Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted June 9, 2015
BP Magazine – Why is natural gas the fuel of the future? Despite pressures on the industry today – with gas prices down and capital investment under pressure – longer term trends still point to the increasing significance of natural gas in the energy mix. BP Magazine looks at some of the numbers behind the story of the world’s strongest-growing and cleanest fossil fuel.
Over the next 20 years, natural gas is expected to catch up with oil and coal and emerge as the main hydrocarbon component of a more sustainable energy mix. The fastest-growing fossil fuel – which is primarily methane – is mainly used for power generation, as well as in homes, offices, shops and other commercial locations for heating and cooling. It’s also a raw material in the production of fertilizer and other chemicals – and it is sometimes used as a fuel for transport as well.
Posted June 4, 2015
CNBC – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a Thursday report that it found no evidence fracking has a “widespread” impact on drinking water.
The EPA report concluded that there are above and below ground mechanisms by which fracking have the potential to impact drinking water resources, but that the number of identified cases were “small” compared to the number of fracking wells.
“We did not find evidence that these mechanisms [of potentially affecting water] have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States,” the report said.
Posted May 29, 2015
Reuters: The U.S. Congress could lift the 40-year old ban on domestic crude oil exports within a year as a drop in gasoline prices and the potential return of Iranian oil to global markets makes it an easier measure for politicians to support, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts said on Thursday.
U.S. gasoline prices have dropped since last year along with global crude prices, thanks to strong crude output from the United States, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. On Thursday, the U.S. average for regular gasoline at the pump was nearly $2.74 a gallon, down from $3.65 a year ago, according to the AAA motorist club.
If that remains the case, it has the potential to allay politicians' fears that they could be blamed any rise in gasoline prices if the crude oil export ban was lifted. If talks between six global powers and Tehran on Iran's nuclear program reach a deal on June 30, sanctions on Iran's oil exports could be removed soon after. That could also put pressure on global oil and U.S. gasoline prices.
Posted May 14, 2015
Wall Street Journal: After slashing production for months, U.S. shale-oil companies say they are ready to bring rigs back into service, setting up the first big test of their ability to quickly react to rising crude prices.
Last week, EOG Resources Inc. EOG, -0.08% said it would ramp up output if U.S. prices hold at recent levels, while Occidental Petroleum Corp. OXY, +0.93% boosted planned production for the year. Other drillers said they would open the taps if U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate CLM5, -0.88% reaches $70 a barrel. WTI settled at $60.50 Wednesday, while global benchmark Brent LCOM5, -0.13% settled at $66.81.
An increase in U.S. production, coupled with rising output by suppliers such as Russia and Brazil, could put a cap on the 40% rally in crude prices since March and even push them lower later in the year, some analysts say.
“U.S. supply could quickly rebound in response to the recent recovery in prices,” said Tom Pugh, a commodities economist at Capital Economics. “Based on the historical relationship with prices, the fall in the number of drilling rigs already looks overdone, and activity is likely to rebound over the next few months.”
Posted May 1, 2015
Ravalli (Mont.) Republic: The nation’s energy future is strong, with oil and natural gas production driving the country closer to becoming a net exporter of energy, the commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Wednesday.
Commissioner Norman Bay said the U.S. has ramped up its oil and gas production while slowing domestic demand for petroleum.
Growth of the nation’s electrical consumption has also slowed to 1 percent a year, and coal is playing a smaller role in U.S. power generation.
“In 2009, all that natural gas flooded the market and the share of electricity generated from coal dropped from 50 percent to 45 percent,” Bay said. “Over time, the share of generation by natural gas continues to increase and electricity generated from coal continues to decrease. It’s primarily driven by market forces.”
Posted March 25, 2015
Posted March 24, 2015
Posted August 27, 2014
USAToday Editorial: There is much news these days from the world's major energy producing regions. Almost none of it is good.
Iraq, Libya and Syria are in turmoil. Russia, the world's largest exporter of natural gas and the second largest exporter of oil, is bullying Ukraine and by extension Western Europe. And Iran's nuclear program may yet provoke a market-roiling conflict.
Amazingly, as all this has transpired, U.S. gasoline prices have been stable, even falling. The domestic economy is picking up steam. And the stock market has hit all-time highs.
Go figure. Perhaps the markets are in denial and Americans are in for an ugly surprise. They were blindsided in 1973 when an Arab oil boycott led to higher prices and long gas lines, and again in 1979 when the Iranian revolution led to a second oil shock.
But there are legitimate reasons why things would look relatively good here while so much of the world burns. First among them is a U.S. energy renaissance that has left the nation far less dependent on Mideast oil.
Posted August 19, 2014
It is challenging to strike a balance between traditional energy sources, such as coal, oil and natural gas, and emerging renewables like wind and biomass. The Virginia Energy Plan, updated every four years by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, serves as a guide.
Posted August 15, 2014
Forbes: The U.S. arm of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has been making news this week with a ‘new’ report claiming the Obama Administration drastically underestimated carbon emissions of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The report seeks to make the case as to why the final portion of the Keystone pipeline system should not be built.
As tantalizing as the report sounds, supporters of the pipeline have been quick to point out the report is actually a recycled 2013 SEI report which the State Department took into account, and largely dismissed.