Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted May 3, 2016
Two more data sets underscore the positive economic impact of America’s energy revolution and the relevance of the U.S. model of concurrent energy and economic growth, consumer benefits and climate progress.
First the consumer benefits part. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that Americans’ cost of living is lower since June 2014, thanks to reduced household energy costs because of decreases in crude oil and natural gas prices. (Right here we’ll add that increased U.S. oil and gas production is a key driver in these declines that are benefiting consumers.)
Posted May 2, 2016
This wonderful domestic energy abundance and the global LNG market opportunities could be impacted by challenges facing infrastructure expansion here at home. America needs more energy infrastructure to move domestic supply to all areas of the country, for residential consumers, power generators and manufacturers. Yet, without stronger high-level backing, we could see these infrastructure needs delayed or rejected, as occurred last month with the proposed Constitution natural gas pipeline in New York.
Americans overwhelmingly support more energy infrastructure, and there appears to be bipartisan consensus for it in Congress. But infrastructure projects are being targeted by a vocal minority – even though increased domestic use of natural gas is the leading reason the United States is leading the world in reducing carbon emissions. A key going forward is gaining infrastructure support from the White House and the administration, said Marty Durbin, API’s executive director for market development.
Posted January 28, 2016
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that a number of recently completed and soon-to-be-completed pipeline projects are expected to increase access to natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions, providing valuable linkage between production centers and consumers or export terminals.
We see the increase in natural gas pipeline capacity in the Northeast region, which is particularly critical because the Northeast has suffered negative effects from energy infrastructure limitations. EIA estimates that Northeast residents paid up to 68 percent more for electricity than the national average in the winter of 2014, while industrial users paid up to 105 percent more for electricity than the national average. Indeed, greater capacity is key to staving off economic penalties that could stem from insufficient infrastructure. One study estimated that failure to expand natural gas and electricity infrastructure in the Northeast could cost the region’s households and businesses $5.4 billion in higher energy costs and more than 167,000 private-sector and construction jobs between 2016 and 2020.
So this is good news for the Northeast, but also other regions.
Posted May 26, 2015
Reuters: U.S. Republicans have had to watch from the sidelines as the Obama White House has taken political credit for America's unexpected energy boom and tumbling gas prices. Now it has left their presidential candidates scrambling for a way to reclaim leadership on an issue the party once seemed to own.
Their apparent answer: calling time on a 40-year-old federal ban on crude oil exports and using the newfound energy bounty to strategic advantage.
"We've got an abundance of supply," Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said this week in Oklahoma at a gathering of putative Republican candidates for next year's presidential election. Lifting the ban, he said, would allow exports to "our allies in Europe, where, instead of being dependent on (President) Vladimir Putin and the Russians, they could be dependent on Americans."
Posted April 27, 2015
Wall Street Journal op-ed (John Hess): While one can debate the reasons for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ decision in November to continue flooding the oil markets, the fact is that this is squeezing many U.S. shale oil producers out of business. Oil prices have dropped by 50% in the past six months, and crude oil inventories in the U.S. have grown from 350 million barrels last year to more than 480 million barrels today.
Part of the reason inventory has ballooned is that crude produced in the U.S. is literally trapped here, because American firms are not allowed to sell it overseas. An antiquated rule bans crude oil exports from the lower 48 American states, even though producers could earn $5-$14 more per barrel by selling on the world market. At this moment the U.S. government is considering lifting sanctions on Iranian crude oil exports. Why not lift the self-imposed “sanctions” on U.S. crude exports that have been in place for the past four decades?
The export ban is a relic of a previous era, put in place around the time of the 1973 Arab oil embargo against the U.S., when Washington thought very differently about ensuring America’s energy needs. Other measures related to the 1973 embargo, such as price controls and rationing, were eliminated decades ago, as policy makers realized that they impeded, rather than aided, American energy security. But the ban on crude oil exports persists.
There is no defensible justification for the continued ban on the export of U.S. crude oil.
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.
Posted November 12, 2014
EIA Today in Energy Blog: Increased natural gas production is projected to satisfy 60% to 80% of a potential increase in demand for added liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the Lower 48 states, according to recently released EIA analysis. The report, Effect of Increased Levels of Liquefied Natural Gas Exports on U.S. Energy Market, considered the long-term effects of several LNG export scenarios specified by the Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy (FE). The study also considered implications for natural gas prices, consumption, primary energy use, and energy-related emissions. Effects on overall economic growth were positive but modest. A discussion of caveats and limitations of the analysis is also included.
Posted November 6, 2014
National Journal: Republicans' midterm victory means a Keystone XL pipeline is coming front-and-center to Congress's energy agenda, but that doesn't mean President Obama wants to talk about it.
Obama got a question during his Wednesday presser about a bill that ascendant Republicans plan to send him on approving the Keystone XL oil-sands pipeline. Obama didn't say point blank whether he'd reject the bill, instead saying he would let the "process play out" with the ongoing State Department review. He added that his parameters for evaluating the project are whether it would be good for U.S. pocketbooks, would really create jobs, and would not worsen climate change.
Posted February 11, 2014
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, addressing a propane shortage currently affecting millions of consumers in the Northeast and Midwest at the National Association of State Energy Officials annual policy outlook conference last week:
“There’s a lot of day-to-day issues to be concerned about but we also want to keep this in a broader context. What we’re seeing played out is just one example of where our energy infrastructure isn’t quite ready for the task we have today.”
At the same conference, Roy Willis, president and CEO of the Propane Education Research Council, called propane the “canary in the coalmine” for the nation’s energy infrastructure needs. That canary certainly is singing out.
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Jane Van Ryan
Posted April 13, 2011