Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted February 13, 2014
Fuel Fix Blog: While the January jobs report was a disappointing for the national economy, it brought good news about growth in oil and gas.
About 206,000 employees worked in the oil and gas extraction sector in January, about 1.8 percent more than in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nationwide, total employment was relatively stagnant at a seasonally adjusted 137.5 million.
The employment story was positive across sectors of the energy industry. Manufacturing of petroleum and coal products had 112,700 employees on payrolls, a 1.6 percent increase from December. The chemicals sector grew by 1.2 percent to 796,100 people.
Posted February 13, 2014
What They’ve Said About Keystone XL: Build It!
It’s hard to overstate the broad-based nature of political support for the Keystone XL pipeline, support that stems from the project’s benefits: upwards of 830,000 barrels a day of oil from Canada’s oil sands and the U.S. Bakken region, 42,100 jobsduring the pipeline’s construction phase, strengthened energy security – with the Keystone XL playing an integral role in a broad strategy that could see 100 percent of U.S. liquid fuel needs met domestically and from Canada.
Posted February 11, 2014
Posted February 10, 2014
How the U.S. Energy Boom is Changing America’s Place in the World
Time: It wasn’t even five years ago that Iran reelected hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a disputed presidential election, openly admitted it was building a uranium enrichment facility and brazenly test-fired missiles capable of hitting targets in Israel. Fast-forward to today: A more conciliatory president, Hassan Rouhani, is making historic overtures toward the West and negotiations are showing rare progress toward containing the country’s nuclear program, which has kept the region—and the world—on edge for years.
The difference, according to former Obama administration National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, can be summed up in one word: “fracking.” That’s hydraulic fracturing, the drilling method that’s helped fuel an unprecedented domestic energy boom in the United States.
“There’s a direct line between the U.S.-led sanctions effort to put pressure on Iran” and the flood of oil and gas coming out of the ground at home due to fracking technology, Donilon said Thursday night at an event announcing a new report from the Center for a New American Security, titled “Energy Rush: Shale Production and U.S. National Security.”
Before the North American energy boom—the largest-ever annual increase in domestic oil production took place in 2012—a harsh sanctions regime against Iran looked more like a suicide pact for the oil-import-dependent U.S. Instead, America’s sudden energy abundance dampened the blow of reduced oil exports to the global economy, making truly harsh sanctions on Iran possible.
Read more: http://ti.me/1eKvYKd
Posted February 7, 2014
The Shale Factor in U.S. National Security
Reuters (Dobriansky, Richardson and Warner): The boom in domestic shale oil and gas production has increased U.S. prosperity and economic competitiveness. But the potential for this to enhance our national security remains largely unrealized.
The shale surge has boosted production by 50 percent for oil and 20 percent for gas over the last five years. Yet our political leaders are only just beginning to explore how it can help further national strategic interests.
We led a major study at the Center for a New American Security in the last year, bringing together a nonpartisan panel to examine national security implications of the unconventional energy boom. We decided that outdated idealization of “energy independence” is preventing the administration and Congress from focusing on current energy vulnerabilities and figuring out how Washington should secure our economic and security interests.
Though the United States now imports less oil than it has for more than a dozen years, we should not distance ourselves from international oil markets by pursuing full energy self-sufficiency. The best way to advance energy security is to remain engaged internationally with major energy players.
Read more: http://reut.rs/1iyeOys
Posted February 6, 2014
Trade Gap Shrank in 2013 as U.S. Fuel Exports Climbed
Bloomberg News: The U.S. trade deficit in 2013 was the smallest since 2009, even as it ticked up at year’s end, as rising fuel exports and falling imports propelled the world’s biggest economy further toward energy independence.
The gap narrowed to $471.5 billion last year, the lowest since 2009, from $534.7 billion in 2012, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The balance on petroleum products shrank 20.2 percent, also the biggest decline in four years.
Foreign sales went beyond fuel as demand for American-produced foods, capital equipment, autos and consumer goods all climbed to records in 2013, evidence of the rebound in global demand that will probably keep driving exports this year. Another report showing claims for jobless benefits dropped last week points to a healing in the U.S. labor market that will help boost consumer spending, ensuring imports also grow.
