Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted June 10, 2021
Throughout the 2021 economic recovery, API’s data have demonstrated the intertwined relationship between the nation’s recovering economy and affordable, reliable energy. Leading economic indicators have continued to rise, and along with them so has oil demand – even as domestic oil drilling and supply have fallen.
According to the current Bloomberg consensus of economic forecasters, U.S. real GDP growth could average 6.6% in 2021 compared with 2020 -- its strongest expansion since 1984, when the real price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil was just over $70 per barrel. Coincidentally, recent oil prices have been at similar levels, and the key question now is whether we have the energy supply to support such a torrid pace of growth.
In that context, actions by the Biden administration that negatively impact or could impact domestic oil and natural gas production appear detached from the nation’s critical need for secure, accessible energy.
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 December 7, 2016
It’s hard to overstate the importance of America’s fracking-led energy renaissance – to our economy, individual households, energy security, the environment and to America’s ability to shape global events for the good. That last point is being underscored right now.
Posted September 9, 2016
Looking back, the weight of scholarship and analysis had predicted that, rather than cause higher pump prices here at home as some claimed, exporting domestic crude would put downward pressure on U.S. gasoline prices. In fact, that’s what we’re seeing – abundant crude oil supply benefiting American consumers. U.S. crude exports are part of that market dynamic – while also helping to support domestic production and strengthening America’s balance of trade.
Posted December 7, 2015
t’s good that Congress appears to be talking seriously about ending the United States’ four-decades-old ban on crude oil exports. Reports say Democrats and Republicans are discussing a deal that would include lifting the export ban – though it’s unclear what a specific deal would look like. “We need to have a conversation” about oil exports, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin told Politico. “We need to have a fair negotiation.”
Of course, we’ve been having a conversation about the merits of lifting the exports ban for some time. And it starts with this: Every major study on the issue has found that exporting U.S. crude oil would be good for America and Americans. The benefits range from those to consumers, to the economy, to American security to domestic energy production. According to the research, ending the outdated ban would positively impact all of the above.
Posted November 18, 2015
Interesting analysis on energy independence in the Wall Street Journal by Columbia University’s Jason Bordoff, a former energy adviser to President Obama. It’s a good thing the United States isn’t energy independent, Bordoff writes. That’ll get your attention, right?
As Bordoff explains, “energy independence” is a dusty concept from the 1970s and 80s, after policymakers made it a goal to end U.S. reliance on global crude suppliers after the 1973 oil embargo. It didn’t happen. To the contrary, U.S. imports steadily climbed in the 1990s and 2000s before the significant increases in domestic production, thanks to abundant American shale energy reserves and advanced hydraulic fracturing.
Now, with U.S. energy output surging, the inclination among some is to keep that energy here at home by maintaining the 1970s-era ban on crude oil exports, believing that it lessens others’ ability to disrupt our oil supplies. But Bordoff writes that an “isolationist” approach on energy misunderstands the reality that today’s global energy market is highly integrated and that the interconnectedness of the market has helped the U.S. compensate for supply disruptions here at home and overseas. “Free trade in a highly integrated global energy market made us more secure,” he writes.
Posted October 19, 2015
The question Americans should be asking right now: Why is the Obama administration actively working to clear the way for Iran to resume trading its crude oil on the global market while it opposes legislation that would do the same for U.S. oil?
It’s a great question for which the administration can offer no good answer, because there isn’t one.
Yet, that’s the policy disconnect that is unfolding before Americans’ very eyes, with the weekend news that the administration approved conditional sanctions waivers for Iran that at some point will let the Iranians resume exporting their oil to the world – within days of the White House threatening to veto bipartisan legislation in Congress that would end the 1970s-era ban on U.S. oil exports.
Posted October 15, 2015
Reuters reports that Lithuania is in talks with U.S. liquefied natural gas company Cheniere Energy, seeking to reduce its dependence on Russia for LNG supplies. Lithuania opened an LNG import terminal last year, and its gas supply contract with Russian state-owned supplier Gazprom is scheduled to expire at the end of the year. Rokas Masiulis, Lithuania’s energy minister:
“We would love to have U.S. cargo in our region to have competition with Gazprom. … I believe negotiations with Gazprom now will be on competitive, reasonable terms and that will be just business and nothing else. … After we have built an LNG terminal, there is no possibility of blackmail. Since we think there is no possibility of blackmail, discussion will be rational and economical rather than political. This is a big step.”
The minister speaks diplomatically, so let’s read between the lines a bit. We suspect that Lithuania is trying to secure the diversification of its energy supply. The country wants options, additional sources of LNG so that it is beyond leveraging by Russia on natural gas. Russia did this with oil in 2006, Reuters reports.
At the same time, Masiulis told Reuters that Lithuania also would be open to buying U.S. crude oil if the United States repeals its current ban on the export of domestic crude.
Posted October 13, 2015
Last week’s bipartisan U.S. House vote to end America’s 1970s-era ban on crude oil exports is stirring needed debate over U.S. energy and trade policy as the exports issue advances in Congress. Unfortunately, much of the conversation remains focused on the wrong things.
For example, export opponents continue to say the United States shouldn’t export crude oil as long as it’s an oil importer. We rebutted that economically faulty position here. Access to global markets means bringing overseas wealth to the United States. Conversely, shutting in a domestic commodity is an obstacle to production and economic growth. The oil imports/exports threshold is one that isn’t applied to other domestic goods – and for good reason: Access to global markets is good for domestic producers.
Posted October 9, 2015
It’s a bit early to go into a “victory formation” with the U.S. House of Representatives’ bipartisan vote to pass legislation lifting the United States’ decades-old ban on exporting domestic crude oil. The measure still has to get through the Senate, and President Obama has promised to veto it – vetoing help to consumers, jobs and economic growth, as well as an opportunity to increase America’s global competitiveness while strengthening our security.
Yet, it’s a major step in the direction of making energy history, which ending the export ban surely would represent. It would acknowledge that the world is much changed since the 1970s-era ban was imposed – mainly, that the U.S. energy revolution has rewritten America’s energy narrative while fundamentally reordered the world energy balance. Both compel policymakers to finish the job and lift the export ban.