Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted March 5, 2021
We don’t yet know the full extent of the Biden administration’s strategy for U.S. energy. As API President and CEO Mike Sommers has said repeatedly since the election, our industry is ready to work with the administration for a better economy, cleaner environment and progress toward climate goals. Based on remarks by former Secretary of State John Kerry at the CERAWeek conference, there’s important common ground for a cooperative relationship.
“I don’t object per se to fossil fuel," said the president's special envoy for climate. "I object to the byproduct of fossil fuel, which is the carbon. That’s the problem, and the methane, that's another major problem emerging. So, we have to be able to abate. It’s the debate between unabated and abated production.”
Common ground: The natural gas and oil industry also is for abating carbon emissions – and has been working to reduce carbon and capture methane, through innovation and technology, for some time.
Industry investment, innovation and problem-solving on emissions came up so often during CERAWeek, it was hard to track them all. If, as Kerry said, the administration sees carbon and methane emissions as the targets – and not the energy from natural gas and oil – industry not only is a willing partner, it’s one that’s tackling those challenges head on.
Posted March 2, 2021
The natural gas and oil industry is foundational to the U.S. economy and security today and will be for decades to come. That’s reality – and a welcome one, given U.S. world leadership in natural gas and oil production. Natural gas and oil frame the issues of energy and environmental progress – the priorities of safely producing the affordable reliable energy Americans use every day and boosting the economy, while also reducing emissions and our industry’s environmental footprint. We can do both, together.
API President and CEO Mike Sommers underscored these themes at this week’s CERAWeek energy conference – virtual this year because of the pandemic. Sommers’ key points: The natural gas and oil industry will work with the Biden administration as much as possible to achieve progress on climate goals – including technology and regulation; natural gas and oil are fundamental to U.S. security and world leadership; and natural gas and oil is supporting U.S. and world growth, as well as the high-paying jobs of millions of Americans.
Posted February 26, 2021
In introducing U.S. Rep. Debra Haaland – President Biden’s choice to be Interior Department secretary – to the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Congressman Don Young of Alaska, a staunch Republican, predicted this about his House colleague: “You’ll find out that she will listen to you.”
Given the political polarization in Washington, that’s pretty significant – and hugely important in building a bipartisan approach to energy, infrastructure and other issues associated with national economic growth, security and the environment.
The natural gas and oil industry welcomes the opportunity – if Rep. Haaland is confirmed by the full Senate – to work with her as her department manages millions of acres of federal lands and waters that are key to our country’s energy present and future.
Posted February 18, 2021
More than 4 million Texas homes and businesses have been without electricity this week as an Arctic air mass left the state coping with temperatures hovering around zero. Electricity and natural gas use spiked and rolling blackouts were ordered as energy systems experienced what the Webber Energy Group’s Joshua Rhodes called a “black swan event” that taxed all parts of those systems at the same time.
I spoke with Dustin Meyer, API vice president of Natural Gas Markets, to find out what happened in Texas, to understand the conditions that left the nation’s No. 1 energy state struggling for power and heat and what resources could help prevent this from happening again.
Bottom line points: Texas’ difficulties represent a failure of the grid across the board, with all generation technologies falling short of expectations; as in California last summer, events in Texas underscore the need for a diverse energy supply and smart planning to support the health of the U.S. power grid; natural gas, unique among energy sources in supplying needed attributes that ensure grid reliability, is and will remain a key in that diverse mix; and natural gas has carried most of the energy load in Texas this week, and without its contributions the energy picture would have been even worse. Expanded infrastructure would help make natural gas systems more resilient.
Posted February 9, 2021
As the White House considers where it stands on existing and future pipeline projects that bring the nation’s abundant domestic natural gas and oil – as well as products made from them – to where consumers need them, it should factor in that building and operating pipelines create and support tens of thousands of jobs, generate bipartisan support in Congress and are coveted by working men and women in America’s labor unions.
