Texas Methane & Flaring Coalition, whose members represent nearly 80% of oil production in the state, was launched to work on flaring.
The coalition’s key initiatives include: developing best practices and opportunities to minimize methane emissions and flaring, improving accuracy and consistency in the reporting of vented and flared volumes and increasing public understanding of the safety and environmental reasons for flaring.
Posted January 29, 2020
The U.S. shale revolution keeps rolling, and with it strong support for state and public priorities. Texas and New Mexico each achieved record highs for industry contributions to statewide revenues and royalties, according to new reports from the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) and the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association (NMOGA).
In 2019, America’s natural gas and oil industry posted a record-setting year in terms of production and exports. And last fiscal year, energy operators paid billions of dollars in state and local taxes that fund education, infrastructure and healthcare facilities for residents across the southwestern U.S.
Posted October 24, 2018
From prepared remarks at this week at the Lone Star Energy Forum in Houston, hosted by the Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA):
It’s great to be back in Texas. And it’s a privilege to share a stage with some of the most steadfast advocates for U.S. energy leadership starting right here in Texas. TXOGA and API have the same goal, and it’s based on this event’s theme: “Energy Dominance Starts in Texas.” The goal is to make sure that the Energy Dominance that starts in Texas, doesn’t end in Washington, D.C.
Posted May 11, 2018
Protecting the environment is a core industry value. The environment belongs to everyone, and our companies and their employees are committed to producing natural gas and oil as safely as possible. This commitment includes preserving habitat and looking out for wildlife.
In this 2016 post and this post earlier this year, API colleague Kate Wallace detailed how companies have monitored elk populations in Wyoming and polar bears in Alaska, created artificial reefs off the Gulf Coast, developed pollinator gardens and bee sanctuaries and more. Companies also worked across five western states to create conservation areas for the lesser prairie chicken and preserve habitat for the sage-grouse. Our commitment is backed up by action.That’s why we’re optimistic a constructive and comprehensive plan can be crafted to take care of the dunes sagebrush lizard in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico while also maintaining critically important natural gas and oil production in the region – which would be unlikely if a new effort to list the lizard as endangered under federal law succeeds.
Posted September 18, 2017
Much of the energy-related news from hurricane-recovery areas of Texas and Florida continues to be encouraging. Shell said it was restarting its Deer Park refinery in the Houston area that was shut down three weeks ago with the approach of Hurricane Harvey. ExxonMobil said it could start most of the production units at its Beaumont, Texas, refinery later this week. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said pre-Hurricane Irma preparations and a concentrated focus on refueling the state’s communities have shown progress.
Posted September 12, 2017
Posted September 7, 2017
The humanitarian effort underway after Hurricane Harvey is showing Americans at their best. Communities across Texas have been battered by storm, with record-setting floods damaging or destroying more than 300,000 homes in the southeast part of the state. In Houston, home to 2.3 million people, the challenges of recovery are proving to be quite unique.
As families in one of the nation’s biggest corporate hubs began the arduous process of rebuilding, many have been able to turn to their employers for assistance. Energy companies have set up stations for employees to pick up emergency supplies, they’ve sent work crews to rip out drywall from flooded homes, and they’ve even provided helicopters to deliver water to families when the city of Beaumont’s water service failed.