Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted June 13, 2014
Business Insider: Brent oil futures briefly began approaching $115 this morning, the highest level in nine months, as fears that Iraq is disintegrating spooked markets.
Crude is now up about 4% on the week. When prices stay at this level for this long, U.S. gas prices start creeping up.
But what about all the oil the U.S. has been producing the last few years? Shouldn't we be insulated from whatever oil is doing?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Gasoline prices are set on the global market, and refiners everywhere ship product to wherever they can get the best quote. So for better or worse, raw gasoline prices mostly move in lockstep around the world. The primary contract for gasoline is called RBOB.
Posted June 11, 2014
Fuel Fix.com: U.S. natural gas output will reach 73 billion cubic feet a day for the first time this year as new pipelines tap into shale supplies stranded in the Marcellus formation in the Northeast, a government report showed.
Marketed gas output in the lower 48 states will increase 4 percent from 2013, setting a record for the fourth straight year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook, released Tuesday in Washington. The production estimate was raised from 72.26 billion in last month’s report as “several new projects to support Marcellus production have either recently come on line or will begin operations later this year,” the government said.
Posted June 10, 2014
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s Sunday piece highlighted a conversation he had a few weeks ago with President Obama, during which the president talked about energy and climate change. A few things stand out:
The president signaled that climate policy should consider the real-world roles that are being played by various energy sources, saying:
“… we’re not going to suddenly turn off a switch and suddenly we’re no longer using fossil fuels, but we have to use this time wisely, so that you have a tapering off of fossil fuels replaced by clean energy sources that are not releasing carbon.”
Sounds reasonable, given the forecast of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its 2014 Annual Energy Outlook – that fossil fuels’ share of total U.S. energy use will be 80 percent in 2040, down only slightly from where it was in 2012 (82 percent). Oil and natural gas, which supplied 63 percent of the energy we used in 2012, are projected to supply 61 percent in 2040. Oil and natural gas are America’s energy today and tomorrow.
Posted June 10, 2014
New York Times: DENVER — An impassioned national debate over the oil-production technique known as fracking is edging toward the ballot box in Colorado, opening an election-year rift between moderate, energy-friendly Democrats and environmentalists who want to rein in drilling or give local communities the power to outlaw it altogether.
If they make the ballot in November, an array of proposals will be among the first in the nation to ask a state’s voters to sharply limit energy development. Some measures would keep drilling as far as a half-mile from Colorado homes. Others would give individual communities the right to ban fracking.
The ballot measures reflect the anxieties that have accompanied a drilling boom across the West. As drilling sites are built closer to playgrounds and suburban homes in communities along Colorado’s northern plains, residents and environmental groups have called for more regulation and have pushed for moratoriums on drilling.
But in a bellwether state like Colorado, where views on drilling vary as much as the geography, the measures could ignite an all-out battle involving oil companies, business groups and conservationists that pulls in millions in outside money, sets off a rush of campaign ads and spawns lawsuits for years to come. That is why Gov. John W. Hickenlooper and other Democratic leaders are working feverishly on a compromise that would give communities more control of energy development in their backyards while keeping the fracking issue off the ballot.
Posted June 6, 2014
America has a clear choice on energy. An historic American energy revolution is in progress -- thanks to vast shale reserves safely developed with advanced drilling technologies, industry innovation and leadership. This revolution is creating jobs, strengthening our economy and making our country more secure and muscular in the world. With the right energy choices the revolution can continue and grow.
Yet, somehow, Washington is conflicted. While the Obama administration embraces the shale revolution as integral to its all-of-the-above energy strategy, it advances policies fraught with the potential to needlessly hinder it. Instead of taking actions to enhance America’s energy renaissance, the administration is engaged in a regulatory march that quite likely could diminish it. Sustaining this energy revolution should be a no-brainer – not the brain-bender the administration is fostering with muddled vision and contradictory statements.
During a conference call with reporters this week, API President and CEO Jack Gerard discussed inconsistencies between what top administration officials say about U.S. energy development and what the agencies under them are doing to U.S. energy development.
Posted June 5, 2014
The Wall Street Journal (ROBERT PROFUSEK): Since the 1970s, multinational companies regularly relocated manufacturing outside the U.S., chasing what GE’s Jeff Immelt coined “labor arbitrage,” and the conventional wisdom was that U.S. manufacturing was heading to an inexorable death. The conventional wisdom has, however, proven untrue, as so often is the case.
Some of the reasons for the rebirth of manufacturing in the U.S. were the inevitable consequences of the rapid rise in industrialization in emerging market countries–think of the pollution and daily rolling brownouts in India, labor unrest and increased wage and work rule demands in China and unpredictable legal systems in many emerging market countries. But the fundamental factor driving manufacturing back to the U.S. is technology–computers and robots have further eroded the labor arbitrage, and the U.S. is the undeniable global leader in technology and innovation. At the same time, the U.S. is in the midst of an energy boom, itself technology-enabled, producing an enormous cost and reliability advantages. While this particular advantage can be expected to diminish over time, it is real and the catch-up time is likely to be long, as evidenced by China’s inability to date to exploit its own shale gas reserves cost-effectively.
Posted June 4, 2014
Posted June 3, 2014
More data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), pointing toward American energy self-sufficiency: The agency reports domestic energy production accounted for 84 percent of total U.S. energy demand in 2013, a ratio last seen in the early 1990s. EIA:
The portion of U.S. energy consumption supplied by domestic production has been increasing since 2005, when it was at its historical low point (69%). Since 2005, production of domestic resources, particularly natural gas and crude oil, has been increasing as a result of the application of technologies that can develop harder-to-produce resources.
Posted May 28, 2014
In my former role as assistant secretary of energy at the Department of Energy and my current position as executive director of Rice University's Energy and Environment Initiative, we are constantly challenged by this responsibility of energy sustainability in the utilization of fossil fuels. Our future will be determined by increasing energy requirements on a global basis for electricity, fuels and chemicals to meet a doubling of world demand by 2050. Fossil fuels will continue to be more than 80 percent of the world's fuel supply in 2050, as cited by the International Energy Agency, so it is not "if" we will be consuming coal, oil and natural gas, but "how." We must have a genuine "all of the above" energy strategy, and to do so, we must invest in fossil-fuel technology to ensure energy sustainability.
Posted May 27, 2014
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Mark D. Caskey, president of Steel Nation Steel Buildings, a Washington County company that constructs gas compression stations for energy companies, is no stranger to having doors slammed in his face.
In fact, when he pitched the idea to build such stations to energy companies six years ago, that’s all that happened.
“We tried to talk to every big midstream company, trying to get our foot in the door,” Mr. Caskey said. “We’d knock on their door, they’d meet with us and they’d say, listen, ’You’ve never built a gas compression building before. We’re not going to be your guinea pig.’”
Gas compression stations, he explained, gather gas from wells. They also separate and cool the gas before transporting it to major transmission lines.
In 2008 when Steel Nation opened, the company focused on building prep plants that wash and separate coal for coal companies.
But after a friend from oil and gas company Range Resources took him to a drill site, Mr. Caskey realized he could take his talents to the natural gas industry.