Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted December 22, 2014
Posted June 26, 2014
Washington Post: Even Democrats who prefer to develop alternate energy sources before expanding the use of fossil fuels say they want the Keystone XL pipeline built.
The new Pew "Political Typology" report shows huge majorities of all four Democratic-leaning groups support the development of wind, solar and hydrogen alternatives to oil, coal and natural gas. But of those same four groups, the Keystone XL pipeline is still overwhelmingly popular in three of them.
Among "hard-pressed skeptics," "next generation left" and "faith and family left," support for Keystone is two-to-one. So even as a group like the "next generation left" group supports alternate energy over fossil fuels 83-11, it still backs Keystone 62-28.
Posted June 13, 2014
Business Insider: Brent oil futures briefly began approaching $115 this morning, the highest level in nine months, as fears that Iraq is disintegrating spooked markets.
Crude is now up about 4% on the week. When prices stay at this level for this long, U.S. gas prices start creeping up.
But what about all the oil the U.S. has been producing the last few years? Shouldn't we be insulated from whatever oil is doing?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Gasoline prices are set on the global market, and refiners everywhere ship product to wherever they can get the best quote. So for better or worse, raw gasoline prices mostly move in lockstep around the world. The primary contract for gasoline is called RBOB.
Posted June 9, 2014
Wall Street Journal (Joseph Nye): HOUSTON — The United States produced enough energy to satisfy 84 percent of its needs in 2013, a rapid climb from its historic low in 2005, according to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The nation produced 81.7 quadrillion British thermal units of energy last year and consumed 97.5 quadrillion, the highest ratio since 1987. The nation’s energy output rose 18 percent from 2005 to 2013, as a surge in oil and gas production offset declines in coal. Meanwhile, its total energy used fell 2.7 percent during that period.
The nation’s ability to meet its own energy needs hit an all-time low in 2005, when the amount of energy produced domestically met just 69 percent of demand. The last time the United States’ energy production exceeded its energy use was in the 1950s, according to the Energy Information Administration, an agency of the Energy Department.
Posted March 27, 2014
Associated Press: WASHINGTON -- America's cities are still growing, with the population boom fueled by people picking up and moving to find jobs in energy production across the oil- and gas-rich areas west of the Mississippi River.
New 2013 census information released Thursday shows that cities are the fastest-growing parts of the United States, and a majority of the metro areas showing that growth are located in or near the oil- and gas-rich fields of the Great Plains and Mountain West.
Neighboring cities Odessa and Midland, Texas, show up as the second and third fastest-growing metro areas in the country. Sara Higgins, the Midland public information officer, has a simple explanation: oil. "They're coming here to work," Higgins said.
Energy production is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States, the Census Bureau said. The boom in the U.S. follows the use of new technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, to tap oil and gas reserves.
Posted March 10, 2014
Fracking Uses Lots of Water? Hardly
Real Clear Energy: For some reason, hydraulic fracking has gotten a reputation for using a lot of water. Not so, says Economic Policies for the 21st Century at the Manhattan Institute. When you look at the actual amount of water used in the process, hydraulic fracking comes out at the bottom of the list. As the report observes, "It takes twice as much water to maintain a golf course for a month than to frack a natural gas well."
Don't forget, all other energy resources use a lot of water, too. Biofuels is the biggest offender, since huge amounts of water are required to process and dilute the organic material. When the irrigation water needed to grow the crops is included, biofuels consume in excess of 2500 gallons of water per million BTU. (That may be cheating a bit since some advanced biofuel crops may not require irrigation, but the current corn crop, the source of all our ethanol, is heavily irrigated.) All forms of oil drilling require lots of water since water usually has to be added once a well passes maturity.
Posted February 25, 2014
American Shale Gas and Tight Oil: Reshaping the Global Energy Balance
IHS Unconventional Energy Blog: The development of shale gas and tight oil in the United States constitutes an “unconventional revolution,” owing to its scale and speed. It is already having a profound global impact: upending energy markets, reshaping competitiveness in the world economy, and portending major shifts in global politics.
