Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted March 21, 2014
The Huntsman Corporation’s Peter Huntsman has this op-ed in USA Today that invokes a poll in which people were asked to respond to these statements:
Some say that exporting American natural gas to other countries will increase economic growth, keep thousands employed, and help increase domestic production of natural gas. Others say that American natural gas should be used here at home, where it can lead to thousands of new manufacturing jobs, grow the entire American economy, and keep prices of natural gas affordable. Which comes closest to your view?
Actually, it’s a false choice, a little bit of opinion polling flim-flammery. We can have both – as careful, scholarly research (see here and here) has shown. We have ample natural gas reserves to supply the needs here at home as well as those of friendly overseas buyers.
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.
Posted March 14, 2014
More on the growing discussion of how North America’s energy renaissance – led by surging oil and natural gas production – affects U.S. energy and national security and gives our country the chance to positively impact global stability. A part of that conversation is the significant role the Keystone XL pipeline could play in securing our energy future, allowing our country to have greater influence abroad.
Posted March 13, 2014
With SPR Test, Obama Administration Warms Up to Flex U.S. Energy Muscle
Reuters (analysis): A rare U.S. test of its strategic oil reserves may be just coincidentally timed with the most serious stand-off with Russia in decades, but the underlying message of the move announced on Wednesday left little doubt: Prepare for the rise of a new global energy superpower.
The Energy Department said it would offer up to 5 million barrels of sour crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), with bids due in two days. Officials said the sale would ensure the reserves can still quickly deliver oil to refiners despite changing pipeline networks.
Posted March 12, 2014
In a post last week we discussed the way the Ukrainian crisis is focusing a number of U.S. leaders on the potential foreign policy impacts of surging U.S. energy production. With its vast natural gas reserves, the U.S. could be a leader in the global market for liquefied natural gas (LNG), if we took the steps to make that happen – starting with government approval of permits to build LNG export terminals.
Unfortunately, that process is slow. Although the Energy Department has approved six applications since 2011, more than 20 still are pending. And the U.S. isn’t the only country eyeing the global LNG market. More than 60 non-U.S. LNG export projects are planned or under construction. In a number of ways, it’s a race to the rewards stemming from natural gas abundance.
Posted March 5, 2014
Politico reports (sub req'd) that the Energy Department plans to stick with its “case-by-case” approach to approving natural gas export projects – even as some policymakers say speeding up the process would send a strong signal that the United States is a leader in global energy markets, expanding its ability to broaden supply options and defuse energy-related standoffs like the one playing out between Russia and Ukraine.
Posted February 28, 2014
U.S. Will Meet Energy Needs by 2020, Citi Researcher Says
Forbes: By the end of this decade, the United States will produce all the energy it needs, the head of commodities research for Citigroup said in Chicago Thursday.
Edward L. Morse, managing director and global head of commodities for Citi, said the gas and oil boom will combine with improved efficiency to make the U.S. a net-zero importer of energy by 2020.
“I think that the chances are close to 100 percent that the U.S. will be supplying 100 percent of its energy requirements for power generation and transportation,” Morse told about 100 people at a Fairmont Hotel gathering sponsored by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Posted February 24, 2014
Energy Trade is a Key Part of Overall U.S. Trade Flows
EIA Energy Today: Energy trade has long been a key component of overall U.S. trade flows. Recent developments in U.S. energy production, notably the rapid growth of tight oil and shale gas output, are leading to significant changes in the nation's energy trade flows. Another important factor is consumption trends, which reflect both increased efficiency of vehicles and other energy-using equipment, and structural changes in the economy. This article, which focuses on current energy trade in the context of overall trade flows, will be followed by several others in the coming days that consider the evolution of trade flows in major energy fuel categories since 2002.
As shown in the figure above, overall U.S. trade includes both goods and services but is dominated by goods. In 2013, as in other recent years, the United States was a net importer of goods and a net exporter of services. Energy accounted for 15% of gross U.S. goods imports in 2013, while energy exports, which have grown significantly in recent years, accounted for 7% of overall U.S. goods exports. Focusing on the net U.S. trade position, shown by the black line in the chart above, net energy imports account for nearly half of the total U.S. trade deficit in goods and services.
Posted February 21, 2014
Well-Being in America: Shale Gas Buys You Happiness
The Economist: Based on interviews with more than 178,000 people from all 50 states, the Well-Being Index offers an interesting glimpse of the physical and mental health of the nation. It also spotlights the country's winners and losers. The results divide regionally, with Midwestern and Western states earning nine of the ten best scores in 2013, while Southern states have eight of the ten lowest. Massachusetts has the highest rate of residents with health insurance (which may bode well for Obamacare). Colorado, meanwhile, nearly always has the lowest obesity rate.
Sitting pretty in first place now is North Dakota, which has displaced Hawaii as the state where people are most likely to be healthy and feel good about their life and work. North Dakota’s speedy climb to first place from 19 last year seems to have a lot to do with the shale-gas boom, which has buoyed the state with lots of new jobs and money. This bonanza has apparently trickled into South Dakota, which has elbowed aside Colorado to secure second place.
Posted February 19, 2014
The outlook for U.S. energy from shale and other tight-rock formations just keeps improving. Two new assessments underscore this.
First, a panel hosted this week by CSIS revisited the National Petroleum Council (NPC) report on U.S. unconventional natural gas issued in 2011 and concluded that new discoveries and technologies paint an even brighter picture than NPC did nearly three years ago.