Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted May 12, 2021
Since the Colonial Pipeline Company experienced a ransomware attack last Friday, the natural gas and oil industry has worked with government to bring a critical piece of infrastructure back online and use alternate methods of transportation to meet the nation’s energy demand. This is America’s largest fuel pipeline – spanning 5,500 miles from Texas to New Jersey – and normally delivers millions of gallons of gasoline, jet fuel and other petroleum products every day to consumers in the South and along the East Coast.
For now, industry stakeholders and energy experts are working with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in the Department of Transportation (DOT), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies to alleviate short-term supply disruptions.
Posted May 11, 2021
The cyber attack on the 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline that daily carries millions of gallons of fuel products from the Gulf Coast to New York and points in between, underscores some critically important points about the natural gas and oil industry – its resilience and agility in working to alleviate supply disruptions, the vital importance of investing in pipeline infrastructure for the economy and modern daily life, and the ongoing commitment by industry to protect itself and key assets from cyber criminals
Industry has worked and will continue to work with the Biden administration on actions to mitigate supply disruptions caused by the cyber attack. These include an hours-of-service exemption for those transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined products to 18 states, as well as a fuel waiver for states under EPA requirement to use reformulated gasoline (RFG) to be allowed to use conventional gasoline amid the disruption – helping fuel suppliers manage inventories until Colonial returns to normal operations.
Posted February 24, 2021
It’s possible we could be headed for a shortfall in global oil supply as soon as next year – pretty remarkable considering where oil demand was last spring, with economies slowing under the weight of the pandemic.
Based on projected rising demand, the natural production decline from existing wells and decreases in drilling activity and industry investment – especially in the U.S. – the world’s oil needs could outpace production in 2022. An undersupply potentially could put upward pressure on costs, impacting consumers, manufacturers and, generally, any process that utilizes oil.
Posted April 23, 2020
While the natural gas and oil industry focuses on challenges from the historic drop in oil demand due to the impacts of COVID-19, keep an eye on proposals that offer the best support for this industry and, in turn, the U.S. economy and American consumers.
One idea among many – including addressing storage issues and ensuring access to capital – is to look to China as a potential buyer of U.S. energy. Makes sense: In an oversupplied global market, China appears to be a buyer. What’s more, in the “Phase 1” trade deal announced in January, China agreed to buy U.S. crude and liquefied natural gas (LNG), among other energy products.
Today, API sent a letter to the U.S. Commerce and Energy departments and the U.S. Trade Representative to suggest that some good might come from following up with China to buy U.S. energy. The letter notes that U.S. energy exports to targeted markets are essential to help with oversupply and storage issues here at home.
Posted April 16, 2020
Amid talk in Texas of production quotas (“proration”) and other extreme policies that have been suggested to address the oil demand downturn, API’s Monthly Statistical Report (MSR) shows that supply is responding in real time and that U.S. crude and refined storage capacities have some flexibility to adjust to the COVID-19 driven demand decrease – helping to alleviate the need for blanket policies or government interventions.
Notably, recent federal actions may help provide additional flexibility to the entire energy value chain. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy’s opening of crude oil storage capacity within the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to individual companies provides much-needed flexibility. Separately, Federal Reserve measures to either purchase corporate bonds or provide loans may perform additional triage for the energy industry and across the broader economy.
Posted March 26, 2020
Supply networks for refined products – including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel – appear to be responding properly and flexibly to sudden and sharp declines for transportation fuel stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) and global efforts to slow its spread.
Market conditions can shift, yet API’s view at this point is that most refined products markets have continued to function well in keeping about a month’s worth of storage.
We gauge this in part by comparing recent inventory levels for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel with their ranges over the past five years. Although some products appear to have more available storage capacity than others, if needed, it also is apparent that the pace at which refiners produce fuels can provide additional adjustments which will affect demand for storage.
Posted March 20, 2020
As the world copes with a mounting health and economic crisis, America’s natural gas and oil industry remains focused on preserving the health and safety of its workers and delivering critical energy supplies to communities across the country. As an industry, we are committed to operating safely and reliably despite the unpredictable circumstances, implementing contingency plans that ensure the continuity of fuels to market.
These were points of emphasis by emergency preparedness experts at leading energy trade associations during a joint press conference this week that detailed industry readiness and response during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (listen here).
Posted March 12, 2020
Global oil markets have shifted dramatically in recent days and weeks, and the stakes are high for the United States energy revolution, retirement savings and the broader economy.
Let’s start with crude oil prices. Per Bloomberg, the per-barrel price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) on March 9 was about half of what it was on Dec. 31, falling to $31.13 from $61.06.
Posted January 27, 2020
In his Jan. 10 column, the Houston Chronicle’s Chris Tomlinson took some shots at API’s new Energy for Progress campaign, which I addressed in a letter to the Chronicle’s editor. There’s only so much you can say in the 250 words you’re allotted for an LTE, so I thought I’d tackle Tomlison’s criticisms in greater detail here – actually, the kind of back-and-forth we’re trying to spark in our campaign.
For starters, Chris – like some politicians – fell prey to a tired and inaccurate caricature of the industry and dedicated his column to questioning our industry’s intentions instead of dedicating ink to the actual objectives before modern society – addressing the growing challenge of climate change while also making sure Americans have the energy they need.
Posted September 16, 2019
An attack on a Saudi Arabian oil processing facility over the weekend has knocked out a significant part of Saudi production, at least temporarily, shaking oil markets. The precise amount and duration of the outage remains uncertain, and there are still unknowns about the attack that caused it, which in turn has inflated the risk premium on oil prices due to market fears about what may happen next within the region.
The market’s initial direction is clear, with Brent crude oil up more than $8 per barrel as of 3 p.m. Monday, per Bloomberg. Let’s break down what’s happened in context, recognizing that the U.S. energy revolution has fundamentally added to U.S. and global near-term deliverability of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids, generally helping stabilize the global market against supply disruptions.