The unconventional revolution was born out of advances in two technologies. Hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — was introduced at the end of the 1940s. Efforts to apply this technique to dense shale in Texas began in the early 1980s. But it took two decades to perfect the combination of fracking and horizontal drilling that would drive the new boom. And it wasn’t until 2008 that these techniques began to have a major impact.
Since then, however, growth has been remarkable. Shale gas currently accounts for nearly half of U.S. natural gas production, and U.S. prices have fallen to one third of European levels and one-fifth of Asian levels. Tight oil, produced with the same techniques as shale gas, has led to a 60 percent rise in U.S. oil production since 2008. This increase of three million barrels per day is larger than the national output of nine of the 13 OPEC countries. The International Energy Agency predicts that the U.S. will soon overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s largest oil producer.
Posted February 10, 2014
How the U.S. Energy Boom is Changing America’s Place in the World
Time: It wasn’t even five years ago that Iran reelected hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a disputed presidential election, openly admitted it was building a uranium enrichment facility and brazenly test-fired missiles capable of hitting targets in Israel. Fast-forward to today: A more conciliatory president, Hassan Rouhani, is making historic overtures toward the West and negotiations are showing rare progress toward containing the country’s nuclear program, which has kept the region—and the world—on edge for years.
The difference, according to former Obama administration National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, can be summed up in one word: “fracking.” That’s hydraulic fracturing, the drilling method that’s helped fuel an unprecedented domestic energy boom in the United States.
“There’s a direct line between the U.S.-led sanctions effort to put pressure on Iran” and the flood of oil and gas coming out of the ground at home due to fracking technology, Donilon said Thursday night at an event announcing a new report from the Center for a New American Security, titled “Energy Rush: Shale Production and U.S. National Security.”
Before the North American energy boom—the largest-ever annual increase in domestic oil production took place in 2012—a harsh sanctions regime against Iran looked more like a suicide pact for the oil-import-dependent U.S. Instead, America’s sudden energy abundance dampened the blow of reduced oil exports to the global economy, making truly harsh sanctions on Iran possible.
Read more: http://ti.me/1eKvYKd
Posted January 27, 2014
Free America’s Energy Future: Drop Washington’s Counterproductive Oil and Natural Gas Ban
Forbes (Doug Bandow): For years people have been told to expect a dismal energy future. But because of rapid free market innovation, Americans now can look forward to a future of energy abundance. The U.S. could even become a leading exporter—if Washington gets out of the way.
Successive presidents and Congresses imposed controls, approved subsidies, created bureaucracies, and issued proclamations. The most common commitment was to achieve “energy independence.” But President Ronald Reagan set the stage for today’s energy advances by unilaterally eliminating oil price controls and pushing Congress to drop natural gas price and use restrictions.
His successors, however, have regressed back to expensive social engineering. George W. Bush declared war on the common light bulb. Barack Obama poured billions into the coffers of well-connected alternative energy firms, several of which, such as Solyndra, have gone bankrupt. And everyone continued to support the authoritarian Gulf kleptocracies, led by Saudi Arabia, to ensure access to imported oil.
Yet an energy revolution is underway. Observed Mark P. Mills, an Adjunct Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, “The game-changing technologies that have emerged involve hydrocarbons: natural gas, oil, and coal.” Major advances have been made in locating and extracting resources—such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—and operating in more distant and hostile environments.
Read more: http://onforb.es/1f7kRXN
Posted October 18, 2013
Amid Oil Boom, Petroleum Exports Surge
National Journal: RICHMOND, Calif. – It takes about a month for oil to arrive from the Middle East to a refinery here on the edge of the San Francisco Bay. On a clear day, you can see the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance from the refinery's pier, but you will probably notice first and foremost the massive tankers docked and unloading oil into a web of pipes.
About 60 percent of the oil processed by this refinery, owned and operated by Chevron, comes from the Middle East. Most of the rest comes from Alaska, also by tanker. But the oil coming in is not as interesting as what is going out. Many companies are beginning to turn around and export the refined gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.
"As the economy has taken a hit, as vehicle efficiency standards have lowered the demand for fuel, California refineries in aggregate can now produce more than the local demand and therefore products are beginning to be exported," said Dave Reeves, president of global supply and trading at Chevron.
Read more: http://bit.ly/H1RtaF