Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted January 7, 2015
Posted December 11, 2014
Near the end of his appearance on the “Colbert Report” earlier this week, President Obama tells host Stephen Colbert that getting things done is the real satisfaction he takes from his job:
“I love the job, and it’s an incredible privilege. But when you’re in it you’re not thinking about it in terms of titles. You’re thinking about how do you deliver for the American people?”
Ironically, the remark about delivering for the American people comes just a few minutes after the president offers up familiar excuses for failing to deliver for the American people on the Keystone XL pipeline. With Americans backing the pipeline by more than 3 to 1, it looks like President Obama isn’t listening to the people he’s supposed to serve – or is simply ignoring them.
The president’s Keystone XL rhetoric remains starkly at odds with the facts – including those proffered by his own State Department. State has completed five separate environmental reviews on Keystone XL over more than six years, all of which cleared by the pipeline. Whether President Obama is talking to business executives or cutting up with Colbert, he’s startlingly disconnected with fact on Keystone XL.
Posted November 13, 2014
A good deal of the buzz generated by America’s ongoing energy revolution has centered on the way surging domestic production is changing the crude oil imports picture. No question, it’s a pretty one, with net imports as a share of consumption falling to levels not seen in nearly three decades. That’s great news for job creation, the economy, our balance of trade and America’s energy security.
But here’s another pretty picture: declining imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Actually, “declining” is too mild a term for what we’re seeing. Thanks to energy developed from shale using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the U.S. has become the world’s No. 1 natural gas producer – which has dramatically cut the need to shop the world market for supplies of natural gas, illustrated in plummeting LNG imports.
Posted October 31, 2014
Here’s what we know about U.S. energy security, with much credit due to our partnership with Canada, America’s No. 1 source of imported oil:
In 2013, U.S. crude oil imports were 541 million barrels lower than in 2010, a 16 percent decrease, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).Also in 2013, U.S. imports of crude oil from Canada were 222 million barrels higher than in 2010, an increase of nearly 31 percent.
Put the two together and what you see is a more energy-secure America: increased domestic energy – largely from shale development – more oil from our neighbor and ally and reduced imports overall.
Posted October 3, 2014
The Hill Congress Blog (Dan Eberhart): America’s boom in shale oil and gas has given us a new tool to counter aggressive nations without firing a shot. That tool is energy abundance. With increased production and new techniques of extracting energy from shale, it’s time to break free from outdated shackles on U.S. crude oil exports.
In the 1970s, we were hogtied by energy scarcity. The U.S. suffered a devastating oil embargo during the mid-1970s courtesy of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), and at the end of the six-month embargo, oil prices had quadrupled from $3 a barrel to nearly $12. Our country’s economy was crippled, and we faced the prospect of “stagflation” and wage and price controls.
By December 1975, President Gerald Ford signed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), a ban on most U.S. energy exports that remains in place today. At the time, export bans made sense; they preserved the resources we did have.
That was then, this is now.
Today, the ban is hurting our economy and global competitiveness. Lifting the crude export ban would tilt global markets, benefit the American consumer and bolster the US economy, restoring the US to the status of energy superpower.
Posted September 10, 2014
A new report from Brookings’ Energy Security Initiative adds more scholarly weight to the analytical case for lifting America’s decades-old ban on crude oil exports. Echoing earlier studies by IHS and ICF International, the Brookings research finds that allowing the export of domestic crude would stimulate more oil production here at home, provide broad economic benefits and strengthen U.S. energy security. Brookings:
… we believe that the U.S. should allow the market to determine where crude oil will go and move immediately to lift the ban on all crude oil exports. … After 40 years of perceived oil scarcity, the United States is in a position to help maximize its own energy and economic security by applying the same principles to free trade in energy that it applies to other goods. By lifting the ban on crude oil exports, the United States also will help mitigate oil price volatility while alleviating the negative impacts of future global oil supply disruptions.
Posted August 8, 2014
The U.S. Commerce Department’s newest trade report released this week shows increased exports of crude oil and petroleum products were a major factor in shrinking the trade deficit in June to $41.5 billion, down from $44.7 billion in May.
That’s great news. Energy exports are helping build America’s economic strength globally while creating jobs and opportunity here at home. America is more secure as a result of our energy revolution that is bringing opportunities to engage world energy markets and harness U.S. energy for good. Allowing more U.S. oil and natural gas exports is the logical course to support and expand America’s global presence.
Posted August 7, 2014
Increased domestic energy production means Americans are buying less foreign oil and gas, and selling more of it overseas. That has tamped down the trade deficit in recent years, helping along an economy that continues to recover from the Great Recession.
Some say the deficit could be slashed further if the US were to ease energy export restrictions put in place to protect US consumers from global energy shocks. But such a move would have impacts that go beyond the country’s balance of trade. Critics of oil and gas exports say they will raise energy prices at home, and increase the environmental impacts of extracting and burning fossil fuels.
Either way, a renaissance in oil and gas production is already changing the way officials, analysts, and economists look at the future of the US economy.
Posted July 21, 2014
Recent Improvements in Petroleum Trade Balance Mitigate U.S. Trade Deficit
EIA Today in Energy: Since the mid-1970s, the United States has run a deficit in merchandise trade, meaning that payments for imports exceeded receipts for exports. This large and growing deficit on the merchandise trade balance reached a maximum of $883 billion in the second quarter of 2008.
As a result of the recession, dramatic declines of imports in excess of exports during the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 reduced the merchandise trade deficit by 49%, to $449 billion in the second quarter of 2009. This trend of declining imports resulted in the lowest quarterly deficit level since early 2002. The merchandise trade deficit then increased to $686 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, with much of the difference from the 2008 level ($131 billion) attributable to a $158 billion increase in net exports of crude oil and petroleum products.
Posted June 30, 2014
Washington Post Editorial: Quietly but wisely, the Commerce Department has decided to allow the first exports of U.S. crude oil since Congress imposed a ban on such sales (except to Canada) in the 1970s. To be sure, the agency’s ruling amounts to redefining crude in a way that applies only to a form of ultralight oil that U.S. refineries are ill-equipped to process. The executive branch couldn’t do much more than that to expand crude exports without congressional permission. Still, Commerce’s move is a step in the right direction because resuming oil sales abroad could help the U.S. economy reap the full fruits of the shale revolution that has propelled this country back into the top ranks of global oil and gas production.
The origins of the ban lie in the long-gone political and economic issues of the Nixon era. Specifically, the United States banned oil exports in response to the declining domestic production and Middle East supply shocks of that time, which, together with the then-existing system of U.S. price controls, made it seem rational to keep U.S.-produced oil at home rather than let it flow to the highest bidder on the world market. The world has changed dramatically since then; with U.S. production booming, this country is in a position to move the world market. Yet some still defend the export ban on the grounds that it holds down the price of crude to U.S. refineries and, by extension, the price of gasoline at U.S. pumps.
A new report by IHS Global explains why that thinking is outmoded.