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Posted December 31, 2014
So long, 2014. From an energy standpoint, you’ll be missed. Let’s count the ways:
Surging domestic oil and natural gas production – largely thanks to safe hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – is driving an American energy revolution that’s creating jobs here at home and greater security for the United States in the world.
It’s a revolution with macro-economic and geopolitical impacts, for sure. But it’s also a revolution that’s benefit virtually every American.
Posted December 31, 2014
Business Day: For years, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pulled the strings set the price of oil and controlled the supply. After dictating the course of oil prices for more than 50 years, OPEC is finding its influence diminished.
Right now, OPEC represents about 40 percent of global daily production. The organization still has a say in what the energy market looks like. But for OPEC, oil can no longer be used as either a weapon or as a lever. There is simply too much production arising beyond the control of OPEC.
For 2015, US will emerge as dominant player. OPEC member countries are gradually losing the largest energy market in the world and the irony is that they will soon be competing for the markets that used to be theirs for the taking. Projections from recent happenings reveal that in 2015 the US will start dictating to the market. With the advent in 2015 of large US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the effect is even larger, and with it comes the hastening of OPEC’s decline.
Posted December 30, 2014
UPI: House Republicans will work to create the "architecture of abundance" needed to take advantage of North American energy leadership, a lawmaker said.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee published a 105-page strategy document meant to highlight the agenda of the incoming Republican-led Congress. It says federal policies are ill-suited to develop the infrastructure needed to take advantage of the oil and gas production boost in the United States.
"Creating this architecture of abundance is slowed at every step by archaic federal rules that can cause years of delays and even block some pipeline and power line projects outright," the paper reads.
Rep. Fred Upton, the committee's chairman, said the new Congress would work to advance its blueprint when it comes into power in January.
Posted December 29, 2014
The Week: One of the biggest stories of 2014 has been the astonishing drop in global oil prices. The price of the benchmark Brent crude went from over $100 per barrel at the beginning of the year to the $60 range as of this writing.
It's worth noting how massive and completely unexpected this price drop has been.
And it's worth noting how good it is for the U.S. economy. The price of oil is one of the biggest drags on consumer demand, the largest driver of the economy.
And to what do we owe this miraculous event?
In a word: fracking.
Posted December 24, 2014
The gift that is American energy is seen in some key numbers: domestic crude oil production reaching more than 9 million barrels per day last month, the highest level in more than two decades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA); total U.S. net imports of energy as a share of energy consumption falling to their lowest level in nearly 30 years during the first six months of this year; gasoline prices dropping to an average of $2.47 per gallon last week, their lowest point since May 2009, according to the Lundberg Survey Inc.
The first two numbers might not fully register with a lot of Americans. We’ll come back to them. The last one, gasoline prices, does so loudly.
Retail gasoline prices fell after crude oil prices dropped for the fourth straight week – a product of weaker-than-expected global demand and increasing production, which EIA says will save American households $550 next year, Bloomberg News reports. Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey to Bloomberg:
“It is a dramatic boon to fuel consumers. (Gasoline) is a modest portion of our giant gross domestic product and yet it does have a pervasive and festive benefit to motorists.”
During this season of gift-giving and receiving, Americans should give thanks for the gifts of plentiful domestic oil and natural gas, modern technologies to harness them and an industry robust and innovative enough to bring the two together, resulting in surging, home-grown production. Indeed, the dramatic increase in U.S. oil production is the key addition to global supply that’s putting downward pressure on the cost of crude, the No. 1 factor in pump prices.
Posted December 19, 2014
Posted December 18, 2014
Some interesting perspective on New York’s decision to ban hydraulic fracturing – from neighboring Pennsylvania, where safe fracking has lifted the state economy while directly benefiting cities and towns all across the commonwealth.
Jeffrey Sheridan, press secretary for Governor-elect Tom Wolf’s transition team (to the Philadelphia Business Journal):
“Governor-elect Wolf opposes a ban, and he will work hard to make sure the process is safe. … Pennsylvania's natural resources should help the commonwealth become an energy leader, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as a magnet for investment and job creation. Governor-elect Wolf's priority is to ensure that Pennsylvania is an energy leader with all Pennsylvanians sharing in the prosperity.”
Pennsylvanians are indeed sharing in prosperity that’s being generated by shale energy development, via responsible hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling: More than $2.1 billion in state and local taxes paid by industry, more than $630 million distributed to communities since 2012 – including more than $224 million in 2014. Plus billions in royalties paid by operators to private landowners.
Posted December 17, 2014
Posted December 9, 2014
New research by the University of Texas shows what other studies have shown: methane emissions from natural gas production are lower than previously estimated. The UT study found that emissions represent just 0.38 percent of production – about 10 percent lower than a 2013 study by the same research team.
The UT study checked two sources of methane emissions in natural gas production: processes to clear wells of accumulated liquids to increase production, called liquid unloadings; and pneumatic controller devices that open and close valves.
The study found that just 19 percent of pneumatic devices accounted for 95 percent of emissions from that equipment, and that just 20 percent of wells with unloading emissions that vent to the atmosphere accounted for 65 percent to 85 percent of those emissions. David Allen, the study’s principal investigator:
“To put this in perspective, over the past several decades, 10 percent of the cars on the road have been responsible for the majority of automotive exhaust pollution. Similarly, a small group of sources within these two categories are responsible for the vast majority of pneumatic and unloading emissions at natural gas production sites.”
The results suggest that technologies and practices already in use by industry – voluntary efforts and those to comply with federal green completions rules that become standard in January – are working to reduce methane leaks.
Posted December 4, 2014
National Journal: World oil producers have put oil prices into a free fall, refusing to pare back global supplies in the hopes that low prices will derail the fracking-backed production boom in the U.S. and preserve OPEC's power over world energy markets.
But global analysts are skeptical that the move will work.
The basic reason: Prices remain high enough to keep pumping. "Looking out there, it seems like there's a huge amount of oil that can be produced at $60, $70 per barrel," said Michael Lynch, president of consulting firm Strategic Energy and Economic Research, referring to the prices for Brent crude oil, a global reference point.