Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted January 28, 2019
The reopening of the federal government is welcome news for everyone. As one of the country’s most regulated sectors, the natural gas and oil industry urged resolution, recognizing the important federal role in our nation’s energy sector – including infrastructure project review, issuing permits and other activities.
That said, we’ll point out that during the shutdown, industry operated safely and efficiently each and every day, providing the natural gas and oil that support economic expansion, deliver valuable benefits to consumers, strengthen U.S. security and help advance progress on climate and environmental goals.
Industry’s commitment to regulatory compliance was unaffected by the shutdown, including regulation by EPA, the Bureau of Land Management, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies – as well as state regulations.
Posted August 7, 2017
Posted July 5, 2017
Earlier this year we posted about the lack of a quorum at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and how that could delay important energy infrastructure projects across the country – including a number of natural gas pipelines that would help distribute gas and its benefits to consumers, businesses, manufacturers and power generators.
The issue then was making nominations to fill vacancies to the five-member body, which has lacked a quorum to take official actions since January. Now the issue is the U.S. Senate taking timely action to confirm two nominees, Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson, who were approved by the Senate’s energy and natural resources committee last month. With the recent departure of Commissioner Colette Honorable, FERC currently has just one remaining member, Acting Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur.
The Senate needs to move swiftly – to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the U.S. infrastructure system, and to help advance broad economic benefits.
Posted October 27, 2015
Reports by Bloomberg and others say that White House and congressional budget negotiators would sell oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to partially pay for their new budget agreement. Sales would total 58 million barrels from 2018 to 2025, according to a draft House bill (see Section 403-a).
How much money would be raised from the sales would depend on prices at the time of the sales. But, if the goal is generating revenue for government to fund worthy projects, rather than a series of one-time sales, why not lift the ban on U.S. crude oil exports and create an annual revenue stream?
According to a study by ICF International (Page 86), ending the 1970s-era oil exports ban would lift the U.S. economy, create jobs – and generate significant additional revenue for government. A number of other studies mirror ICF’s findings on the economic benefits from lifting the export ban. We highlight ICF here because its estimate of additional oil production from lifting the ban (up 500,000 barrels per day) is almost identical to the output increase estimated by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (470,000 barrels per day). ICF:Federal, state, and local governments benefit from crude oil exports both in terms of the generation of GDP, which is then taxed at these levels, but also through royalties on federal lands where drilling takes place. Total government revenues, including U.S. federal, state, and local tax receipts attributable to GDP increases from expanding crude oil exports, could increase up to $13.5 billion in 2020.
Posted July 2, 2015
A few months ago API President and CEO Jack Gerard explained why America is experiencing an energy revolution:
“We got to this era of energy abundance and global energy leadership because of the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector, the hard work of the American worker and the unique system of private property and individual rights of the American marketplace.”
Posted May 5, 2015
During months of public discussion of improving the safety of transporting crude oil by rail, we’ve stressed the need to let science and fact-based analysis guide development of a holistic strategy that would have the best chance of producing tangible safety benefits.
Unfortunately, new rules published last week by the Transportation Department – featuring requirements for sturdier tank cars and electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes – are a mixed bag that will do little to prevent derailments in the first place.
Instead of working to ensure the integrity of the tracks and to eliminate human error as much as possible, both of which would help prevent accidents from occurring, it seems federal officials at times opted for the optics of appearing to make progress. In the case of the ECP brakes, it’s a technology that experts say doesn’t significantly improve safety – which is the goal. To add to the 99.99 percent safety record in the transport of hazardous materials by rail, a more comprehensive approach that focuses more attention on prevention is needed.
Posted April 20, 2015
A couple of important points on Arctic energy development from U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska at an event hosted recently by CSIS:
- The biggest obstacle to U.S. development of its Arctic energy reserves is the U.S.
- Development of Arctic energy resources will occur regardless of whether the United States engages in it.
- A discussion of Arctic energy must give weight to the needs and concerns of Alaskans, many of whom directly depend on energy development for the quality of their lives.
Posted April 7, 2015
BloombergView: It's a pernicious bit of American mythology that is used to justify the law against domestic oil producers selling their crude overseas: The U.S. needs "energy independence." Never mind that the law actually undermines this goal, or that the goal itself is practically impossible to achieve. It's the wrong goal. What the U.S. should be striving for is not independence, but energy security.
The story behind the myth goes something like this: If the U.S. doesn't hoard all its oil, then it can't hope to attain energy independence. And until it does that, it has to keep buying oil from politically unstable or unfriendly regimes. Therefore U.S. consumers must tolerate volatile prices for gasoline and heating oil.
The tale is false, but it brushes against one truth: When instability in other countries affects the price of oil, the U.S. economy can suffer. Just last month, the price jumped almost 5 percent when Saudi bombs began to fall on rebel targets in Yemen. Such unpredictable spikes make it difficult for many U.S. businesses to plan ahead, and this means less investment and less hiring.
Posted March 26, 2015
A welcome development in the larger effort to see the U.S. become a major player in the global energy marketplace: groundbreaking ceremonies this week at Maryland’s Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility.
Gov. Larry Hogan joined other golden shovel-wielding dignitaries at Cove Point, built as an LNG import terminal but which is undergoing a $3.8 billion expansion to allow LNG export capability.
Cove Point and other proposed LNG export terminals are the key needed infrastructure for the world’s leading producer of natural gas to get its LNG to market.
Posted March 20, 2015
The case for lifting the 1970s-era ban on U.S. crude oil exports, in a nutshell:
The ban is a relic of the past, of an era when the U.S. was producing less and less of its own oil and importing more and more of oil produced by others. Crude exports would add to global crude supplies, putting downward pressure on the cost of crude. A number of studies project that lifting the export ban would lower domestic gasoline prices. Exports would stimulate domestic production, protecting U.S. jobs and creating more in the future. Exports would strengthen U.S. economic power that underlies American global influence.
There are more reasons, more details to the affirmative export case, a number of which were aired at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing this week. In its totality, it’s a strong, strong case.