Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted December 11, 2015
Then there’s this from Alaska: Falling oil revenues have the governor in that energy-rich state asking his legislature to plug a $3.5 billion hole in the state budget by imposing a small income tax (Alaska hasn’t had one for 35 years), other tax hikes, budget cuts and a reduction in the annual dividend Alaskans get from the state’s Permanent Fund.
Now, it might not bother you much that Alaskans soon could be paying higher taxes. But there’s another story playing out in Alaska and other places that should trouble all Americans: Access to U.S. energy is being restricted – by policy and regulation – in ways that could imperil America’s energy revolution and the generational opportunities that are being created by that revolution.
Posted December 4, 2015
Part of the U.S. success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the significant drop in emissions of methane, the primary component in natural gas, from development operations. Since 2005, methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells have plummeted 79 percent – with technology and innovation allowing industry to capture more of a product that can be delivered to consumers. This has occurred even as U.S. natural gas production has steadily climbed, thanks to shale, safe fracking and horizontal drilling.
It’s a shining chapter in a success story that shows how free market forces have taken the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in this country. In turn, the U.S. is leading the world in reducing GHG emissions.
No matter. Despite these advances, EPA is proposing additional methane regulations on oil and gas wells and transmission. Unfortunately, more regulation could mean less – less fracking, less energy and, quite possibly, less progress in reducing emissions.
Posted December 2, 2015
A couple of important takeaways from this week’s Capitol Hill hearing on a proposed federal well control rule for offshore drilling:
First, offshore drilling is safer today than it has ever been – for the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and Pacific regions. In coordination with federal regulators, industry has improved the safety of offshore development – in terms of safety systems management, prevention and response – while advancing the nation’s energy security through continued offshore oil and natural gas production.
This is seen in the approximately 275 API exploration and production standards that include offshore operations, more than 100 of which have been incorporated into federal regulation.
Posted December 1, 2015
This week’s climate summit in Paris will be filled with talk of ways to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s an important discussion for sure, but it’s one that should focus on achievable, real-world initiatives. A couple of starting points for an action agenda:
The first is an acknowledgement – that the availability of safe, reliable energy is fundamental to lifting people – and entire nations – from poverty. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called energy the “the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability.” With the International Energy Agency telling us that more than a billion people around the world don’t have electricity, it would be a mistake for the Paris summit to do anything that impedes or blocks access to energy. The world needs more energy, not less.
The second point a realization by the summiteers that private markets, not command-and-control government interventions, offer the best avenue to advance climate objectives while growing energy supplies – progress without hamstringing economies and hindering individual opportunity.
Posted November 25, 2015
Posted November 16, 2015
According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), increased use of natural gas – part of the abundance produced by the American energy revolution – is a big reason monthly power sector CO2 emissions in this country were near a 27-year low earlier this year. And, the United States leads the world’s top economies in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from energy.
We say this to make the point that on the eve of Paris, the United States is achieving the kinds of emissions reductions everyone else is just talking about. We have results where others have only rhetoric. As the Obama administration prepares its envoys for Paris, it has a ready-made, real-world case study in place that it should be talking about at the summit.
Posted November 13, 2015
Ethanol producers want Secretary of State John Kerry to trumpet the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) at the big Paris climate conference later this month. Big Ethanol says the U.S. should highlight the RFS in Paris, not hide it – referring to the fact the RFS is missing from the Obama administration’s “intended nationally determined contribution” document that outlines what the U.S. would do under the next international climate agreement.
Maybe the reason for the omission is the number of studies showing that climate and environment are worse off because of the RFS.
Posted November 3, 2015
API assembled a great panel of election/campaign experts to discuss how Election 2016 is shaping up and which issues will be salient when Americans vote a year from now. As for predicting the key issues 12 months into the future, the experts said what honest experts say: Who knows for sure? Yet, Public Opinion Strategies’ Glen Bolger no doubt was in the ballpark:
“I don’t think any one issue is going to dominate the election. … You’re going to have a number of different issues debated: foreign policy and national security being up there, the economy and jobs … Energy certainly can play a role in that, just given that it is a component of jobs and the economy. It’s a component of our national security, it’s a component of our foreign policy. I think energy will be an issue, but the question is how big.”
Great point. Energy and advancing the right policies for American energy certainly run through a number of the things Americans say they care about most: jobs, a thriving economy and safety for themselves and their families. That’s what comes through the results of a new Harris Poll of 2,800 registered voters: energy, energy, energy.
Posted October 29, 2015
Lacking factual, substantial reasons for keeping the United States’ antiquated ban on crude oil exports, those who oppose letting U.S. crude reach the global marketplace are left to make a non-factual, unsubstantial case instead.
In a letter to the editor in the New York Times, the Sierra Club’s Michael Brune offers up a couple of scary fictions – in time for Halloween – to distract Americans from the stark, “off oil” agenda that Brune and many others advocate: a harsher, less healthy, less hospitable world minus the reliable, affordable fuels that are fundamental to modern living.
API President and CEO Jack Gerard recently called them out for the false choice that’s central to their advocacy:
“There is a vocal minority who believe that instead of growing our economy to lift people out of poverty we should reduce our current standard of living and cap our potential. We reject this notion and encourage policy makers to continue down the path we have shown to work, supplying abundant, affordable, and reliable energy to consumers while lowering our impact on the environment.”
Posted October 26, 2015
A couple of reactions to last week’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval of drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) – which we’ll link to a larger conversation about the Obama administration’s oil and natural gas policies.
First, it’s good that BLM has cleared the way for ConocoPhillips to move forward with a $900 million project that includes construction of an 11.8-acre drilling pad in the 23 million-acre NPR-A. The Greater Mooses Tooth Unit (GMT1) project could host up to 33 wells and could reach a monthly production peak of 30,000 barrels per day. America needs the energy, and producing oil from the vast reserve that was originally set aside for energy development almost a century ago is a welcome step. ConocoPhillips’ Natalie Lowman:
“It’s good news. We’re pleased they issued the permit and the right-of-way and now we’re seeking a funding decision.”
BLM approving this one drilling permit prompts another set of reactions, starting with: It’s about time. And: What about energy development in the rest of the oil reserve?