Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted May 5, 2015
Energy Outlook Blog (Geoff Styles): The US Energy Information Administration's latest Annual Energy Outlook features the key finding that the US is on track to reduce its net energy imports to essentially zero by 2030, if not sooner. That might seem surprising, in light of the recent collapse of oil prices and the resulting significant slowdown in drilling. EIA has covered that base, as well, in a side-case in which oil prices remain under $80 per barrel through 2040, and net imports bottom out at around 5% of total energy demand. Either way, this is as close to true US energy independence as I ever expected to see.
It wasn't that many years ago that such an outcome seemed ludicrously unattainable. I recall patiently explaining to various audiences that we simply couldn't drill our way to energy independence. The forecast of self-sufficiency that EIA has assembled depends on a lot more than just drilling, but without the development of previously inaccessible oil and gas resources through advanced drilling technology and hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a. "fracking", it couldn't be made at all. The growing contributions of various renewables are still dwarfed by oil and natural gas, for now.
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.
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.
Posted December 31, 2014
Business Day: For years, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pulled the strings set the price of oil and controlled the supply. After dictating the course of oil prices for more than 50 years, OPEC is finding its influence diminished.
Right now, OPEC represents about 40 percent of global daily production. The organization still has a say in what the energy market looks like. But for OPEC, oil can no longer be used as either a weapon or as a lever. There is simply too much production arising beyond the control of OPEC.
For 2015, US will emerge as dominant player. OPEC member countries are gradually losing the largest energy market in the world and the irony is that they will soon be competing for the markets that used to be theirs for the taking. Projections from recent happenings reveal that in 2015 the US will start dictating to the market. With the advent in 2015 of large US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the effect is even larger, and with it comes the hastening of OPEC’s decline.
Posted September 19, 2014
A couple of recent polls indicate many Americans are concerned that lifting the 1970s ban on crude oil exports could increase prices at the pump. A couple of thoughts.
First, it’s likely these opinions stem from an idea that restricting domestic crude oil output to the boundaries of the United States will favorably impact domestic pump prices. Yet, because crude oil is traded globally, the world market sets the cost of crude, which then is the chief factor in prices at the pump.
Second, the strong weight of new scholarship and analysis say that allowing exports of domestic crude will lower pump prices in this country – while also boosting economic growth, employment and wages and improving our balance of trade.
Posted July 25, 2014
Another of Big Ethanol’s favorite lines is the claim that Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandates for ever-increasing ethanol use are reducing oil imports. As we noted in this Bob Greco post from April 2013, ethanol proponents keep saying this despite the fact there’s little factual basis for it. Let’s update that post.
First, we know that net crude oil imports are falling, and that’s a very good thing for America. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that in 2013 net crude imports were at their lowest level since 1988, and EIA projects that net imports’ share of overall U.S. petroleum and other liquids use could approach zero by 2040 – a good definition of U.S. energy self-sufficiency. Big Ethanol likes wrapping itself in that mantle because it boosts the flawed RFS. But it’s not deserved.
U.S. net imports of crude fell more than 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) from the beginning of 2008 through the end of 2013. Again, great news. Over the same period domestic crude production increased more than 2.4 million bpd. You don’t need a slide rule to understand that the increase in domestic production accounts for all of the reduction in imports.
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 April 7, 2014
Take a good look at the chart below – brand-new from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The green line disappearing into the horizontal axis between the years 2030 and 2040 is what U.S. energy self-sufficiency looks like.
This is a big, big deal – a goal of every U.S. president since Richard Nixon more than 40 years ago: the point where domestic production exceeds imports, which EIA never included in any of its projections. Until now.
Because of surging tight-oil production – oil from shale and other tight-rock formations, developed with advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – the agency is including in its 2014 Annual Energy Outlook a high-production scenario under which net imports would reach near-zero between 2030 and 2040.
Posted March 14, 2014
More on the growing discussion of how North America’s energy renaissance – led by surging oil and natural gas production – affects U.S. energy and national security and gives our country the chance to positively impact global stability. A part of that conversation is the significant role the Keystone XL pipeline could play in securing our energy future, allowing our country to have greater influence abroad.
Posted January 9, 2013
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Short-Term Energy Outlook released this week contains two important crude oil stats:
- U.S. domestic production is expected to continue growing rapidly over the next two years, from an average of 6.4 million barrels per day (bbl/d) last year to 7.3 million bbl/d in 2013 and 7.9 million bbl/d in 2014. Much of the production growth will come from drilling in tight plays in the Williston (North Dakota and Montana), Western Gulf and Permian basins (Texas).
- U.S. liquid fuel imports, including crude oil, are expected to decline to an average of 6 million bbl/d by 2014. EIA says the net import share will average 32 percent in 2014 “because of continued substantial increases in domestic crude oil production.”