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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Fracking, the U.S. Energy Revolution and Energy Security

oil and natural gas development  gallup poll  eia  access  fracking  horizontal drilling  shale energy  imports  domestic energy production 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted April 3, 2015

A couple of data points and some observations on energy security.

First data point: The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that last year the United States enjoyed the largest volume increase in crude oil production since record keeping began in 1900. That’s right, the largest increase in 115 years!

Production of crude (including lease condensate) increased during 2014 by 1.2 million barrels per day to 8.7 million barrels/day. EIA says that on a percentage basis 2014’s output increased 16.2 percent, the highest growth rate since 1940. 

You can thank shale and fracking.

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Urgency in Lifting the Crude Exports Ban

domestic oil  exports  crude markets  economic benefits  production  refineries 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 27, 2015

Add the heft of Rice University’s respected Center for Energy Studies to the weight of scholarly analysis urging an end to America’s four-decades-old ban on domestic crude oil exports. In a new study, the center lays out a case for U.S. crude oil exports that builds on the findings of IHS, ICF, Brookings, the Aspen Institute/MAPI and others – saying that lifting the ban would result in significant economic and foreign policy benefits to the U.S. 

The study explains that the export ban already is presenting a “binding constraint” on the domestic market, leading to “discounted” pricing for lighter crudes produced by America’s energy revolution. It also notes that large volumes of lighter domestic crudes, in excess of what the U.S. refining sector can use, with no access to other markets, are discounted compared to global crude prices.

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Yes, Lift the Crude Oil Exports Ban

energy exports  us crude oil production  economic benefits  government revenues  conocophillips  gasoline prices 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 20, 2015

The case for lifting the 1970s-era ban on U.S. crude oil exports, in a nutshell: 

The ban is a relic of the past, of an era when the U.S. was producing less and less of its own oil and importing more and more of oil produced by others. Crude exports would add to global crude supplies, putting downward pressure on the cost of crude. A number of studies project that lifting the export ban would lower domestic gasoline prices. Exports would stimulate domestic production, protecting U.S. jobs and creating more in the future. Exports would strengthen U.S. economic power that underlies American global influence.

There are more reasons, more details to the affirmative export case, a number of which were aired at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing this week. In its totality, it’s a strong, strong case.

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Energy – To Change the World

oil production  american energy  fossil fuels  chevron  offshore platform  natural gas pipelines  ozone 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 16, 2015

Denver Business Journal: The boom in oil and natural gas production in North America, largely due to the new technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, is changing the balance of power across the world, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice told attendees at the Vail Global Energy Forum.

Rice opened a two-day forum, which continues through Sunday, with remarks on Friday evening at the Beaver Creek Ski Resort in Vail. The forum, now in its third year, is growing. Nearly 400 people registered for the 2015 event, a 20 percent increase over the previous year, organizers said.

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Crude Oil Exports, U.S. Energy and Global Influence

crude oil  energy exports  oil production  domestic production  global markets  refineries 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 3, 2015

ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance applies some uncomplicated logic to the question of whether the United States should lift its 1970s-era ban on exporting domestic crude oil. “We should treat crude oil like any other potential product export,” Lance said at an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

As he did during a January visit to Washington, Lance laid out compelling reasons for lifting the crude oil export ban: An abundance of domestic light crude produced from shale is mismatched for a U.S. refining sector that’s largely configured to process heavier crudes, exporting crude would give producers access to the global market, helping to sustain domestic production and U.S. industry jobs, and exports would add supply to the global market, helping stabilize it and affording the U.S. new opportunities to exert positive influences in the world.

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Offshore Energy and South Carolina

offshore development  offshore drilling  south carolina  Energy Security  Economy  jobs  Offshore Production  Environment 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 20, 2015

Federal officials continue to hold public hearings on a draft offshore oil and natural gas leasing program that, when finalized, would largely determine where offshore energy development can occur from 2017 to 2022. Given the lead times needed for offshore development, the federal leasing program is vitally important to America’s energy production and energy security. Safe offshore development benefits the country but especially states that would host operations in their coastal waters. We’ve looked at how offshore oil and natural gas development would benefit Virginia and North Carolina – in terms of jobs and revenues generated for state budgets. Today, South Carolina.

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More Good News on Methane Emissions – Again

methane emissions  natural gas production  hydraulic fracturing  regulation  epa 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 10, 2015

Standout findings in a new major field study on methane emissions from natural gas collection and processing facilities across 13 states, led by Colorado State University include a couple of points:

First, of 130 facilities that collect natural gas from production wells, remove impurities and deliver it to inter- and intrastate pipeline networks,  101 had methane loss rates below 1 percent – including 85 of the 114 gathering facilities and all 16 of the processing plants studied. Put another way, methane containment at these facilities is more than 99 percent.

Second, the majority of emissions resulted from abnormalities involving broken or faulty equipment – issues that are relatively easy to address.

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Rhetoric vs. Action – Exports Edition

crude oil production  exports  trade  economic benefits  gasoline prices  president obama  congress 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 23, 2015

Earlier this month, then-White House advisor John Podesta said the Obama administration is unlikely to do more on the U.S. crude oil export ban beyond the Commerce Department’s recent effort to clarify the rules for exporting ultra-light crude known as condensates. Podesta told Reuters:

“At this stage, I think that what the Commerce Department did in December sort of resolves the debate. We felt comfortable with where they went. If you look at what's going on in the market and actions that the Department took, I think that ... there's not a lot of pressure to do more.”

It’s a strange conclusion given the weight of scholarship that says America’s 1970s ban on crude exports should be lifted – to spur domestic production, create jobs and put downward pressure on U.S. gasoline prices. It also would solve a growing mismatch between supplies of light sweet domestic crude and a refinery sector that’s largely configured to handle heavier crudes. ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance, speaking recently at the Center for Strategic and International Studies:

“(The condensates decision is) a help. … I question whether we’ll ever grow to a million barrels a day of condensate production, so it helps, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t answer the issue that we’re going to have coming at us as a nation … crude that our refineries cannot refine. So it’s a help, but by no stretch does it solve the problem. We have to address the bigger issue.”  

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American Energy’s Staying Power

domestic oil production  crude prices  methane emissions  keystone xl pipeline  state department 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 20, 2015

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The new year has seen crude oil prices continue to stumble and U.S. oil production continue to soar, and those trends are not likely to subside — at least in the short term.

Total U.S. crude oil production reached 9.1 million barrels per day (bbl/d) during the week ending Jan. 9, an increase over last year’s total of 8.1 million, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

And that figure is expected to grow. The agency forecasts total crude production will average 9.3 million barrels per day in 2015 and climb to 9.5 million in 2016, “which would be the second-highest annual average level of production in U.S. history; the highest was 9.6 million bbl/d in 1970,” the EIA said in its short-term energy outlook released last week.

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America – Energy Superpower

oil and natural gas production  job creation  economic growth  hydraulic fracturing  horizontal drilling  shale energy 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 20, 2015

API’s new national television ad underscores the ramifications of the United States as the world’s No. 1 producer of natural gas and its likely ascendance this year to No. 1 status in oil production. America is the world’s newest energy superpower.

As the ad notes, the domestic energy revolution that has elevated the U.S. the energy superpower status is because of safe, advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, which have unlocked vast oil and natural gas reserves held in shale and other tight-rock formations.

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