Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted October 9, 2015
We’re still more than a year from the next presidential election, but already we’re hearing attacks on energy company earnings, rhetoric calibrated for the sole purpose of riling up the party base. It’s bad political theater that misleads the American public to score political points, distracting from a substantive debate on the right energy path for the country. This has come up most recently in the debate over lifting the 1970s-era ban on U.S. crude oil exports -- which was advanced with bipartisan U.S. House passage of a bill ending the export ban.
Yesterday, we looked at problems with the White House’s opposition to lifting the ban. Goodness knows, export opponents on Capitol Hill have their own faulty reasons. We’ve covered most of these before, including consumer impacts, national security and the oil imports vs. exports muddle.
Some of the biggest confusion comes from those who find it convenient to flay the oil and natural gas industry. Certainly, running around and repeating “Big Oil” over and over again plays well with people who don’t like fossil fuels and/or progress in general. Unfortunately, in their rush to attack those who supply products that the American people actually want and demand – products that power our economy and modern way of life – it’s the American people who take the hit.
Posted September 29, 2015
U.S. oil and natural gas companies continue to lead in investing in the domestic economy, with five companies among the Progressive Policy Institute’s top 25 in 2014 U.S. capital expenditures.
ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Occidental Petroleum and Hess lead an energy production/mining sector that invested $43.6 billion in 2014, closely following the $48.7 invested by telecom/cable.
That’s great news for the U.S. economy which, as the PPI report details, needs investment to expand. PPI calls the top 25 its “investment heroes” because “their capital spending is helping to raise productivity and wages across the economy.”
Posted September 22, 2015
Today, API released a new report on investments in greenhouse gas-mitigating measures that illustrates the oil and natural gas industry’s leadership in innovating the technologies and efficiencies to keep improving air quality. We conclude a series of posts on the intersection of energy development and climate/environmental goals (here, here and here) with a look at the new report.
Key numbers from T2 and Associates’ new report on investments in mitigating greenhouse gases (GHG) by industry include $90 billion in zero and low-carbon emitting technologies from 2000 through 2014.
Posted August 28, 2015
There’s a new report out this week that says energy infrastructure constraints have cost New England at least $7.5 billion over the past three winters – while cautioning that failing to expand natural gas and electricity infrastructure will cost the region’s households and businesses $5.4 billion in higher energy costs between 2016 and 2020.
Other key findings in the report by the New England Coalition for Affordable Energy show that without additional infrastructure, higher energy costs will lead to the loss of 52,000 private-sector jobs over the same time period. In all, a lack of infrastructure investment could mean 167,000 jobs lost or not created. The report also found that the region could see a reduction in household spending of $12.5 billion and $9 billion in foregone infrastructure construction.
Posted June 3, 2015
The Hill: House Republicans have found reasons to agree with some parts of the Obama administration’s energy infrastructure proposal.
GOP leaders in the House Energy and Commerce Committee told Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz that they are largely in agreement on the need to improve pipelines, electric transmission lines, energy storage and other pieces of infrastructure.
Moniz testified at the hearing to promote the Quadrennial Energy Review, which the administration released in April to call for comprehensive infrastructure improvements worth billions of dollars.
“Many people are even asking — not surprisingly — is there enough common ground between our efforts and the Obama administration to enact meaningful energy legislation,” Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the energy and power subcommittee, said at the Tuesday hearing.
Posted May 12, 2015
Encana President and CEO Doug Suttles participated in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Leadership Series last week with a luncheon address and a Q&A session with Linda Harbert of the Institute for 21st Century Energy. Highlights of the conversation below. Suttles joined Alberta-based Encana as president and CEO in June 2013. He has 30 years of oil and natural gas industry experience in various engineering and leadership roles. Before joining Encana, Suttles held a number of leadership posts with BP, including chief operating officer of BP Exploration & Production and BP Alaska president.
Q: You opened your talk by saying I’m a North American energy company. … Can you shed a little light on the differences and similarities between operating in Canada and the U.S.?
Suttles: They’re not as big as many people would think. First of all, in the places we operate – Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and then Alberta and British Columbia – these are all natural resource states, and they understand that and I think the people and political leaders understand the importance, too. Both countries have high environmental expectations.
Probably the biggest difference you’d really see between them is the remoteness of operations, which creates a unique challenge in Canada. Many of our operations are away from large towns and cities … But you have an environment where I think people understand the benefits of our industry. They promote the industry, they support it.
Posted April 29, 2015
Rigzone: For every $1 that public pension funds allocated to oil and gas assets in 2005, investors saw a return of 130 percent in 2013, about double their returns on other investments, according to a new study from the American Petroleum Institute and Sonecon LLC.
“The lesson, frankly, from this analysis is that pension plans would be in better shape if they increased the share they invest in oil and gas,” said Robert Shapiro, a co-author of the report, said during a conference call with reporters.
Shapiro found that the funds invested an average of 4 percent of their assets in oil and gas, which yielded 8 percent of the returns. The study reviewed the returns of the two largest funds — those owned by public school employees and state workers in every case — for each of 17 states, which included California, Florida, New Mexico and West Virginia for the eight-year period from 2005 to 2013.
“All of these pension plans have been under serious economic stress since 2008. Thirty-five states have enacted changes that will change benefits,” Shaipro said, adding that when the plans’ returns are higher, there is less pressure on them to reduce benefits.
Posted April 28, 2015
New analysis of the performance of oil and natural gas stocks in public pension funds shows the importance of a healthy energy sector to the futures of millions of Americans – as well as the misguided nature of efforts to force institutions to end investments in oil and natural gas.
The first strengthens our country’s economy and makes more secure the future for a broad swath of people – starting with retired teachers, police officers and firefighters, among others – while the second most likely would do harm to a lot of regular Americans. ...
“In short, returns on state pension funds from investments in oil and natural gas companies provide strong earnings for public pension retirees, including America’s teachers, firefighters and police officers, according to the study,” said Kyle Isakower, API vice president of regulatory and economic policy, who briefed reporters during a conference call.
Posted October 21, 2014
Sonecon’s updated look at ownership of the U.S. oil and natural gas industry shows that the benefits of a successful, rigorous industry sector continue to accrue to a broad range of Americans – who are the industry’s true owners. Here’s what we mean by broad:
- Public and private pension and retirements plans, including 401(k)s and IRAs, hold 46.8 percent of all shares of U.S. oil and natural gas companies in 2014.
- Asset management companies, including mutual funds, hold 24.7 percent of oil and natural gas shares.
- Individual investors hold 18.7 percent of all oil and natural gas company shares.
Combined, that’s 97 percent of all oil and natural gas company stock – held by millions of Americans across the country.
Posted October 15, 2014
Natural gas production in the Marcellus Shale continues to surge – and with it, industry spending on construction and maintenance, according to a new study.
The latest drilling productivity report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects Marcellus natural gas output will hit 15,828 million cubic feet per day (mcf/d) or about 37.1 percent of production from the major U.S. shale plays. EIA expects Marcellus output will top 16,000 mcf/d in November.
The production gains are reflected in industry spending on workers in construction and maintenance from 2008 to 2014 – the subject of the new study by the Oil and Natural Gas Industry Labor-Management Committee. The study showed spending grew more than 60 percent between 2012 and 2013, reaching $5 billion, resulting in a 40 percent increase in jobs in eight trades (union and non-union members included). Another $6.5 billion already is committed for 2014, the study reports.