Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted June 23, 2015
We spend a good deal of time trying to highlight the enormous potential of American energy – in terms of jobs, growth to our economy, greater energy security and more. It’s a big deal. The ongoing U.S. energy revolution is a game-changer – built on safe, responsible domestic oil and natural gas development.
Yet, there’s a caveat: Energy development hinges on energy policy. And as the 2016 election cycle nears, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of choosing policymakers who: (a) recognize the generational opportunities being afforded by American energy, and (b) understand the need for policy paths and regulatory approaches that will sustain and grow our country’s energy renaissance.
The major findings in a new Wood Mackenzie study show in clear terms the stakes for all Americans in choosing the right leadership for the country’s energy future. Wood Mackenzie analyzed and compared the impacts in seven major areas of a future characterized by pro-development policies and also one characterized by regulatory constraints.
Posted June 19, 2015
The issue was energy infrastructure – where the United States is and where things are headed. At the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) annual conference this week, one discussion honed in on the challenges to infrastructure approval and construction – as well as government’s best role in developing projects that are key to U.S. energy transport and overall energy security. The latter produced some friction between speakers not often seen at conferences like EIA’s. More below.
The U.S. Energy Department’s Melanie Kenderdine talked about some of the details in the department’s recently issued Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which focused on ways to modernize the nation’s infrastructure.
Posted June 18, 2015
Here’s the first of a series of posts sparked by speeches and presentations at this week’s U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) energy conference. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz set the tone for EIA’s event, noting that the U.S. faces a set of energy challenges, vulnerabilities and opportunities. At the heart of the discussion: America’s energy resurgence. Moniz:
“By almost any simple measure for sure, our energy security position has been enhanced a great deal over the last several years: No. 1 producer of oil and gas, oil imports in terms of a fraction of crude plus products back at 1952 levels. In fact, our production increasing so substantially in the last five years that it has become a critical factor in global pricing dynamics, challenging decades-old assumptions by OPEC, for example. We have mothballed LNG import facilities are being repurposed for exports, likely to begin next year, and, frankly, likely to see us in several years at least become one of the major LNG players on the global scene.”
Moniz credited the energy revolution for rejuvenating U.S. manufacturing, particularly among energy-intensive industries that are capitalizing on affordable natural gas for power and/or as a feedstock for a variety of products. America’s increased use of natural gas also has helped lead U.S. efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, he said.
In all of the above, the secretary certainly makes good point. Thanks to innovative, advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the U.S. is the world’s energy-producing leader. America is stronger and its citizens are more prosperous because we’re producing more of the energy we use right here at home.
Posted June 17, 2015
Quick rewind to 2007, when Congress enacted the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): The U.S. faced energy challenges – declining domestic production leading to greater dependence on imports and ever-increasing consumer costs. The RFS was conceived as a way to spur production of advanced biofuels that would help on imports and costs.
Today the energy landscape has completely changed. Thanks to surging domestic production from shale and other tight-rock formations with advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the United States is No. 1 in the world in the production of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons. Our imports are falling, and consumers have enjoyed lower prices at the pump.
Yet, the RFS remains – with its mandates for increasing use of ethanol in the fuel supply, seemingly impervious to the changed energy landscape, even as increased domestic oil production has checked off RFS objectives one by one. Even EPA’s latest proposal for ethanol use, while acknowledging that the RFS has serious flaws, continues to try to manage the behavior of markets and consumers, ironically leaving both on the sidelines.
That was the message in a telephone briefing with reporters hosted by API President and CEO Jack Gerard. Joining the call were Wayne Allard of the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), Heather White of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Rob Green of the National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR).
Posted June 12, 2015
For some time we’ve been talking about EPA’s bid to make the nation’s ozone standards more restrictive.
We’ve expressed puzzlement that the agency wants to impose more stringent standards when the existing ones are working – lowering ozone levels 18 percent between 2000 and 2013 according to EPA’s own data. We’ve noted the lack of scientific and public health justification for stricter standards while highlighting potential risks to the economy. If this week’s House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on ozone was any measure, the issue has the attention of many in Congress.
