Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted December 24, 2014
The gift that is American energy is seen in some key numbers: domestic crude oil production reaching more than 9 million barrels per day last month, the highest level in more than two decades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA); total U.S. net imports of energy as a share of energy consumption falling to their lowest level in nearly 30 years during the first six months of this year; gasoline prices dropping to an average of $2.47 per gallon last week, their lowest point since May 2009, according to the Lundberg Survey Inc.
The first two numbers might not fully register with a lot of Americans. We’ll come back to them. The last one, gasoline prices, does so loudly.
Retail gasoline prices fell after crude oil prices dropped for the fourth straight week – a product of weaker-than-expected global demand and increasing production, which EIA says will save American households $550 next year, Bloomberg News reports. Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey to Bloomberg:
“It is a dramatic boon to fuel consumers. (Gasoline) is a modest portion of our giant gross domestic product and yet it does have a pervasive and festive benefit to motorists.”
During this season of gift-giving and receiving, Americans should give thanks for the gifts of plentiful domestic oil and natural gas, modern technologies to harness them and an industry robust and innovative enough to bring the two together, resulting in surging, home-grown production. Indeed, the dramatic increase in U.S. oil production is the key addition to global supply that’s putting downward pressure on the cost of crude, the No. 1 factor in pump prices.
Posted December 18, 2014
Some interesting perspective on New York’s decision to ban hydraulic fracturing – from neighboring Pennsylvania, where safe fracking has lifted the state economy while directly benefiting cities and towns all across the commonwealth.
Jeffrey Sheridan, press secretary for Governor-elect Tom Wolf’s transition team (to the Philadelphia Business Journal):
“Governor-elect Wolf opposes a ban, and he will work hard to make sure the process is safe. … Pennsylvania's natural resources should help the commonwealth become an energy leader, including renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as a magnet for investment and job creation. Governor-elect Wolf's priority is to ensure that Pennsylvania is an energy leader with all Pennsylvanians sharing in the prosperity.”
Pennsylvanians are indeed sharing in prosperity that’s being generated by shale energy development, via responsible hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling: More than $2.1 billion in state and local taxes paid by industry, more than $630 million distributed to communities since 2012 – including more than $224 million in 2014. Plus billions in royalties paid by operators to private landowners.
Posted December 17, 2014
Posted December 9, 2014
New research by the University of Texas shows what other studies have shown: methane emissions from natural gas production are lower than previously estimated. The UT study found that emissions represent just 0.38 percent of production – about 10 percent lower than a 2013 study by the same research team.
The UT study checked two sources of methane emissions in natural gas production: processes to clear wells of accumulated liquids to increase production, called liquid unloadings; and pneumatic controller devices that open and close valves.
The study found that just 19 percent of pneumatic devices accounted for 95 percent of emissions from that equipment, and that just 20 percent of wells with unloading emissions that vent to the atmosphere accounted for 65 percent to 85 percent of those emissions. David Allen, the study’s principal investigator:
“To put this in perspective, over the past several decades, 10 percent of the cars on the road have been responsible for the majority of automotive exhaust pollution. Similarly, a small group of sources within these two categories are responsible for the vast majority of pneumatic and unloading emissions at natural gas production sites.”
The results suggest that technologies and practices already in use by industry – voluntary efforts and those to comply with federal green completions rules that become standard in January – are working to reduce methane leaks.
Posted December 4, 2014
National Journal: World oil producers have put oil prices into a free fall, refusing to pare back global supplies in the hopes that low prices will derail the fracking-backed production boom in the U.S. and preserve OPEC's power over world energy markets.
But global analysts are skeptical that the move will work.
The basic reason: Prices remain high enough to keep pumping. "Looking out there, it seems like there's a huge amount of oil that can be produced at $60, $70 per barrel," said Michael Lynch, president of consulting firm Strategic Energy and Economic Research, referring to the prices for Brent crude oil, a global reference point.
Posted December 2, 2014
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s recent announcement – that he plans to lift the state’s three-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, possibly clearing the way for future natural gas development – is potentially good news for the state, its citizens and America’s broader energy picture.
A new report by the state’s Department of the Environment and the Department of Natural Resources details some of the possible benefits:Garrett County in western Maryland could gain as many as 2,425 new jobs while realizing $3.6 million in tax revenues and $13.5 million in severance tax revenues.Neighboring Allegany County could see as many as 908 new jobs, $1.8 million in tax revenues and $2.3 million in severance tax revenues over 10 years. “Royalty payments to the owners and lessors of mineral rights could provide significant income,” the report says.
Significantly, the department concludes what a number of other states have found and are demonstrating – that advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to develop natural gas and oil from shale and other tight-rock formations can be conducted safely and efficiently.
Posted December 1, 2014
There’s a new global energy order – with the United States at the hub. That’s the assessment in a number of articles following last week’s meeting of oil-exporting countries.
The benefits to America are manifold. The U.S. as global energy’s new center of gravity means economic strength here at home through jobs, consumer benefits and greater energy security, and the opportunity to project positive American values abroad – by impacting global markets as discussed above and by helping friends overseas through energy exports. All result from America’s energy revolution, built on safe development of oil and natural gas reserves from shale and other tight-rock with advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
Posted November 27, 2014
Happy Thanksgiving everybody.
When it comes to energy there’s much for which Americans can give thanks.
We have plentiful and accessible reserves of oil and natural gas that fuel healthy, mobile, modern lifestyles.
We enjoy safe and secure crude oil imports from Canada, our neighbor and ally and No. 1 source of imported oil.
Our country is served by a vibrant, modern industry – one that’s second to none in the use of safe, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, offshore development and environmental awareness.
America keeps running thanks to a vast pipeline network and the world’s biggest, most-efficient refineries. And there’s more.
Posted November 26, 2014
The New York Times has an editorial urging Washington to regulate emissions of methane – no surprise as “The Gray Lady” has to uphold her “green” bonafides. But methane as an “overlooked” greenhouse gas, as the editorial’s headline states? Hardly.
While the Times may have just discovered methane, industry has been working to reduce emissions – and is succeeding, at a rate that casts doubt on the need for a new federal regulatory layer.
Posted November 21, 2014
Credit the U.S. Forest Service for adopting a revised plan for the George Washington National Forest that will allow safe and responsible energy development using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
As others said of the plan, science won out in the sense that hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling can be conducted safely while protecting the forest itself as well as the watershed within it.