Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted February 7, 2014
Big news from the Commerce Department this week is that U.S. exports rose to a new high in 2013 and imports dropped to their lowest level since 2009 for the smallest U.S. trade deficit since 2009 – thanks largely to reduced oil imports due to growing domestic production and record exports of products made from petroleum. The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports:
A booming domestic energy industry is largely responsible for the turnaround. Not adjusted for inflation, the value of petroleum exports—a category that includes gasoline, kerosene, lubricants, solvents and other products—reached a full-year peak in 2013. Petroleum imports, by value, were the lowest since 2010 and the volume of crude-oil imports, at 2.8 billion barrels, were the lowest since 1995.
Bloomberg reports the U.S. trade gap narrowed to $471.5 billion last year from $534.7 billion in 2012, with the trade balance on petroleum products shrinking to 20.2 percent, the biggest decline in four years.
Posted February 7, 2014
The Shale Factor in U.S. National Security
Reuters (Dobriansky, Richardson and Warner): The boom in domestic shale oil and gas production has increased U.S. prosperity and economic competitiveness. But the potential for this to enhance our national security remains largely unrealized.
The shale surge has boosted production by 50 percent for oil and 20 percent for gas over the last five years. Yet our political leaders are only just beginning to explore how it can help further national strategic interests.
We led a major study at the Center for a New American Security in the last year, bringing together a nonpartisan panel to examine national security implications of the unconventional energy boom. We decided that outdated idealization of “energy independence” is preventing the administration and Congress from focusing on current energy vulnerabilities and figuring out how Washington should secure our economic and security interests.
Though the United States now imports less oil than it has for more than a dozen years, we should not distance ourselves from international oil markets by pursuing full energy self-sufficiency. The best way to advance energy security is to remain engaged internationally with major energy players.
Read more: http://reut.rs/1iyeOys
Posted January 27, 2014
Free America’s Energy Future: Drop Washington’s Counterproductive Oil and Natural Gas Ban
Forbes (Doug Bandow): For years people have been told to expect a dismal energy future. But because of rapid free market innovation, Americans now can look forward to a future of energy abundance. The U.S. could even become a leading exporter—if Washington gets out of the way.
Successive presidents and Congresses imposed controls, approved subsidies, created bureaucracies, and issued proclamations. The most common commitment was to achieve “energy independence.” But President Ronald Reagan set the stage for today’s energy advances by unilaterally eliminating oil price controls and pushing Congress to drop natural gas price and use restrictions.
His successors, however, have regressed back to expensive social engineering. George W. Bush declared war on the common light bulb. Barack Obama poured billions into the coffers of well-connected alternative energy firms, several of which, such as Solyndra, have gone bankrupt. And everyone continued to support the authoritarian Gulf kleptocracies, led by Saudi Arabia, to ensure access to imported oil.
Yet an energy revolution is underway. Observed Mark P. Mills, an Adjunct Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, “The game-changing technologies that have emerged involve hydrocarbons: natural gas, oil, and coal.” Major advances have been made in locating and extracting resources—such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—and operating in more distant and hostile environments.
Read more: http://onforb.es/1f7kRXN
Posted January 27, 2014
With the State of the Union address scheduled tomorrow night, let’s look at how policy goals in President Obama’s past annual speeches to Congress fit with oil and natural gas development. It turns out the fit is good – very good.
For example, in the 2010 State of the Union the president called jobs his No. 1 priority and said American business would always be the “true engine of job creation.” He also applauded the improving health of the retirement funds supporting the future hopes of so many Americans. Oil and natural gas is playing a key role with both.
Posted January 27, 2014
Indications are that President Obama’s State of the Union message tomorrow night will key in on making 2014 a “year of action” to create jobs and grow the economy, which he addressed earlier this month in one of his weekly radio addresses:
“… we’ve got to keep our economy growing, and make sure more Americans have the opportunity to share in that growth. We’ve got to keep creating jobs that offer new opportunity, and make sure those jobs offer the wages and benefits that let you rebuild some security. … This will be a year of action. I’ll keep doing everything I can to create new jobs and new opportunities for American families – with Congress, on my own, and with everyone willing to play their part.”
