Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted September 23, 2014
New analysis from Columbia University says exporting U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) will increase global supply and ultimately help counter Russia’s attempts to leverage its natural gas customers in Europe and elsewhere.
Co-authors Jason Bordoff and Trevor Houser write that even before America starts exporting significant volumes of LNG, our domestic shale energy surge is having an effect abroad.
Posted September 11, 2014
Oil & Gas Journal: The US Department of Energy approved Cameron Energy LLC and Carib Energy LLC’s requests for authorization to export LNG to countries that do not have a free-trade agreement with the US. Both applicants had completed reviews required under the National Environmental Policy Act, DOE said.
It gave the Cameron facility in Cameron Parish, La., permission to export LNG up to an equivalent of 1.7 bcfd of gas for 20 years. Carib Energy, a Crowley Maritime Corp. subsidiary, received approval to export up to an equivalent 0.04 bcfd for 20 years from its proposed Martin County, Fla., facility in International Standardization Organization approved containers, DOE said on Sept. 10.
The decision marked the last regulatory hurdle for the Cameron LNG facility and cleared the way for execution of the largest capital project in the history of its sponsor, San Diego-based Sempra Energy, Sempra Chair Debra L. Reed said.
“This landmark project will create thousands of jobs and economic benefits for Louisiana and the US for decades to come, while delivering natural gas to America's trading partners in Europe and Asia,” she said.
Posted September 2, 2014
Reuters reports that Washington is hearing from more allies who want the U.S. to lift its ban on crude oil exports, with South Korea and Mexico joining the European Union in pressing the case for U.S. oil. Reuters:
South Korean President Park Geun-hye told a visiting U.S. delegation of lawmakers on the House of Representatives energy committee on Aug. 11 that tapping into the gusher of ultra-light, sweet crude emerging from places like Texas and North Dakota was a priority, the lawmakers said. One of South Korea's leading refiners has opened discussions with the government in Seoul over how to encourage Washington to open the taps, three sources in South Korea with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Mexico is also eagerly awaiting word from the U.S. Department of Commerce on possible shipments and the EU wants U.S. oil and natural gas exports covered by a proposed trade agreement with Washington, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
Posted August 20, 2014
Offshore producers say safety precautions have improved dramatically since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and argue no areas should be ruled out as the Interior Department considers offshore drilling sites through 2022.
“Decisions on areas to include in the 2017-2022 [outer continental shelf] leasing program will have impacts well into the future,” a coalition of 11 industry groups wrote in comments filed to Interior. “Therefore, we believe that BOEM should fully consider all areas for inclusion in the program and keep as many areas as feasible in the draft proposed program.”
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 6, 2014
Applications to export as much as 25 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) equivalent of natural gas are stuck in the Department of Energy's limbo of lengthy review processes. Recently released studies and analysis indicate that each additional 10 bcf/d of natural gas produced to meet export demand would create 110,000 new jobs and $20 billion annually of new business for the energy supply chain - construction contractors, equipment companies, materials suppliers and production service providers. And with other nations rushing to fill the void left by the absence of U.S. exports, this window of opportunity will close and the business lost if we don't accelerate processing of these applications.
On the crude oil front, research firm IHS Energy conservatively projects that enabling exports would cause U.S. production to increase by an average of 1.2 million barrels per day by 2016, which would result in an additional $86 billion of GDP per year. With models showing about half of production-related output being created by the energy supply chain, this yields approximately $40 billion more per year in potential business for supply chain companies, with about another 200,000 new jobs.
Posted August 5, 2014
Wall Street Journal (Thomas Tunstall): The unexpected increase in the production of shale oil, a light oil called condensate and natural gas in the U.S. has upended many assumptions about the U.S. energy market. As the oil and gas bonanza continues, the U.S. ban on crude-oil exports looks increasingly outdated, arbitrary and economically damaging. With Europe poised to endanger its gas supply by imposing more sanctions on its major supplier Russia, the possibility of energy exports from America takes on an important security dimension too.
Thanks to fracking and other unconventional shale-extraction technology, natural gas is the biggest energy story in the U.S. now. In the early 2000s, natural-gas pipeline companies—such as Cheniere and Freeport LNG—spent billions on import facilities as U.S. production decreased, to less than 19 trillion cubic feet in 2005 from roughly 22 trillion cubic feet in 1970.
Since 2006, however, natural-gas production in the U.S. has soared. The U.S. now produces more than 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas a year, the most in the country's more than 100-year history of gas exploration and production. As a result, billions of dollars are now being invested to convert many of the facilities designed to receive imported gas into export facilities.
Posted August 4, 2014
USA Today: The U.S. energy industry is booming. As new technologies make oil easier and more affordable to extract, the United States is poised to become the world's leading oil producer as soon as 2015, according to a 2013 study by the International Energy Agency. At the same time, proven oil reserves — the estimated quantities of oil that can be extracted under existing conditions — have also risen. In 2012, the U.S. had more than 30.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, up 15% from the year before.
Ten states accounted for nearly 80% of the U.S. proven oil reserves as of the end of 2012. Texas was the state with the most proven reserves, totaling more than 9.6 billion barrels of oil, or close to a third of all U.S. reserves. Based on the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) data on proved oil reserves, these are the most oil-rich states in the country.
Unsurprisingly, the states with the highest totals of proven reserves are also among the states producing most oil. Of the 10 most oil-rich states, all but one were also among the states with the most production activity as of 2013. Together, these 10 states accounted for more than 2 billion of the 2.7 billion barrels of oil produced last year. Offshore drilling, not attributable to any state, accounted for much of the production not coming from these states.
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.
Posted July 31, 2014
Houston Chronicle (Editorial): Fracking is more effective than bullets when it comes to containing Russian President Vladimir Putin's Soviet-era ambitions.
Empowered by oil funds and a gas pipeline yoke on Europe, Putin has resuscitated a Cold War ethos of nationalism and expansionism. Yet after the invasion of Crimea and Russian militias seizing sections of eastern Ukraine, it seemed as if Europe's red line was located somewhere a few miles east of the Brandenburg Gate. It took the attack on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to finally shock Europe back to reality, where Russia stands as a legitimate threat to a peaceful continent.
These aggressive moves have gained Russia few friends, but as Tsar Alexander III once said, Russia's only allies are its army and its navy. For the 21st century, pipelines should be added to that list. And that is where the United States must focus containment efforts.
Our allies are far too reliant on Russian pipelines to truly oppose Putin's aggression - there's a reason why the new technology sanctions against Russia don't apply to natural gas.