Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted January 31, 2014
We’ve written quite a bit about bad things that could occur because of the Renewable Fuel Standard’s (RFS) mandates for ever-increasing ethanol use in the fuel supply – from potential damage to vehicle engines and small power equipment engines tobroader impacts in the economy. A study by NERA Economic Consulting warned that RFS mandates could lead to fuel rationing and supply shortages that by 2015 could drive up gasoline costs 30 percent and the cost of diesel by 300 percent.
Now EPA is in the last lap in the process to set ethanol use levels for 2014. The agency’s proposal is reduced from where it was in 2013. EPA even acknowledged the ethanol “blend wall” – the point where, to satisfy the RFS, refiners have to blend fuel with higher ethanol content than millions of vehicles are designed to use.
EPA should follow through and set this year’s mandate so we avoid the blend wall and its onerous impacts this year. For a permanent solution, Congress should repeal the RFS.
Posted January 27, 2014
Indications are that President Obama’s State of the Union message tomorrow night will key in on making 2014 a “year of action” to create jobs and grow the economy, which he addressed earlier this month in one of his weekly radio addresses:
“… we’ve got to keep our economy growing, and make sure more Americans have the opportunity to share in that growth. We’ve got to keep creating jobs that offer new opportunity, and make sure those jobs offer the wages and benefits that let you rebuild some security. … This will be a year of action. I’ll keep doing everything I can to create new jobs and new opportunities for American families – with Congress, on my own, and with everyone willing to play their part.”
America’s oil and natural industry is ready to play a part in an action agenda that helps advance a number of the president’s goals, including job creation, economic growth, income inequality, environmental protection and energy security.
Posted January 8, 2014
During Tuesday’s State of American Energy address, API President and CEO Jack Gerard sketched out a more secure energy future for the United States – based on increased access to domestic oil and natural gas reserves, industry technology and ingenuity and a business/investment climate that allows development to go forward.
Let’s focus on that last part, which is less a request for government to do something than simply asking it to avoid hindering safe and responsible energy development through misguided policies and overreaching regulation.
Posted January 6, 2014
Fracking 101: Breaking Down the most Important Part of Today’s Oil, Gas Drilling
Greeley Tribune: Fracking, the two- to three-day process of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas, is perhaps one of the most misunderstood drilling practices, becoming as bad of a word in some circles as a racial slur.
Entire countries have banned the process. Some Colorado towns have placed moratoriums to study it further.
Environmentalists storm capitals over it, demanding increased regulations, and oil and gas company employees and officials scratch their heads — they’ve been using the same process in oil and gas drilling for 60 years without widespread incidents.
“It’s a perplexing issue,” said Collin Richardson, vice president of operations for Mineral Resources Inc., who opened up a company fracking job last fall to a student tour from the University of Northern Colorado. “People go to a light switch and expect energy to be there, but they don’t think about where it comes from. I don’t think most people understand that without hydraulic fracturing, we wouldn’t have natural gas to provide electricity to our homes or gas in our cars.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1gc41Z7
Posted January 6, 2014
API hosts its annual State of American Energy event on Tuesday at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and the discussion will focus on choices our country can make to increase energy development, grow jobs and the economy and make us more secure in the world. The event will be streamed live beginning at noon. Join in the conversation on Twitter by using the #SOAE14 hashtag.
The event comes at a time when policymakers are considering important energy issues, some of them framed in recent posts by the National Journal and Politico. At the top of our list of key energy issues:
Keystone XL pipeline
Federal consideration of TransCanada’s application for a cross-border permit passed the five-year mark last fall – which means the Keystone XL could have been built twice in the time the pipeline has been held up by Washington.
Posted December 30, 2013
As 2013 nears its end, noting some of the year's most popular Energy Tomorrow Blog posts:
Jobs = Job 1
PwC’s latest detailing of the economic impacts of oil and natural gas activity ranked the highest in readership. And why not: It’s a great story. PwC found that in 2011, the last year for which complete data is available, the industry recorded these key numbers:
- 9.8 million full- and part-time jobs supported, directly and indirectly.
- $1.2 trillion added to the economy, accounting for 8 percent of the national total.
- Nearly $600 billion contributed in associated labor income – including wages, salaries, benefits and proprietors’ income.
Posted December 26, 2013
U.S. crude oil production on track to surpass imports for first time since 1995
EIA Today in Energy: Monthly crude oil production in the United States is expected to exceed the amount of U.S. crude oil imports later this year for the first time since February 1995. The gap between monthly U.S. crude oil production and imports is projected to be almost 2 million barrels per day (bbl/d) by the end of next year—according to EIA's March 2013 Short-Term Energy Outlook.
According to EIA's projections:
- Monthly crude oil production could surpass net crude oil imports later this year.
- Monthly crude oil production is forecast to top 8 million bbl/d in the fourth quarter of 2014, which would be the highest level since 1988.
- Net crude oil imports are expected to fall below 7 million bbl/d in the fourth quarter of 2014 for the first time since 1995.
Posted December 20, 2013
In a recent letter to the Obama administration, some members of Congress pushed officials to increase EPA’s proposed 2014 mandate for biodiesel, arguing that EPA’s plan to keep the mandate at its 2013 level could reduce production by approximately 25 percent. With all due respect, the mandate exists as a floor, not as a ceiling, and the biodiesel industry is welcome to exceed it.
And guess what: The biodiesel industry has been doing just that for the past three years – as the lawmakers’ letter points out. According to EPA, since 2011 the volumes of biomass-based diesel fuels produced have been well above EPA’s mandated requirements.
Posted December 10, 2013
EPA held the first of a series of public hearings last week on its 2014 ethanol use proposals under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), during which the National Chicken Council’s Mike Brown observed that the Washington, D.C., hearing basically attracted three groups of people: ethanol producers, corn producers and “the rest of us.”
Quite a bit of truth there. The debate over the RFS finds ethanol backers fairly isolated in arguing that the RFS is fine the way it is and that higher-ethanol blend fuels – like E15 and E85 – should be pushed more aggressively into the marketplace to satisfy the program’s mandates.
The stance has them at odds a number of interests, including consumer and food groups, auto manufacturers, the makers of small-engine vehicles and equipment, turkey and chicken producers, restaurant owners and more. Strikingly, AAA, the venerable travel/motoring organization, has been criticized by Big Ethanol for opposing wider use of E15, which studies have shown could damage engines in vehicles not designed to use it.
Posted December 4, 2013
With the first public hearing on EPA proposals for 2014 ethanol use scheduled Thursday, policymakers should pay attention to how ethanol mandates under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are affecting regular Americans.
This theme was recurrent during a gathering of diverse, consumer-oriented groups on the eve of EPA’s hearing: RFS mandates are negatively impacting everyday American life, from the fuels we use to the costs of what we eat, and could do additional harm unless Congress takes major action.