America’s oil and natural industry is ready to play a part in an action agenda that helps advance a number of the president’s goals, including job creation, economic growth, income inequality, environmental protection and energy security.
Posted January 23, 2014
What The Captain & Tennille Teach Us About Energy Policy
Forbes: Love apparently didn’t keep the ’70s pop duo Captain & Tennille together.Toni Tennille has filed for divorce from Daryl Dragon after 39 years of marriage. Just as the pair’s most famous standard now rings false, so does our 1970′s notion of energy security. For the past 40 years, U.S. energy policy has been married to the idea of scarcity. Following the oil embargoes of the 1970s, we built policies, from export bans to ethanol mandates, based on the idea that we would forever be at the mercy of other oil-producing nations.
The hydraulic fracturing boom, however, has changed all that. North America is undergoing an energy renaissance. Domestic crude oil production has reached parity with imports, and the International Energy Agency predicts the U.S. may become the world’s largest energy producer as early as next year. Yet our policies remain stuck in the dark ages of scarcity. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are resisting efforts to lift the 1970s-era ban on crude exports, citing issues of “energy security.”
As Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., told the Wall Street Journal: “If we overturn decades of law and send our oil to China and other markets, oil companies might make more money per barrel, but it will be American consumers and our national security that will pay the price.”
There’s a difference between ensuring our energy security and hoarding resources. With our newfound abundance, security comes through continued development of domestic reserves.
Read more: http://onforb.es/KMM7kV
Posted January 23, 2014
The U.S. energy revolution continues to reshape America’s energy outlook for the better. Thanks largely to shale energy reserves and advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2014 Annual Energy Outlook estimates domestic oil production will approach 9.6 million barrels per day by 2016 – a level of output not seen since 1970. EIA also projects that U.S. liquid fuels net imports as a share of consumption will decline to about 25 percent in 2016, down from a high of 60 percent in 2005. Both are great pieces of news.
Posted January 13, 2014
For Some Counties, Natural Gas Drilling Brings a Windfall
San Francisco Gate: PITTSBURGH (AP) — Even as some cities around the nation have voted to ban fracking for natural gas, other rural areas are quietly embracing the boom by allowing drilling under public parks and land and reaping millions in royalties.
In Washington County, just outside Pittsburgh, officials say the unexpected revenue stream is letting them make improvements that otherwise might not have been possible.
"Having that funding source has been a tremendous boom to us," said Lisa Cessna, the executive director of the local planning commission. The county has received about $10 million directly from drilling companies since 2007, and royalty payments are still coming in. That's helped build fishing piers, playgrounds and walking trails.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1eP9ofQ
Posted January 8, 2014
Two big stories have caught our attention the past two days. First, America’s trade deficit has sunk to a four-year low thanks to falling U.S. imports and increasing exports:
- America’s Trade Deficit is Shrinking. Thank Fracking. http://wapo.st/1cB2eMg
- U.S. Growth Picture Brightens as Exports Hit Record: http://on.wsj.com/K71y72
- Trade Deficit Falls to 4-Year Low: http://lat.ms/1cP1AYf
- How the Booming Oil Patch Helps U.S. Trade: http://buswk.co/1lBmfXY
And second, the growing number of voices calling for ending the decades-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports:
- Murkowski Joins Growing Chorus Calling to Lift Ban on Crude-Oil Exports: http://bit.ly/1eHRzze
- Is Free Trade in Energy Finally on the Horizon? http://bit.ly/1cZzu0W
- U.S. Chamber CEO – End Ban on Crude-Oil Exports: http://bit.ly/1dgBjZ3
Posted January 6, 2014
API hosts its annual State of American Energy event on Tuesday at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and the discussion will focus on choices our country can make to increase energy development, grow jobs and the economy and make us more secure in the world. The event will be streamed live beginning at noon. Join in the conversation on Twitter by using the #SOAE14 hashtag.
The event comes at a time when policymakers are considering important energy issues, some of them framed in recent posts by the National Journal and Politico. At the top of our list of key energy issues:
Keystone XL pipeline
Federal consideration of TransCanada’s application for a cross-border permit passed the five-year mark last fall – which means the Keystone XL could have been built twice in the time the pipeline has been held up by Washington.