Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted July 28, 2017
The latest severance tax proposal in Pennsylvania, targeting natural gas production as well as consumer items and services, is a story of lawmakers risking harm to ongoing energy activity and economic growth – already providing significant benefits to people all across the commonwealth – instead of working to expand opportunity through pro-growth policies. Unfortunately, the tale being written by the state Senate could be about less natural gas production (and potentially less revenue to the commonwealth), less economic growth and fewer benefits to Pennsylvanians.
Posted April 20, 2017
Natural gas is a winner – for U.S. consumers, the economy and the environment. Quick, somebody tell officials in New York state – where they continue to ban hydraulic fracturing, the key to unlocking vast natural gas reserves located right under New Yorkers’ feet, to the benefit of New York consumers, New York job-seekers and New York’s environment.
Posted September 30, 2016
Posted September 19, 2016
Sitting atop the prolific Marcellus and Utica shale plays, Pennsylvania is a natural gas production powerhouse – thanks to modern hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that the two plays provided 85 percent of U.S. shale gas production growth since the start of 2012, reflecting the blossoming production from shale and other tight-rock formations through safe fracking.
Posted March 22, 2016
We’ve read the articles about how affordable natural gas – much of it from the Marcellus Shale in next-door Pennsylvania – has benefitted New York and specifically New York City. So it’s puzzling to hear about a recent effort in New York to block expansion of an Upstate natural gas storage plant in the name of a “climate emergency,” as one activist put it – puzzling because natural gas is doing more to reduce U.S. emissions than any other fuel. The New York Times reports:
“The irony is this,” said Phil West, a spokesman for Spectra Energy, whose pipeline projects, including those in New York State, have come under attack. “The shift to additional natural gas use is a key contributor to helping the U.S. reduce energy-related emissions and improve air quality.”
Unfortunately, this is an example of out-of-the-mainstream activism at work, threatening to roll back important American progress on emissions that has occurred during a period of economic growth and rising domestic energy output. We say this is out of the mainstream because we reckon the real alarm would sound among New Yorkers if access to affordable natural gas got harder for lack of infrastructure – pipelines, pumping stations, storage installations and the like.
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 October 15, 2014
Natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale continues to surge – and with it, industry spending on construction and maintenance, according to a new study.
The latest drilling productivity report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects Marcellus natural gas output will hit 15,828 million cubic feet per day (mcf/d) or about 37.1 percent of production from the major U.S. shale plays. EIA expects Marcellus output will top 16,000 mcf/d in November.
The production gains are reflected in industry spending on workers in construction and maintenance from 2008 to 2014 – the subject of the new study by the Oil and Natural Gas Industry Labor-Management Committee. The study showed spending grew more than 60 percent between 2012 and 2013, reaching $5 billion, resulting in a 40 percent increase in jobs in eight trades (union and non-union members included). Another $6.5 billion already is committed for 2014, the study reports.
Posted September 9, 2014
"The more the US exports crude oil, the greater decline in gasoline prices," the study from The Brookings Institution's Energy Security Initiative claimed. "As counterintuitive as it may seem, lifting the ban actually lowers gasoline prices by increasing the total amount of crude supply, albeit by only a modest amount."
Brookings' finding are nearly identical to those of a May study from energy consultancy IHS which concluded that free trade of crude would cause US gasoline prices to fall 8-12 cents/gal due to the close link between gasoline and world oil prices.
Like IHS, the Brookings study claimed the impact of crude exports on gasoline prices dulls over time, falling from a 9-12 cent/gal drop in 2015 to 0-10 cents/gal by 2025.
Posted August 8, 2014
Penn Live (Brian Hollister): I was retired at age 49. After service in the military and a career as an Electronic Quality Engineer, I was pleased to be working independently at what I enjoy most, small construction projects. I was living comfortably while doing work for friends and community members.
But then came the economic collapse of 2008, and like so many Americans, my fortune - quite literally - changed. Overnight I lost much of what I'd saved for my future and I needed to return to work. It's a familiar story. After time away, the job market I found was quite different from the one I'd left behind.
Posted August 1, 2014
Wall Street Journal (Merrill Matthews Opinion): The growing efforts by state and local governments to stop hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to extract natural gas could end up in the Supreme Court. These efforts may unconstitutionally limit property owners' ability to profit from their mineral rights.
More than 170 New York towns and cities have used zoning laws to restrict or prohibit fracking, and in June New York's Supreme Court turned back a challenge to this practice. Pennsylvania allows local municipalities to restrict fracking. Colorado and California are struggling with the issue.
Even in pro-energy Texas, the relatively small town of Denton, about 30 miles north of Dallas, has a fracking moratorium while the city considers whether to impose a permanent ban. At a recent contentious Denton city council meeting in which 500 people attended, the council moved to let voters decide in November.
Nevertheless, landowners and drillers are threatening to sue Denton if a ban is implemented. They may have a case.