Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted May 5, 2020
News reports of a “flotilla” of oil tankers from Saudi Arabia, sailing to the U.S. with more than 40 million barrels of crude oil in their holds for delivery this month, has many Americans questioning why the U.S. – the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer – imports any oil when oversupply associated with the government response to COVID-19 has a number of U.S. operators hurting financially.
Some think President Trump should send the oil fleet home or impose import tariffs. It’s a new chapter in an old debate over why the U.S. imports oil when our domestic production is among the globe’s leaders. In the case of this imported Saudi oil, the answer has much to do with the supply needs of the U.S. refining system.
Posted February 19, 2019
A profound shift has taken place in North American oil markets over the past few months that’s now affecting trade between the United States and its biggest crude oil supplier, Canada.
It involves supplies of heavier crude oil – important for the manufacture of a multitude of everyday products consumers use, from local road surfaces to the roofing for their houses. While the U.S. is producing domestic crude at record levels, there’s still a need for heavier crudes.
With heavy oil from Venezuela declining for years, the importance of close ties with Canada and especially the oil-producing province Alberta has increased. Unfortunately, Alberta’s decision to limit oil production appears to be advancing uneconomic outcomes, where some U.S. refiners signaled they’ll shift away from Canadian heavy crude oil and seek supply elsewhere.
Posted September 28, 2018
As President Trump has weighed the broken Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its mandates for ever-increasing ethanol use, he asked EPA for a deal that works for all stakeholders and protects consumers.
Unfortunately, he didn’t get one.
In the current push to facilitate year-round sales of E15 gasoline, which contains 50 percent more ethanol than the E10 fuel that’s standard nationally, EPA is serving up a deal that’s lopsidedly unfavorable to the nation’s refiners and does nothing to protect consumers.
Posted September 7, 2018
With the Trump administration considering a move that would push more E15 fuel into the nation's gasoline supply, API has a new ad warning that consumers could bear the risks of additional volumes of the higher-ethanol blend.
The ad touches on points we’ve made for years about the infusion of E15 (see here, here and here), spurred by the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The administration is thinking about facilitating the sale of E15 year-round. Currently, the Clean Air Act requires that E15 meet gasoline volatility requirements in the summertime. Key points in the ad: E15 can damage the engines and fuel systems of vehicles that weren’t designed to use it; nearly three out of four vehicles on the road today weren’t made to use E15; and automobile manufacturers have said using E15 could void car warranties.
Posted April 2, 2015
Posted November 18, 2013
More on EPA’s proposed levels for 2014 ethanol usage that were unveiled last week. While the agency rightly acknowledged the existence of the refining “blend wall” by proposing a lowering of how much ethanol must be blended into the U.S. fuel supply under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), it doesn’t go far enough. The blend wall still looms, and so does EPA’s insistence on requiring millions of gallons of phantom cellulosic biofuels.
We covered the blend wall issue when EPA released its proposal last week. Breaking through the blend wall, requiring refiners to put more ethanol into the fuel supply than is safe for millions of vehicles on the road today, could leave consumers stuck with repair bills and could harm the broader economy, according to a study by NERA Economic Consulting.
Let’s look at cellulosic. We refer to it as the “phantom fuel” because over the past few years EPA has required refiners to blend millions of gallons of it into the fuel supply when none was commercially available (2010 and 2011), or when very little was available (2012) – and then forced refiners to purchase credits from the government because they didn't use a non-existent fuel. This year looks to be similar. EPA’s 2013 mandate requires 6 million “ethanol equivalent” gallons, but to date only about 359,000 gallons have been produced.
Posted May 14, 2013
Energy Biz – Shale Gas Shifting Global Energy Map
The global development of shale gas has the potential to boost worldwide natural gas supplies and help reduce market costs, writes Siemens Financial Services President Kirk Edelman. “For the U.S., the shale gas boom is still perhaps only a potential game changer, however, if realized, the economic benefits will be significant.”
Breaking Energy – The Science Behind the Keystone XL Pipeline Decision
Breaking Energy recaps the congressional Energy and Environmental Subcommittees’ joint hearing on the Keystone XL pipeline last week. Rep. Chris Stewart noted that Keystone XL has been under review for more than four years, which is how long it took to fight World War II, build most of the transcontinental railroad and the typical length of a college education.
Posted March 18, 2013
This is in many ways progress in that it is a de facto admissionthat RIN prices are rising because we are hitting the “blend wall” on ethanol, and that a solution is needed. Unfortunately the solution in this case is crazy.
Posted June 10, 2011
Posted January 10, 2011