“The trade deficit will continue to narrow a bit over the course of 2014, mostly thanks to a smaller petroleum trade deficit,” said Ryan Wang, an economist at HSBC Securities USA Inc. in New York and the second-best trade forecaster over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “We’ll see another year of moderate growth.”
Read more: http://bloom.bg/1lDQLmp
Posted February 5, 2014
Newsworthy today: Former U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, speaking at the North American Prospect Expo in Houston, notes that hydraulic fracturing is, in part, the reason America is enjoying an energy boom that is making the country more energy secure and energy self-sufficient. Salazar:
“We know that, from everything we’ve seen, there’s not a single case where hydraulic fracking has created an environmental problem for anyone. We need to make sure that story is told.”
Salazar also said the Keystone XL pipeline is a ‘win-win” for America:
“At the end of the day, we are going to be consuming that oil. So is it better for us to get the oil from our good neighbor from the north, or to be bringing it from some place in the Middle East?”
Posted January 28, 2014
Manufacturers to D.C.: Make Us a Can-Do Nation Again
Real Clear Politics (Oberhelman/Timmons): President Obama has highlighted manufacturing in his past two State of the Union addresses. Two years ago, he cited an agenda that “begins with American manufacturing” as part of a broader “blueprint for an economy that’s built to last.” Last year, he reiterated manufacturing’s critical importance to economic recovery, stating, “Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.” Odds are manufacturing will make another appearance this year, with familiar rhetoric that receives bipartisan applause. Unfortunately, rhetoric alone won’t get the job done. We need policymakers to do what manufacturers in the United States do every day: Make tough decisions that get results.
This year, we are issuing a challenge in advance of the State of the Union address. Over the next year, the president and Congress, in partnership with manufacturers and the entire private sector, must work together on a broad-based agenda to spur long-term economic growth and employment. If we do, we can:
Create more than 20,000 manufacturing jobs per month;
Grow industrial production by at least 4.5 percent annually; and
Grow the economy by at least 3.5 percent annually.
Read more: http://bit.ly/MbgZwi
Posted January 27, 2014
Free America’s Energy Future: Drop Washington’s Counterproductive Oil and Natural Gas Ban
Forbes (Doug Bandow): For years people have been told to expect a dismal energy future. But because of rapid free market innovation, Americans now can look forward to a future of energy abundance. The U.S. could even become a leading exporter—if Washington gets out of the way.
Successive presidents and Congresses imposed controls, approved subsidies, created bureaucracies, and issued proclamations. The most common commitment was to achieve “energy independence.” But President Ronald Reagan set the stage for today’s energy advances by unilaterally eliminating oil price controls and pushing Congress to drop natural gas price and use restrictions.
His successors, however, have regressed back to expensive social engineering. George W. Bush declared war on the common light bulb. Barack Obama poured billions into the coffers of well-connected alternative energy firms, several of which, such as Solyndra, have gone bankrupt. And everyone continued to support the authoritarian Gulf kleptocracies, led by Saudi Arabia, to ensure access to imported oil.
Yet an energy revolution is underway. Observed Mark P. Mills, an Adjunct Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, “The game-changing technologies that have emerged involve hydrocarbons: natural gas, oil, and coal.” Major advances have been made in locating and extracting resources—such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—and operating in more distant and hostile environments.
Read more: http://onforb.es/1f7kRXN
Posted January 17, 2014
David Ignatius has an important column in the Washington Post this week on America’s energy boom –the result of greatly expanded domestic oil and natural gas production and an “all of the above” approach to energy policy. Ignatius writes:
For decades, Americans have talked about “energy policy” as if it were the political equivalent of a migraine. The phrase connoted pain — in ever-rising gas prices, costly government schemes and dependence on imports from precarious Middle East regimes. But recent developments involving energy production and technology have been so astonishing that they should puncture this long-running pessimism. The amazing fact is that, on nearly every front, America’s energy prospects have improved in ways that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. In the energy marketplace, President Obama’s vision of an “all of the above” strategy is actually happening. Production of oil, gas and alternative energy is rising, even as demand begins falling for these energy sources — all thanks to new technology. The market forces driving these changes are so powerful that even politicians probably can’t screw them up.
Ignatius highlights data we’ve previously seen from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), projecting that the U.S. will produce nearly 9.6 million barrels of oil per day by 2016, a level not seen since 1970 – thanks largely to vast shale deposits and advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.