Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted October 13, 2014
Detroit Free Press: Ground zero for America's "shale revolution" in gas and oil production, North Dakota is also the reigning title-holder for lowest unemployment among the 50 states.
There were more unfilled jobs in September than job applications within the state, where oil field workers can make six-figure salaries and even the fast-food restaurants dangle hiring bonuses of $300 or more. The state has been recruiting specifically from Michigan for workers of all stripes and skill levels — hoping to entice entire families to relocate and grow roots.
North Dakota's official 2.8% jobless rate in August is essentially full employment, allowing just about anyone who wants a job to get one. At the same time, Michigan's rate of 7.4% was stuck above the 6.1% national average. (The national rate was 5.9% in September.)
North Dakota's roaring economy has been the envy of state governors and, for proponents of fracking, a shining success story for how an energy boom can produce a job boom, even for workers in professions that aren't directly related to extracting natural gas and oil.
Posted October 9, 2014
Columbus Dispatch: Consumers are starting to catch a serious break for a change on energy costs.
Gasoline prices in central Ohio are at their lowest level in nearly four years, while the outlook for home-heating costs this winter is better than a year ago.
“There’s definitely more money in my pocket,” said Kathy Bury, 58, of Blacklick, in eastern Franklin County.
She tends to buy gasoline $20 at a time. At current prices, that’s three-fourths of a tank, which is much more than a month ago, a contrast that “makes me happy,” she said.
Posted September 29, 2014
Washington Post (Robert J. Samuelson): One of the economy’s good-news stories is the oil boom, a derivative of the natural gas boom. When the drilling techniques used to tap vast new reservoirs of natural gas were applied to oil, they yielded similarly astounding results. Since 2008, U.S. oil production has increased from 5 million barrels a day (mbd) to 8.3 mbd in 2014. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says it could go to 9.6 mbd by 2019.
By all logic, we should be working to sustain the boom. We aren’t, and therein lies a classic example of how good policy is held hostage to bad politics and public relations. What would promote continued exploration is a lifting of the current U.S. ban on exporting crude oil. Let producers sell into the world market. But that seems (wrongly) an unjustified giveaway to industry. The public perceptions are atrocious.
Posted September 22, 2014
Washington Examiner op-ed (Karen Harbert): America's economic recovery is being fueled by energy. Increased natural gas production is at the center of our energy revolution, creating new opportunities at home and abroad.
Not long ago, conventional wisdom was that America’s natural gas production would decline over time. Terminals were planned and built in anticipation of the need to import natural gas from overseas. Now, these facilities are either being converted to export terminals or are idle.
Obviously, things have changed — and for the better. The combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling made accessing unconventional oil and gas much easier, safer, and cost effective. More and more formations were discovered, and now, natural gas extracted from shale makes up over one-third of total U.S. natural gas production. Over time, this trend will continue to increase to about half of our natural gas production by 2030.
Posted September 19, 2014
Posted September 12, 2014
NY Post (Editorial): Despite the years of stalling from Gov. Cuomo and the state Legislature, fracking has still managed to deliver real dividends for New York. Thanks to fracking, the Buffalo Bills are staying put.
The two main reasons the NFL franchise won’t be moving are as follows:
First, Terry Pegula this week won the bidding for the team. Pegula owns professional hockey’s Buffalo Sabres — and thus was seen as the most committed of the bidders to keeping the Bills in their home of 55 years.
Second, the cash the self-made billionaire and his wife used to buy the team (and to invest in Buffalo) comes largely from the fortune he made in fracking.
He’s not the only one profiting. As The New York Times reported this week, the fracking revolution has set off a boom in nearby Ohio, with benefits rippling through the Buckeye State’s economy.
Posted September 9, 2014
"The more the US exports crude oil, the greater decline in gasoline prices," the study from The Brookings Institution's Energy Security Initiative claimed. "As counterintuitive as it may seem, lifting the ban actually lowers gasoline prices by increasing the total amount of crude supply, albeit by only a modest amount."
Brookings' finding are nearly identical to those of a May study from energy consultancy IHS which concluded that free trade of crude would cause US gasoline prices to fall 8-12 cents/gal due to the close link between gasoline and world oil prices.
Like IHS, the Brookings study claimed the impact of crude exports on gasoline prices dulls over time, falling from a 9-12 cent/gal drop in 2015 to 0-10 cents/gal by 2025.
Posted August 28, 2014
Fuel Fix Blog: The Marcellus region is now the biggest natural gas shale play in the world, and there’s still about $90 billion to be made by tapping the area’s reserves, according to a study by energy analyst group Wood Mackenzie.
The Marcellus, which stretches from New York to West Virginia, produced about 15.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in August, about 38 percent of total U.S. natural gas production for the month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The agency doesn’t expect the boom to taper off anytime soon, and several of the biggest companies are cashing in.
Wood Mackenzie predicted that the top 20 operators in the Marcellus will earn nearly $86 billion over the life of the play after the costs of reaching the reserves. Among the 20 largest operators are Fort Worth-based Range Resources Corp., Pittsburgh’s EQT Corp., Houston’s Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. and Denver-based Antero Resources.
For comparison, Wood Mackenzie estimated that there’s about $118 billion to be made by extracting the resources in North Dakota’s Bakken region — but most production there is higher-priced oil compared to the natural gas dominant in the Marcellus.
Posted August 18, 2014
Albuquerque Journal (Former Sen. Pete Domenici): America has been handed a great gift, the gift of technological breakthroughs like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing for oils and natural gas.
This gift, if we handle it properly, has the potential not only to free our nation from being hostage to other nations, but to allow Europe and other regions to free themselves from the tyranny of dependence on Russian sources of oil and gas.
Think how much differently our allies in Europe would behave in this time of crisis if they had the infrastructure, and the access, to handle natural gas and oil from America, Canada and Mexico.
New Mexico has played an important, I would say critical, role in this potential geopolitical and economic revolution.
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.