Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted July 16, 2020
Improvements to the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) – the first modernization proposed in nearly half a century – should help clear red tape that can bog down critical infrastructure projects for years and in the process block job creation and affect environmental protection.
The administration’s priority on updating NEPA to streamline infrastructure projects was clear in that President Trump made the announcement. The Council on Environmental Quality estimates that due to NEPA red tape, the average review takes nearly six years, and the average cost to complete a review is $4.2 million.
Modernization of NEPA is long overdue. NEPA review is a chief reason that building infrastructure has become so challenging in this country. A long menu of infrastructure projects has been impacted by protracted NEPA review, not just natural gas and oil projects (see previous posts here and here). These include airports, traffic improvements, wind farms and more.
John D. Siciliano
Posted April 27, 2020
Enhancing engine protection and performance with the co-benefit of improving fuel economy in cars, trucks, and SUVs is what the public can expect when API’s new engine oil standards go into effect on May 1.
The 18th edition of the API 1509 engine oil standard – Engine Oil Licensing and Certification System (EOLCS) – is a product of industry’s continuous process of updating motor oil specifications to meet the demands of the marketplace and consumers.
For example, the new standard includes a conservation specification to improve fuel economy – in addition to keeping a vehicle’s emissions control systems in check – while also being able to account for the introduction of more renewable fuels into the gasoline supply. This means that oil bearing the API licensing mark can both boost the number of miles driven on a gallon of gasoline, while improving the overall performance of the engine, which is good for consumers and the environment alike.
John D. Siciliano
Posted December 9, 2019
The recent box office success of 20th Century Fox’s “Ford vs Ferrari” helped moviegoers understand just what it took for the Ford Motor Company to build a world-class supercar and win the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in the 1960s.
But the movie also made me recall the oil industry’s ties to these champions. And the link between Ford and the energy sector when it comes to upping a car’s engine performance and making cars more environmentally sustainable.
Posted June 12, 2019
The U.S. energy revolution continues to surge ahead – but you might not know it from some recent headlines: “The Shale Boom Is About To Go Bust” (Oil Price.com); “Oil Wells Aren’t Producing as Much as Forecast” (Wall Street Journal); “U.S. Oil Production Is Headed For A Quick Decline” (Oil Price.com)
Actually, domestic natural gas and oil production continues to expand. See API’s most recent Monthly Statistical Report. For some of the same reasons economists are so bad at predicting recessions, sometimes analysts may struggle to accurately project where U.S. energy is heading. After all, the shale revolution’s prospects have been underestimated since it launched.
Posted October 13, 2016
Making industry operations more energy efficient makes sense on two levels: It’s good for the environment and it’s good for business. It’s another way the oil and natural gas industry is making a difference in areas and communities across the country.
Posted June 8, 2015
Platts (The Barrel Blog) – When OPEC left production unchanged in November last year many understood it to be US or Canadian tight oil producers who would suffer, but thanks to technological advances — to paraphrase Mark Twain — the reports of the death of the tight boom have been greatly exaggerated.
After OPEC’s announcement of stable production, crude prices fell under $50/b, and the obituaries began to be written.
But lower prices forced companies to become hyper-vigilant on costs, and the result was the opposite of what may have been intended. US and Canadian production continued to grow, and E&P companies became leaner and more efficient — leading to a more competitive industry.
The savings from technological advances and more efficient internal processes, unlike the drop in rig dayrates that could rise again when the market turns, will be a more permanent feature of the North American oil market.
The numbers tell the story. The North American oil rig count dropped from its peak in early October at 1,609 to 646 for the week-ending May 29, yet productions is headed in the opposite direction — US oil output hit 9.586 million b/d, its highest daily rate since the EIA began weekly production reports in 1983. The EIA recently forecast another million b/d of oil production growth until it peaks in 2020 at 10.603 million b/d.
Posted May 19, 2015
Oil and Gas Investor: The technology that fueled the U.S. shale revolution could breathe new life into old oil fields outside of North America.
More than 170 mature oil plays worldwide have the potential from horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to produce as much as 141 billion barrels (Bbbl) of oil, according to an IHS report on May 13.
Of the estimated 141 Bbbl of potentially recoverable oil using unconventional techniques, 135 Bbbl exist in plays that would likely require hydraulic fracture stimulation to produce. Roughly 6 Bbbl sit in plays that may not require hydraulic fracturing.
Posted May 11, 2015
Breaking Energy Opinion (Thorning): The Department of Energy recently approved an application from Alaska LNG to export natural gas. But there’s a catch: these exports can only go to nations where the United States has a free-trade agreement in place.
Never mind the fact that the top markets for LNG are India, China, and Japan, where we don’t have free-trade agreements set up.So essentially, the company is stuck alongside the 20-plus U.S. natural gas companies that are awaiting approval to sell abroad. Some have been waiting for nearly three years.
Despite the rapid expansion of the American energy sector, the American regulatory apparatus hasn’t kept pace with the industry’s growth. New exploration techniques like fracking have opened up giant swaths of underground energy reserves in places like North Dakota and Pennsylvania. And the operations established to dig up the embedded oil and natural gas have created hundreds of thousands of new jobs and driven billions in new economic activity.
But now, unnecessary regulations are stifling firms with outdated rules. Most notably, the federal approval process energy producers have to navigate in order to sell in foreign markets is extremely restrictive. It’s needlessly difficult for firms to ship surplus oil and gas to eager customers abroad.
Posted May 5, 2015
Energy Outlook Blog (Geoff Styles): The US Energy Information Administration's latest Annual Energy Outlook features the key finding that the US is on track to reduce its net energy imports to essentially zero by 2030, if not sooner. That might seem surprising, in light of the recent collapse of oil prices and the resulting significant slowdown in drilling. EIA has covered that base, as well, in a side-case in which oil prices remain under $80 per barrel through 2040, and net imports bottom out at around 5% of total energy demand. Either way, this is as close to true US energy independence as I ever expected to see.
It wasn't that many years ago that such an outcome seemed ludicrously unattainable. I recall patiently explaining to various audiences that we simply couldn't drill our way to energy independence. The forecast of self-sufficiency that EIA has assembled depends on a lot more than just drilling, but without the development of previously inaccessible oil and gas resources through advanced drilling technology and hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. "fracking", it couldn't be made at all. The growing contributions of various renewables are still dwarfed by oil and natural gas, for now.
Posted April 1, 2015