Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted January 15, 2016
Federal officials followed President Obama’s State of the Union pledge to change Washington’s management of fossil fuel resources by announcing the government will stop issuing new coal leases on federal lands. The president’s keep-it-in-the-ground energy strategy, first voiced when he rejected the Keystone XL pipeline last fall, continues unfolding.
Unfortunately, the president doesn’t seem aware that his administration could blow a generational opportunity for America, one that’s being provided by the ongoing revolution in domestic oil and natural gas production. That he doesn’t see it helps explain the disconnect in his connecting of these thoughts during the State of the Union:
“… we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly 60 percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth. Gas under two bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either. Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from old, dirtier energy sources.”
Respectfully, Mr. President, falling oil imports, reduced U.S. carbon emissions and $2 gasoline are reasons to sustain and grow America’s energy revolution – not reasons to kneecap it.
Posted January 14, 2016
If you believe America is best served by taking a true, all-of-the-above approach to energy – and we do – there’s not a lot of value in getting into a donnybrook over which energy sector employs the most people. America needs all of its energy sources and all of each energy sector’s jobs. That said, let’s set the record a little straighter in the wake of a recent report by the Solar Foundation.
The solar report trumpets 209,000 workers employed by the solar industry – including installation, manufacturing, sales & distribution, project development and “all others.” The report compares that figure with 187,000 people employed in just the oil and natural gas industry’s extraction segment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an apples-to-oranges comparison that could leave a wrong impression.
We looked at the comparison and figured something is missing.
Posted January 11, 2016
A couple of data points from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that help illustrate the impact of the natural gas portion of the American energy revolution.
First, EIA reports that wholesale electricity prices at major trading hubs, on a monthly average for on-peak hours, were down 27 percent to 37 percent across the U.S. in 2015 compared to 2014. The reason for the decrease, EIA says, is lower natural gas prices.
Now, let’s zero in on the increasing affordability of natural gas in electricity generation. Recently, EIA reported that 2015 natural gas spot prices at the national benchmark Henry Hub averaged $2.61 per million Btu (MMBtu), the lowest annual average since 1999. Interestingly, declining prices did not result in lower production, EIA says.
Posted January 7, 2016
At this year’s State of American Energy event, we highlighted the impact of energy policy on the lives and livelihoods of families and businesses in every state. The connection between policy and pocketbooks is evident after a year in which Americans saved an average $550 per driver on gasoline, due largely to strong U.S. oil and natural gas production. But to maintain the economic and security benefits of America’s 21st century energy renaissance, we’ll need to make smart policy choices that increase access to energy resources, encourage infrastructure development, rein in misguided ethanol policy and curb costly, duplicative regulations.
Posted January 5, 2016
There are many ways to gauge the current strength of American energy. The U.S. is producing nearly twice as much oil as it did less than a decade ago, which, combined with natural gas output, has made America the world’s leading producer.
Yet, the real-world impact of America’s energy revolution offers a more meaningful picture. New tensions are roiling the Middle East, yet global crude markets have remained relatively calm – unimaginable a few years ago. Meanwhile, a tanker carrying U.S. crude oil left port headed for Europe – the first since the lifting of America’s 40-year-old ban on domestic exports. There’s the reach of our energy revolution.
In his State of American Energy remarks, API President and CEO Jack Gerard focused on the growth of U.S. energy and its benefits – and also the opportunity to sustain them with sound energy policies based on facts and science.
Posted January 4, 2016
As we write, the United States is once again an exporter of crude oil. Sure, in the past the federal government has allowed limited crude exports. The oil tanker that left the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, late last week is the bearer of the first freely traded U.S. crude in about four decades – made possible by congressional legislation that President Obama signed to end a 1970s-era ban on exports. It’s a new day indeed.
But wait, there’s more. Cheniere Energy says it has begun liquefying natural gas at its new export terminal in Louisiana, setting the stage for its first LNG export cargo this month.
Both are big-time energy developments for the United States – opportunities created by a domestic energy revolution largely driven by safely harnessing vast shale reserves with advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
Posted December 29, 2015
2015 ends on a high note for U.S. energy policy as Congress voted to repeal the obsolete, ‘70s-era ban on crude exports. Dozens of studies agree that lifting the restrictions will put downward pressure on gas prices, reduce the trade deficit, and provide a boost to economic growth and U.S. energy production.
Throughout the year, our status as the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas continued to provide savings to American families and businesses while significantly enhancing our energy security. A review of the year’s energy developments shows how the American energy renaissance is paying off for consumers while also demonstrating that policymakers have some work to do in 2016.
Posted December 22, 2015
Lifting the ban is also a security win for the U.S. and our allies. With the administration’s push to allow Iran to export its oil to the global market, it’s time for U.S. producers to have the same opportunity. Our allies around the world are eager to reduce their reliance on energy from less friendly nations.
Posted December 15, 2015
That Congress soon may act to end the United States’ 40-year-old ban on domestic crude oil exports is signaled in the number of reports and posts on exports-related themes.
The Wall Street Journal has a report that talk of lifting the export ban is narrowing the difference between U.S. and global crude prices. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Michael Levi has this post discussing the impact of an exports deal on markets, the recent climate deal and geopolitics. National Journal reports on the legislative horse-trading some think could be part of lifting the exports ban. And there’s more.
Posted December 11, 2015
Then there’s this from Alaska: Falling oil revenues have the governor in that energy-rich state asking his legislature to plug a $3.5 billion hole in the state budget by imposing a small income tax (Alaska hasn’t had one for 35 years), other tax hikes, budget cuts and a reduction in the annual dividend Alaskans get from the state’s Permanent Fund.
Now, it might not bother you much that Alaskans soon could be paying higher taxes. But there’s another story playing out in Alaska and other places that should trouble all Americans: Access to U.S. energy is being restricted – by policy and regulation – in ways that could imperil America’s energy revolution and the generational opportunities that are being created by that revolution.