Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted June 22, 2018
Pipelines play a vital role in delivering the energy American families and businesses need every day. The nation's more than 212,000 miles of liquid pipelines and over 300,000 miles of natural gas pipelines are among the safest and most efficient means of moving petroleum products to consumers. And, because most are buried, they are largely unseen.
The natural gas and oil industry recognizes the integral nature of pipeline infrastructure and is committed to advancing pipeline safety to protect communities and the environment.
Posted August 25, 2016
Posted April 19, 2016
The United States has about 25,000 miles of navigable waterways and channels – vital transportation infrastructure for the delivery of raw materials and products that American consumers count on every day. Yet, as vital as these waterways are, they don’t always get as much attention as highways, roads and railroads.
With Congress likely to take up legislation that will include funding for waterways in the next month or so, it’s a good time to link that debate with the critical role water-borne commerce plays.
Posted July 22, 2015
An informative event this week hosted by the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, highlighting some potential real-world impacts of EPA’s proposal to tighten national ozone standards. Underscore “real-world impacts,” because the discussion centered on the potential havoc EPA’s proposal could unleash on transportation projects all over the country. “There’s going to be real people who’re going to be really upset,” said Karen A. Harbert, Institute president and CEO.
It’s important to see EPA’s ozone proposal in that light. The possible macro-economic harm that stricter ozone standards could bring – GDP reduction of $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040, according to one study – have been discussed here and elsewhere. But individual Americans may or may not relate to them, they’re so large.
The institute discussion and its new report, “Grinding To a Halt – Examining the Impacts of New Ozone Regulations on Key Transportation Projects” – help bring potential problems with stricter ozone standards to Americans’ doorsteps. Or, more specifically, to their daily commutes – which could get tougher if all kinds of transportation projects are terminated or delayed because they’re proposed in areas that would be in nonattainment with the new ozone standards.
Posted May 26, 2015
Thinking about American energy, one underappreciated component is our national maritime system – connecting sources of oil with U.S. destinations and also exported domestic resources that help make the U.S. an energy superpower. National Maritime Day last week reminds us of the vital link this system provides in the energy supply chain.
Noteable: America’s marine highway system consists of more than 29,000 nautical miles of navigable waterways – the most extensive system in the world – infrastructure that’s vital to our economy, about 42 percent of all waterborne trade in the U.S. in 2012 was comprised of crude or petroleum products, reflecting the fact the U.S. imports about 10 million barrels of oil per day and more.
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 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 6, 2014
The major themes of the 2014 International Oil Spill Conference – prevent, prepare, respond, restore – reflect the priority industry places on safety in transporting oil and petroleum-based products.
Posted February 27, 2014
Editor’s note: API President and CEO Jack Gerard testified this week at a rail safety hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials.
The revolution in North American energy development has been made possible by technological breakthroughs in decades-old methods of energy development, which has set this nation on the path to energy security, a concept unthinkable just a few years ago.
The energy policies we choose today will determine if our nation will continue its march toward global energy leadership – a unique and once-in-a-generation opportunity. America’s dramatic increase in domestic energy production has fundamentally altered the global energy markets and more broadly the geopolitical landscape for decades to come – all while providing a much needed boost to our economy.
In order to achieve our nation’s full potential as a global energy leader all of us have to work together to ensure that our energy infrastructure is capable of safely, reliably and efficiently transporting ever-increasing amounts of domestically produced energy, whether by truck, barge, pipeline, or the focus of today’s hearing, rail.
Posted August 29, 2012