Top EPA official Janet McCabe was peppered with questions about economic impacts, the arguable wisdom of stricter standards when areas like Los Angeles don’t meet existing standards and EPA’s push for more stringent standards before the current standards are fully implemented in the states.
Posted June 11, 2015
Nowhere in the United States is there more to learn from EPA’s recent water/fracking study than in the state of New York.
Six months ago Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned hydraulic fracturing as too hazardous. Though the Cuomo administration conducted no original research of its own, the governor said no to fracking, no to jobs and economic growth – especially in the state’s struggling Southern Tier. He all but extinguished the hopes of many upstaters for a home-grown economic miracle – like the one occurring next door in Pennsylvania, thanks to fracking – one that would help save family farms, let children and grandchildren live and prosper where they were raised and help ensure economic security for thousands.
Yet, EPA’s five-year, multi-million-dollar study says the governor’s concerns are basically baseless, that safe hydraulic fracturing doesn’t threaten the nation’s drinking water.
Posted June 10, 2015
The video below was featured during last week’s Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) National Conference in Philadelphia, which highlighted the organization’s efforts to mentor at-risk youth. Take a look. “Darryl’s Story” is a compelling example of the positive effects of adult role-modeling – the good that can result when kids learn to dream big and then to work on their dreams. The energy connection: For Darryl, the journey took him to the oil and natural gas industry.
As an industry that’s creating opportunities that can be the realization of aspirations for fulfilling, well-paying careers, API is proud to partner with BBBS. The great news is that the oil and natural gas industry needs more Darryls, more young men and women who want to be geologists, engineers, chemists and the other specialties that comprise our modern workforce.
Posted June 9, 2015
With another hurricane season upon us, it’s timely to briefly review the ways the oil and natural gas industry is prepared for conditions that could impact industry operations, particularly in the Gulf Coast region and Gulf of Mexico – home to more than 45 percent of U.S. refining capacity and about 17 percent of the nation’s oil and 5 percent of its natural gas production.
While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting below-normal activity in the Atlantic region (which includes the Gulf), industry still takes a number precautions and has response plans in place in the event of a serious storm – wise, considering the potential impacts to facilities, regional and national economies and the environment.
You can read about this in detail in this hurricane fact sheet.
Posted June 8, 2015
David McGowan was named executive director of the North Carolina Petroleum Council in 2013. Previously, McGowan served as director of regulatory affairs for the North Carolina Association of Realtors. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina. Below, he talks with Energy Tomorrow about the potential for energy development in North Carolina, as well as the challenges for industry in his state.
Q: What do North Carolinians think about the state’s onshore and offshore energy potential? Is it something people are aware of, and what do you believe they want most from industry as it develops that energy?
McGowan: An overwhelming bipartisan majority of North Carolinians support more domestic exploration and production for oil and natural gas resources, both onshore and offshore. According to a Harris poll in January, 91 percent of the state’s citizens believe that we should produce more energy here at home to strengthen our energy security. Furthermore, 90 percent believe that increased oil and natural gas production will lead to more jobs here in the state. North Carolinians also understand that our country and our state need oil and gas resources for our economy to grow. They understand that more domestic production increases global supplies, putting downward pressure on costs and benefiting consumers.
Finally, most people in the state understand that energy production and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive. They know that we can safely and responsibly develop our natural resources, create jobs and stimulate the economy – all the while ensuring that the health of our citizens and environment are protected.
Posted June 5, 2015
OK, so EPA says safe hydraulic fracturing isn’t a threat to the nation’s drinking water. That’s great news for America’s energy revolution, which is being driven by advanced fracking and horizontal drilling. Without them there’s no revolution and certainly fewer jobs and less economic opportunity. Thanks, EPA, for following the science and recognizing – as industry has for some time, producing specific best practices for fracking – that the focus should be on continually improving safe operations and advancing technologies. These will help ensure our energy revolution goes forward.
Now, let’s talk about another country’s energy revolution – one that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in the U.S. beyond the unfortunate, protracted debate over the Keystone XL pipeline. Canada’s own energy revolution is at the heart of the U.S.-Canadian relationship and is so integral to U.S. security. The vitality of Canadian energy is something more Americans should care about, as it bears directly and indirectly on our lives in a number of ways.