Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted February 10, 2016
Yesterday, we took a look at the effects of the U.S. energy revolution on domestic oil production and the impact of that production on U.S. oil imports – and the resulting progress for America in terms of increased economic and consumer benefits and energy security. We argued that Obama administration policies risk retreating from progress that’s the result of the historic, game-changing shift in the U.S. energy outlook, thanks to America’s energy revolution.
Today, a look at natural gas, where the impacts of the energy revolution are no less significant.
Posted February 9, 2016
Progress on domestic oil production and oil imports is not something the United States should surrender – or worse, roll back. We should not pursue policies that take the United States back to the energy reality of a decade ago: the prospect of increasing dependency and less opportunity – for American workers, consumers, our economy and our strategic security.
Yet, that’s what the Obama administration is leading – a retreat from the progress that’s been made because of abundant shale energy reserves and the innovation and technology reflected in safe hydraulic fracturing and modern horizontal drilling.
Posted February 8, 2016
It has been clear for months that the Obama administration has lost interest in a true “all-of-the-above” approach to the nation’s energy – one that is being led by surging oil and natural gas production right here at home. Consider:Despite multiple State Department reviews filled with science showing that rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline would result in higher emissions, the president killed the project and the 42,000 jobs it would support during its construction phase. Despite the fact U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are near 20-year lows, the administration is pushing ahead with its Clean Power Plan that favors only certain kinds of renewable energy instead of letting states to freely choose lower-emissions sources while ensuring affordable and reliable energy for consumers. Although methane emissions from natural gas production are dropping, EPA and the Bureau of Land Management are moving forward with additional layers of regulation that could raise the cost of natural gas production and chill investments needed to bring cleaner-burning gas to market. Despite bipartisan agreement that the Renewable Fuel Standard is a failure – that mandates for increasing ethanol use actually increases greenhouse gas emissions – EPA continues to push for more ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.
The administration’s latest anti-energy revolution proposal is an ill-conceived plan to slap a $10-per-barrel fee or tax on crude oil that could increase the cost of a barrel of crude by 30 percent and add 25 cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline.
Posted January 22, 2016
Timing is everything. With much of the Middle Atlantic braced for “Snowzilla,” the Obama administration announced a new layer of federal regulation that likely will make it more difficult and costly for energy producers to deliver the affordable, reliable, clean-burning natural gas that so many U.S. consumers rely on for winter warmth.Imagine: Millions of Americans, covered in snow and ice, as the president and his team advance a regulatory blizzard with unnecessary Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rules on methane that ignore emissions reductions already being realized and that threaten to stifle future production – potentially at great cost to consumers, the economy, government revenue streams and U.S. security.
Posted January 21, 2016
“Gas under two bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either,” he continued.
The New York Times was quick with a rebuttal, writing: “Private oil and gas companies, however, were a driving force behind the most important changes in the United States’ energy landscape over the past seven years: lower fossil fuel emissions and a reduction in dependence on imported oil. … A glut of domestic oil has helped lower prices and imports. The new supply of domestic natural gas has helped lower greenhouse gas emissions. Electric utilities have traditionally relied on coal as the cheapest fuel source, but turned to natural gas as it became cheaper.”
Posted January 20, 2016
Last week we made the point that America’s ongoing energy revolution is the main reason the United States is the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas – a renaissance that is reducing oil imports and benefiting consumers in the form of lower prices at the pump. The same energy surge also is a leading reason the U.S. is leading the world inreducing carbon pollution.
These points argue for sustaining and growing domestic production – instead of trying to “transition away” from it, as the president said during last week’s State of the Union address. Turning our backs on vast public oil and gas resources – instead of safely developing them – would throw away a generational opportunity to strengthen America’s energy security, lift the economy, help U.S. consumers and aid friends overseas. It’s a shortsighted approach – especially when the U.S. model of increased domestic production, economic growth and emissions reduction is already working.
Safe, responsible hydraulic fracturing is the engine of America’s energy revolution.
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.