Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted October 31, 2017
Posted March 16, 2017
Posted March 21, 2016
Interesting weekend remarks from the Energy Department’s deputy secretary on U.S. oil and natural gas exports to Europe – especially so because DOE is the key federal agency in allowing domestic liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects to proceed.
Energy Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall was speaking at a forum hosted by the German Marshall Fund in Brussels, Belgium, when she discussed the dramatic change in energy markets caused by the U.S. shale revolution. Sherwood-Randall:
“What’s really changed in the global energy landscape is American abundance of supply of both oil and gas. … We are now poised to become significant exporters of both oil and natural gas. We began the export of natural gas just last month, and we are also beginning to export oil.”
Posted June 19, 2015
The issue was energy infrastructure – where the United States is and where things are headed. At the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) annual conference this week, one discussion honed in on the challenges to infrastructure approval and construction – as well as government’s best role in developing projects that are key to U.S. energy transport and overall energy security. The latter produced some friction between speakers not often seen at conferences like EIA’s. More below.
The U.S. Energy Department’s Melanie Kenderdine talked about some of the details in the department’s recently issued Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which focused on ways to modernize the nation’s infrastructure.
Posted March 25, 2015
Amid the continuing public discussion over improving the safety of crude oil delivered by rail, it’s important that everyone – the energy industry, railroads, regulators, policymakers – stay focused on the facts and the science. This is key to making meaningful improvements to freight rail transportation – which already delivers 99.998 percent of materials like crude oil without incident. We say meaningful improvements because, as with everything we do, the oil and natural gas industry’s safety goal is zero incidents.
First, the science. A new Energy Department report found no data showing correlation between crude oil properties and the likelihood or severity of a fire caused by a train derailment. Also from the report:
No single parameter defines the degree of flammability of a fuel; rather, multiple parameters are relevant. While a fuel with a lower flashpoint, wider range of flammability limits, lower auto-ignition temperature, lower minimum ignition energy, and higher maximum burning velocity is generally considered more flammable, the energy generated from an accident has the potential to greatly exceed the flammability impact of these and any other crude oil property based criteria.
That last point highlights the importance of preventing derailments in the first place because, according to the department’s report, the kinetic energy created by a derailment can play a bigger role in the size of a fire than the commodity the train is hauling.
Posted May 20, 2014
Last week’s finding by federal regulators that a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporting project in southern Maryland would pose “no significant impact” on the environmental is great news for the local and state economy, as well as for the United States, when it comes to broader trade and economic benefits from exporting U.S. LNG. Let’s hope the commission quickly follows up to approve the $3.8 billion project at Cove Point, Md.
Diane Leopold, president of Dominion Energy, which owns the existing LNG import facility (left) where the export project is planned:
“This marks another important step forward in a project that has very significant economic benefits and helps two allied nations in their efforts to increase their energy security and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. … The Cove Point LNG facility has been in existence for nearly 40 years and this makes the most of existing facilities. This project will be built within the existing footprint and fence line of an industrial site. There is no need for additional pipelines, storage tanks or permanent piers, thus limiting its impact and making an environmental assessment appropriate.”
Posted May 14, 2014
Wall Street Journal (subscription publication): Top Obama administration officials are considering relaxing federal laws banning crude-oil exports, a move that would upend decades-old policy, cause a political stir in Washington and sway the global oil market.
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Tuesday that some of the fast-growing supply of domestically produced oil isn't suitable for refining locally, which could warrant re-examining a nearly 40-year-old law that bans exports of most crude.
"The nature of the oil we're producing may not be well-matched to our current refinery capacity," Mr. Moniz said Tuesday after an energy conference in Seoul. The administration is studying the issue, though government officials declined to comment on its scope or timing.
Posted April 10, 2014
Legislation that would accelerate U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) – by approving a backlog of more than 20 export permits pending with the Energy Department and expediting future permit requests for export to World Trade Organization members – cleared an important hurdle in the U.S. House this week.
“In the last few weeks, new proposals have won bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, and we are optimistic that members will come together on efforts to harness the full economic and strategic power of America’s energy exports. The U.S. is the world’s top producer of natural gas, and allies around the globe are looking to America for leadership on energy issues. Now is the time to tear down our own bureaucratic hurdles to trade, create thousands of new American jobs, and strengthen our position as an energy superpower.”
Posted March 25, 2014
Because Lithuania has a front-row seat to the current Ukraine-Russia crisis, the appearance of the country’s energy minister at a Senate hearing on U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports was especially timely. Jaroslav Neverovič had a pretty simple message to the United States: We need U.S. natural gas.
Neverovič probably was the most anticipated of the witnesses at the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s hearing, the first led by Sen. Mary Landrieu, the panel’s new chairman. Neverovič:
“At present, we are completely – 100 percent – dependent upon single supplier of natural gas and, as a result, are forced to pay a political price for this vital energy resource. Lithuanian families and businesses pay 30 percent more for natural gas than citizens in other European countries. This is not just unfair. This is abuse of monopolist position.”
The minister said while Lithuania is taking steps to achieve energy independence, it needs help.
Posted March 21, 2014
The Huntsman Corporation’s Peter Huntsman has this op-ed in USA Today that invokes a poll in which people were asked to respond to these statements:
Some say that exporting American natural gas to other countries will increase economic growth, keep thousands employed, and help increase domestic production of natural gas. Others say that American natural gas should be used here at home, where it can lead to thousands of new manufacturing jobs, grow the entire American economy, and keep prices of natural gas affordable. Which comes closest to your view?
Actually, it’s a false choice, a little bit of opinion polling flim-flammery. We can have both – as careful, scholarly research (see here and here) has shown. We have ample natural gas reserves to supply the needs here at home as well as those of friendly overseas buyers.