Exhibit A is last week’s U.S. Senate vote supporting the Keystone XL pipeline, the huge infrastructure project President Biden canceled his first day in office – and with it more than 1,000 union jobs. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana made support for the project bipartisan, and Manchin this week wrote a letter to the president asking him to reconsider his decision. ...
While Senate budget votes are largely symbolic, last week's vote has meaning going forward as the administration weighs other pipeline projects – projects that create jobs and help ensure the affordability and reliability of U.S. energy.
Exhibit B: Remarks by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in an Axios on HBO interview, critical of the president's Keystone XL cancellation.
Posted February 2, 2021
Tucked in one of the Biden administration’s executive orders on climate is a directive to use the federal government’s procurement powers to achieve or facilitate “clean and zero-emission vehicles for Federal, State, local, and Tribal government fleets, including vehicles of the United States Postal Service.” The order also requires that fleet electrification fit with the administration’s support for union jobs and conforms to its “Made in America” principles.
Read below for a look at the facts on challenges linked to the size and scope of the directive, as well as concern that U.S. consumers and taxpayers should have over issues including the ownership costs of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), battery disposal, infrastructure costs and the potential for increased reliance on automotive components made by non-U.S. based workers.
First, we’ll focus on a fundamental concern, which is the government, in a market-based economy, taking policy actions to push the market and consumers toward a specific policy outcome. Basically, it’s the government picking winners and losers for consumers.
Posted January 28, 2021
We’ve talked about the potential harm to economic recovery and U.S. energy security in the Biden administration’s early, misguided policy actions – killing the Keystone XL pipeline and halting new natural gas and oil leasing on federal lands and waters, the apparent first step toward banning federal development altogether.
Taking a closer look at the flurry of executive orders from the White House, the president’s energy actions also run counter to his own objectives, including these three:
Advancing “Made in America” concepts; conservation and environmental protection and improving the U.S. government’s relationships with Native Americans.
Posted January 27, 2021
As the Biden administration takes the first step toward a complete ban on federal natural gas and oil development – including the offshore that accounted for more than one-fifth of U.S. oil production in 2019 – turning America’s energy strength into weakness by launching a new era of increased dependence on foreign oil, let’s see how out of step the approach is with the American people.
From polling of voters last summer in key battleground and other states: 93% said it’s important the U.S. produce enough energy to avoid being reliant on foreign oil; 90% said it’s important to create access to domestic energy; 69% said safe domestic natural gas and oil production makes the U.S. less reliant on foreign energy and has increased U.S. security. (Just 16% disagreed.)
All three viewpoints sharply contrast with where the Biden administration appears to be going with its announced halt on natural gas and oil leasing on federal lands and waters – which many believe will become a full ban on federal development.
Put simply, the White House is advancing an import-more-oil policy – one that would discard the hard-earned security, economic and environmental gains from a decade and a half of domestic energy resurgence.
Posted January 25, 2021
It’s unfortunate that the Biden administration’s first couple of energy decisions – effectively canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and signaling it will halt new federal natural gas and oil leasing – work against economic growth and could undermine the nation’s energy security.
With the U.S. economy struggling to recover from the pandemic, there could hardly be a worse time for actions that kill jobs, potentially increase energy costs and cause the U.S. to import more oil.
Sure, the president promised these things during the campaign. Yet, it’s disappointing nonetheless that thousands of U.S. workers associated with building the Keystone XL are now without jobs and that a federal leasing ban could start a new era of increasing U.S. energy dependence. Coincidentally, the administration just unveiled its “Buy American” initiative. What about energy? How about “Buy American Energy”?
Posted January 22, 2021
“The risks of climate change are real. Our companies have played and will continue to play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) that contribute to climate change.”
Above is a quick summary of the natural gas and oil industry’s climate position (more detail here). Basically, industry recognizes significant climate risks and is committed to working to further reduce GHG emissions – both especially relevant with President Biden’s announcement that the U.S. is rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement.As the leading provider of the energy that powers the U.S. economy and Americans’ everyday lives, our industry has a key role to play in the national climate conversation and in developing climate solutions – even as it supports economic growth and U.S. energy security.