Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted January 8, 2014
Two big stories have caught our attention the past two days. First, America’s trade deficit has sunk to a four-year low thanks to falling U.S. imports and increasing exports:
- America’s Trade Deficit is Shrinking. Thank Fracking. http://wapo.st/1cB2eMg
- U.S. Growth Picture Brightens as Exports Hit Record: http://on.wsj.com/K71y72
- Trade Deficit Falls to 4-Year Low: http://lat.ms/1cP1AYf
- How the Booming Oil Patch Helps U.S. Trade: http://buswk.co/1lBmfXY
And second, the growing number of voices calling for ending the decades-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports:
- Murkowski Joins Growing Chorus Calling to Lift Ban on Crude-Oil Exports: http://bit.ly/1eHRzze
- Is Free Trade in Energy Finally on the Horizon? http://bit.ly/1cZzu0W
- U.S. Chamber CEO – End Ban on Crude-Oil Exports: http://bit.ly/1dgBjZ3
Posted December 30, 2013
Vaclav Smil’s Graph of the Year: The Natural Gas Boom
Washington Post: "[There are] too many choices possible, but here is one epoch-making trend: as the post-2008 rise of hydraulic fracturing drove U.S. natural gas prices down and increased the supply (in 2013 the U.S. will be again the world’s largest natural gas producer) oil and gas prices, traditionally moving in tandem, have diverged significantly. History is being made."
Posted December 30, 2013
As 2013 nears its end, noting some of the year's most popular Energy Tomorrow Blog posts:
Jobs = Job 1
PwC’s latest detailing of the economic impacts of oil and natural gas activity ranked the highest in readership. And why not: It’s a great story. PwC found that in 2011, the last year for which complete data is available, the industry recorded these key numbers:
- 9.8 million full- and part-time jobs supported, directly and indirectly.
- $1.2 trillion added to the economy, accounting for 8 percent of the national total.
- Nearly $600 billion contributed in associated labor income – including wages, salaries, benefits and proprietors’ income.
Posted December 23, 2013
Every now and then we see items questioning the economic impact of domestic oil and natural gas development from a jobs standpoint. As we’ve pointed out, industry’s benefit to the country isn’t measured just in direct oil and natural gas employment. Its positive impact must be seen in jobs and economic activity that otherwise wouldn’t exist, as well as benefits to consumers. More supporting evidence:
Investment – A new API survey on drilling costs found that about $153.7 billion was invested in drilling in 2012, a 23.1 percent increase over 2011.
Posted December 23, 2013
State Already Taxes Oil in many Ways
San Francisco Chronicle (Catherine Reheis-Boyd): Tom Steyer, the San Francisco billionaire environmentalist, has launched a campaign to increase taxes on energy production in California. He thinks oil companies are allowed to "siphon California resources without providing any meaningful return to Californians."
Beginning an education campaign on inaccurate claims doesn't bode well for the quality of the educational experience.
To claim Californians receive no meaningful return for the oil we produce is puzzling. Oil companies in California generate $6 billion in tax revenues for state and local governments, according to an analysis by Purvin & Gertz in 2011. While it's true California does not have an oil severance tax per se, California taxes oil companies and oil production in a variety of other ways.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1kzQ4aP
Posted December 20, 2013
Merry Christmas, Texas, From Your Oil and Gas Industry
Forbes: “Texas has recovered 100 percent of the jobs lost during the recession and added 597,000 beyond the previous peak in August 2008.” – Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs
On Thursday, December 12, the Texas Comptroller’s Office released a report detailing the current state of the state’s budget. The report was titled “Tracking the Texas Economy – Key Texas Economic Indicators”. But given the content of the report, a better title might have been:
“Merry Christmas, Texas, From Your Oil and Natural Gas Industry”
According to the Comptroller, the state ended its 2012-2013 biennium with a surplus of more than $2.6 billion, almost three times the previously projected amount of $964 million. The reason why? Because the Texas oil and natural gas industry’s tax payments were more than $2 billion more than anticipated.
Read more: http://onforb.es/1i8lWU5
Posted December 19, 2013
Mexico’s Energy Reform Will Benefit U.S.
USA Today (Peter Schechter and Jason Marczak): Last Thursday, Mexico's Congress passed the final hurdle to approve amendments to its constitution that herald a deep, positive change for the country. With all the bad news coming out of most everywhere else in the world, it is a relief to see a part of the western world where politics remain constructive.
The energy reform proposal will bring dramatic advances to Mexico's energy market, allowing private investment in the country's oil and gas sector for the first time since former President Lázaro Cárdenas nationalized oil in 1938. The reform will have profound economic implications for Mexico and the international energy supply equation.
It is also a coup for President Enrique Peña Nieto,47, who successfully built a coalition with his main political rivals to pass the reform. In a move reminiscent of Nixon's trip to China, this youthful president of the same party that 75 years ago nationalized Mexico's natural resources accomplished a reform previously considered the third rail of Mexican politics. Indeed, the Peña Nieto administration is able to provide the United States and Europe with a Harvard Case Study on leadership, partnership and putting citizenship before partisanship.
Read more: http://usat.ly/19VwttE
Posted December 18, 2013
The U.S.’s Crude Oil Policy
Washington Post: The United States again is one of the world’s great energy powers. On Monday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected that American crude oil output will peak at nearly 10 million barrels per day by mid-decade, up from 6.5 million last year. Last month, the International Energy Agency figured that the United States would overtake Saudi Arabia as the top oil producer, at least for a time. Yet some politicians remain unwilling to let the country reap the full benefits of this boon.
For decades, the government has imposed restrictions on exporting domestically produced crude oil but not on refined petroleum products such as gasoline and diesel fuel. This arrangement seemed sensible; the country’s crude business wasn’t booming, but its refining industry was an economic powerhouse deeply embedded in world energy markets.
Now, however, new drilling techniques have resulted in a revitalization of U.S. crude production. But oil firms export only a tiny fraction of the roughly 8 million barrels they extract daily, even though the oil often isn’t the sort U.S. refineries are set up to process. Understandably, they’d like a wider market in which to sell.
Read more: http://wapo.st/18RWgmz
Posted December 13, 2013
Last week we posted on a new study showing tremendous economic and energy benefits to opening the U.S. Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to offshore oil and natural gas development. The folks at the National Ocean Industries Association have a video out that captures the study’s highlights in a little over a minute.
Posted December 12, 2013
Shale Gas a Boon to Public Health
Breaking Energy (Dana Bohan): You’ve probably heard that the United States is experiencing an unprecedented energy boom that is transforming our economy, enhancing our energy security, and creating a manufacturing renaissance — all thanks to hydraulic fracturing and the development of America’s massive oil and natural gas resources. But what you probably haven’t heard is that shale development has an added bonus: it is rapidly reducing emissions of all kinds, which translates to massive public health benefits.
A new report by University of California-Berkeley climate scientist Richard Muller puts the health benefits of natural gas in the spotlight, concluding that “air pollution can be mitigated by the development and utilization of shale gas,” and because of this, “environmentalists who oppose the development of shale gas and fracking are making a tragic mistake.”
Read more: http://bit.ly/1gt6PnI