Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted March 23, 2015
Washington Times op-ed (O’Keefe): Last month the White House submitted President Obama’s annual economic report to Congress. Nestled in the findings is a compelling case for lifting the country’s antiquated ban on natural gas exports.
“An increase in U.S. exports of natural gas, and the resulting price changes, would have a number of mostly beneficial effects,” the report states, for domestic employment, geopolitical security, our energy industry and the environment. The report ticks off numerous benefits — “create jobs in the short run,” “lower natural gas prices around the world,” “promote the use of cleaner energy abroad” — that make clear the question is not whether the United States should reconsider restrictions on natural gas exports, but when will policymakers step up to economic reality.
The value of lifting export restrictions on domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) is becoming glaringly apparent. The Obama administration’s latest report not only adds to the body of evidence indicating now is the time to act, it reaffirms that doing so aligns with the president’s priority of promoting clean, sustainable energy here at homeand abroad.
Posted February 24, 2015
Posted December 31, 2014
Business Day: For years, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pulled the strings set the price of oil and controlled the supply. After dictating the course of oil prices for more than 50 years, OPEC is finding its influence diminished.
Right now, OPEC represents about 40 percent of global daily production. The organization still has a say in what the energy market looks like. But for OPEC, oil can no longer be used as either a weapon or as a lever. There is simply too much production arising beyond the control of OPEC.
For 2015, US will emerge as dominant player. OPEC member countries are gradually losing the largest energy market in the world and the irony is that they will soon be competing for the markets that used to be theirs for the taking. Projections from recent happenings reveal that in 2015 the US will start dictating to the market. With the advent in 2015 of large US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the effect is even larger, and with it comes the hastening of OPEC’s decline.
Posted November 24, 2014
After decades of declining domestic oil production, the country is in the middle of an unexpected boom. Driven by new technology that reaches previously inaccessible reserves, production has soared by millions of barrels a day. This surge has been a key factor driving oil prices down.
So, should U.S. oil companies be allowed to sell that oil overseas?
Because of a restriction dating back to the oil scares of the 1970s, producers for the most part can’t export their oil. The export ban was part of a series of laws passed to ease supply concerns and prevent U.S. producers from skirting price controls by selling crude into the world market at higher prices.
Posted August 8, 2014
The U.S. Commerce Department’s newest trade report released this week shows increased exports of crude oil and petroleum products were a major factor in shrinking the trade deficit in June to $41.5 billion, down from $44.7 billion in May.
That’s great news. Energy exports are helping build America’s economic strength globally while creating jobs and opportunity here at home. America is more secure as a result of our energy revolution that is bringing opportunities to engage world energy markets and harness U.S. energy for good. Allowing more U.S. oil and natural gas exports is the logical course to support and expand America’s global presence.
Posted July 24, 2014
The New York Times (Steven Rattner): As a young reporter covering energy for The New York Times, I saw firsthand the distortions and inefficiencies caused by the web of regulations that followed the Arab oil embargo of 1973-74, and the resulting surge in gasoline prices.
So I shared in the frisson of excitement last month when the Commerce Department cleared two Texas companies to export an ultralight, processed form of oil called condensate. It seemed like a step toward relaxing the ban on the export of crude oil, the biggest stricture remaining from the ’70s energy crisis.
But then the Obama administration quickly insisted that the Commerce Department, in narrowing the definition of crude oil so that condensate could be exported, was not about to lift the ban more widely. “There has been no change to our policy on crude oil exports,” a White House spokesman said.
That’s unfortunate, because America’s renewed hydrocarbon boom could be even more robust if we eased outdated restrictions on shipping both crude oil and liquefied natural gas overseas.
Posted April 15, 2014
Posted April 9, 2014
Posted March 25, 2014
Because Lithuania has a front-row seat to the current Ukraine-Russia crisis, the appearance of the country’s energy minister at a Senate hearing on U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports was especially timely. Jaroslav Neverovič had a pretty simple message to the United States: We need U.S. natural gas.
Neverovič probably was the most anticipated of the witnesses at the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s hearing, the first led by Sen. Mary Landrieu, the panel’s new chairman. Neverovič:
“At present, we are completely – 100 percent – dependent upon single supplier of natural gas and, as a result, are forced to pay a political price for this vital energy resource. Lithuanian families and businesses pay 30 percent more for natural gas than citizens in other European countries. This is not just unfair. This is abuse of monopolist position.”
The minister said while Lithuania is taking steps to achieve energy independence, it needs help.
Posted March 21, 2014
To Americans used to thinking of energy in terms of the Middle East, the names of the world's top producers of natural gas might come as a surprise.
No. 1 is the United States. No. 2 is Russia. Together they stand as the giants of gas production. What separates them is that the U.S. consumes its gas, while Russia has become the world's largest exporter — a key reason why President Vladimir Putin felt confident that he could seize Crimea from Ukraine and get away with it. Russia supplies 30% of Europe's gas needs, making it hard for European leaders to muster the resolve to resist.
The good news is that the West can turn the tables on Putin, freeing Europe from its dependency and in the process making Russia pay dearly. That can't be done fast enough to neuter the current crisis, nor will it come cheaply. But if Putin believes his actions will drive Europe toward energy independence, he'll have to think twice. Deprived of its biggest market, Russia's fragile, energy-based economy would erode, along with its power and Putin's stratospheric popularity.