Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted February 9, 2015
Let’s hope public hearings on the Obama administration’s draft offshore oil and natural gas leasing program – starting this week – help spark serious discussion of how the nation’s offshore energy reserves will be managed in the near future. Needed is greater public awareness of just how limited the administration’s approach is, reflected in a draft plan that simply doesn’t go far enough.
We say public awareness because the administration has been able to foster the perception that it favors more oil and natural gas development and energy infrastructure when, in fact, its policies have done little to support that development (did somebody mention the Keystone XL pipeline?).
In the case of offshore energy development, it’s important to move the administration toward a plan that actually increases access to reserves. The draft plan for offshore leasing for the 2017-2022 time period is less than meets the eye, offering just a single Atlantic lease sale in 2021 as part of the five-year program, which Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said could be withdrawn as the leasing plan process evolves. That’s not a balanced approach, that’s an attempt to manage the perceptions game.
Posted September 11, 2014
Interesting energy discussion this week from New Orleans at a town hall event hosted by The Atlantic – where the focus was on infrastructure, jobs and economic growth, and the need for sensible, bipartisan energy policymaking.
There was no better place for such a conversation and certainly no better time – with our ongoing domestic energy revolution lifting the United States to global energy superpower status: No. 1 in natural gas production and expected to be No. 1 in oil production next year. This development is helping drive the economy forward, creating jobs, opportunity and greater U.S. energy security. Indeed, energy’s national economic impact is seen in a new survey of the 30,000 businesses, in every state and the District of Columbia, that support domestic energy development.
Posted August 25, 2014
Worth reading: this presentation on the facts about offshore seismic surveying from the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in its August “Science Notes” newsletter. It’s prefaced by William Y. Brown, chief environmental officer for BOEM, who focuses on the public discussion that has followed the agency’s July announcement that it would allow safe seismic testing off portions of the Atlantic coast:
I wanted to take some time to clear up a few misperceptions about the bureau's decision and what it means. As a scientist who has spent a good part of my career working in non-governmental environmental organizations and in industry, I understand and appreciate advocacy. At the same time, I believe that everyone benefits by getting the facts right.
Posted August 4, 2014
Members of the U.S. House and Senate are weighing in with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on the administration’s new five-year oil and natural gas leasing program, and the message is fairly simple: open more of the outer continental shelf (OCS) for exploration and development.
Interior has begun work on the new leasing program that will cover 2017 to 2022. The plan is critical to offshore development because it lists areas where the federal government could hold auctions for oil and natural gas drilling leases. It lets energy companies know where to concentrate research efforts that guide bids on specific lease blocks. Currently, 87 percent of the offshore area under federal control is closed to development.
Posted July 30, 2014
The quest to encourage better behavior from Russia continues. President Obama and the European Union this week announced new sanctions to protest Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, measures that focus on Russia’s energy, arms and finance sectors. The president:
“Today … the United States is imposing new sanctions in key sectors of the Russian economy: energy, arms, and finance. We’re blocking the exports of specific goods and technologies to the Russian energy sector. We’re expanding our sanctions to more Russian banks and defense companies. And we’re formally suspending credit that encourages exports to Russia and financing for economic development projects in Russia. At the same time, the European Union is joining us in imposing major sanctions on Russia – its most significant and wide-ranging sanctions to date.”
Meanwhile, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Europe needs to stand up to Russia, which will be easier to do if Europe diversifies its energy supplies:
“They need to understand they must stand up to [Russian President] Vladimir Putin. The reluctance has to do with European dependence on energy from Russia.”
Laudable sentiments and goals, but America can do more than impose targeted and inherently limited sanctions. The U.S. can do more than talk. America can do more to provide effective help for her friends and to diminish the influence of adversaries. Through energy, American energy.
Posted June 16, 2014
FT.com – Despite jitters over Iraq, the price of oil is at its most stable since the early 1970s, as a huge increase in US oil production offsets massive disruptions to supply from places such as Libya, according to BP.
Christof Rühl, group chief economist, said the world had seen a cumulative 3m barrels a day of supply disruption since the start of the 2011 Arab uprising but that had been “cancelled out” by a similar extra amount of US production.
“There has been an almost perfect match between outages in north Africa and elsewhere and US production growth,” he said. The equilibrium had created an “eerie quiet” in global oil markets.
Posted May 16, 2014
Industry’s commitment to enhancing the safety to offshore energy development in the four years since the Macondo incident was reflected in a half-day program on prevention and response sponsored by the Center for Offshore Safety(COS) at last week’s Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston.
The COS hosted two panel discussions – one focused on developing effective safety systems, and a second that centered on the actions, processes and leadership needed to build strong safety cultures.
Posted May 8, 2014
At the heart of the 2014 International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC) in Savannah, Ga., is the exhibitors’ hall where the latest equipment, technologies and services – for spill prevention, preparedness, response and restoration – are on display. This is cutting-edge technology and know-how that’s key to industry’s environmental commitment and sustaining energy development.
The conference hall echoes with conversation. Aisle after aisle is stocked with dozens of display booths featuring the latest in skimmers, scoopers, soakers, detectors, boom manufacturers, deployment equipment, containment receptacles, pumps, amphibious tractor/crawlers and consulting services – including one outfit, Exponent, whose display table giveaway is a light gray, palm-sized squeezable tension/anxiety reducer shaped like a brain. Gray matter. And there’s more, much more.
Posted March 19, 2014
This week’s central Gulf of Mexico lease auction, which saw oil and natural gas companies pledge more than $850 million in winning amounts, certainly helps support the United States’ status as an energy superpower. Developing more of our own oil and natural gas – and this week’s auction is a big step toward production – makes our country more energy secure, creates jobs and boosts the U.S. in global energy marketplace.
The potential benefits from future energy production from this week’s auctioned leases – jobs, economic growth and revenue for government – also suggest a couple of “what ifs”: What if the federal government included the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in its next five-year leasing plan, the first step toward development in those areas? What if the U.S. opened more of the eastern Gulf to exploration and development?
Posted February 27, 2014
The federal government has released its environmental review on the potential impacts of seismic surveying on the Atlantic outer continental shelf (OCS) – testing that’s key to future oil and natural gas development off the U.S. coast, from Delaware to central Florida. That development could significantly add to domestic energy production, create jobs and stimulate economic growth and strengthen America’s energy security.
By permitting seismic surveying in the Atlantic and including Atlantic lease sales in the federal government’s next five-year leasing plan, we could see major benefits, according to a study by Quest Offshore Resources.