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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Pipeline Infrastructure as a Bipartisan Issue

infrastructure  pipelines  keystone xl  safe operations 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 9, 2021

As the White House considers where it stands on existing and future pipeline projects that bring the nation’s abundant domestic natural gas and oil – as well as products made from them – to where consumers need them, it should factor in that building and operating pipelines create and support tens of thousands of jobs, generate bipartisan support in Congress and are coveted by working men and women in America’s labor unions.

Exhibit A is last week’s U.S. Senate vote supporting the Keystone XL pipeline, the huge infrastructure project President Biden canceled his first day in office – and with it more than 1,000 union jobs. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana made support for the project bipartisan, and Manchin this week wrote a letter to the president asking him to reconsider his decision. ...

While Senate budget votes are largely symbolic, last week's vote has meaning going forward as the administration weighs other pipeline projects – projects that create jobs and help ensure the affordability and reliability of U.S. energy.

Exhibit B: Remarks by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in an Axios on HBO interview, critical of the president's Keystone XL cancellation.

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New API Energy Excellence Program Increases Industry Focus on Performance

API Energy Excellence  api standards program  safety standards  Environment 

Debra Phillips

Debra Phillips
Posted February 9, 2021

Setting a high bar for industry safety and operational performance isn’t new for API. For nearly a century, API has led the way in developing standards that establish how natural gas and oil and the products made from them will be safely produced and delivered to consumers – including the operations themselves, from equipment and machinery to transportation and distribution systems.

That’s the foundation for launching the new API Energy Excellence initiative – which specifies what top performance means for safety and environmental protection, as well as security and safeguarding communities. Importantly, it also sets the expectation that every API member applies the program’s 13 core elements to accelerate safety and environmental progress in the natural gas and oil industry.

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Reasons to Rethink a Rushed 'EV' Transition

electric vehicles  consumers  emission reductions 

API CEO Mike Sommers

Mike Sommers
Posted February 8, 2021

Across America, we want our roadways to be safer, cleaner and more accessible. Electric-vehicle (EV) technologies may appear to offer clear-cut solutions to modern challenges, but government action to limit Americans’ transportation choice could leave everyday drivers high and dry.

What Americans May Not Know: New cars, SUVs and pickup trucks that are powered by internal combustion engines have become much more efficient over the last few decades. This is in large part because the U.S. energy and automobile industries have invested in lightweight innovations to improve vehicle fuel efficiency while keeping passengers safe. Indeed, multiple studies show that, on a lifecycle basis, different automobile powertrains result in similar greenhouse gas emissions.

Relatedly, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studies have concluded that plastics and composite materials – which are primarily manufactured using petroleum feedstocks – can considerably reduce the weight of vehicles while meeting performance and safety requirements. And don’t forget today’s cars are about 99% cleaner for most tailpipe pollutants compared to vehicles in 1970.

To be clear, there is room on our roads for every type of powertrain – including EVs. But we should be careful to avoid government interventions that disrupt the marketplace, limit consumer choice and produce unintended results.

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The Ups, Downs and Ups of 2020 Show Resilience of U.S. LNG Exports

lng exports  china 

Dustin Meyer

Dustin Meyer
Posted February 5, 2021

We learned some important things about U.S.-exported liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the whiplashing of natural gas markets last year – from record highs at the start of the year to an unexpected drop by midyear and then back to record highs in 2020’s final months as demand came roaring back.

First, the extreme ups, downs and ups of 2020 underscored two of the characteristic strengths of the U.S. LNG export industry – its flexibility to changes in demand and its resiliency in the face of immense market challenges.

Second, the rapid rebound of U.S. LNG exports from deep troughs in the middle of the year emphatically answered questions raised by some about the long-term viability of natural gas demand.

Third, forecasts that the business case for U.S. LNG exports were permanently harmed, as price indices converged last year, now seem premature.

And fourth, the sharp decrease in demand from the pandemic looks like an outlier, not the new normal. 

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API Advances Safety and Environmental Performance through Global Collaboration

api standards program  safe operations  Environment 

Alexa Burr

Alexa Burr
Posted February 4, 2021

API’s new collaborative agreement with Azerbaijan’s national oil company is the latest in a series of partnerships to extend the safety and environmental benefits of our best-in-class industry standards globally.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) is the 10th MOU signed with an international institution in the past two years, extending the international network of government agencies and industry groups across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.

The result is a wider international focus and alignment on modern standards and operational technologies designed to help the natural gas and oil industry operate safely and sustainably– for workers, communities and the environment. 

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Millennial Employees Enthusiastic About the Future of Energy

workforce  state of american energy  innovation  technology 

Sam Winstel

Sam Winstel
Posted February 3, 2021

Young professionals in the natural gas and oil industry know how far the sector has come over the past few decades, in terms of energy expansion and environmental protection, and they see the endless possibilities for continued progress. These industry employees are confident that America’s energy future will be built on affordable, reliable and ever-cleaner fuels, and they hope to make lasting contributions in their communities.

The views of industry Millennials were highlighted at last month’s State of American Energy event, which featured a roundtable conversation with them. The seven young professionals are employed at companies representing a cross-section of the natural gas and oil industry, and their insights reflect the sector’s ongoing progress and the optimistic vision for a cost-effective, sustainable energy future.

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Lessons from Oklahoma's Government Intervention in Natural Gas Markets

oklahoma  natural gas production  revenues 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted February 3, 2021

This past year saw Oklahoma officials pursue a unique experiment – reducing how much natural gas production would be permitted from a well, called “natural gas production prorationing.” 

This may be about to change. The intervention has been costly for the state and suggests that governments should exercise more caution when considering actions that could affect markets.

Regulations to prevent wasting resources have been on the books for decades, and Texas has something similar. However, through its Corporation Commission, Oklahoma was the only state that imposed more stringent natural gas production limits last year. The state also increased its efforts to enforce those rules in response to market conditions associated with the COVID-19 recession – that is, strong supply, weak demand and low prices for natural gas.

It’s looking like a mistake.

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Consumer Choice Takes a Back Seat in Federal Push for Electric Vehicles

electric vehicles  consumers  white house  federal government 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 2, 2021

Tucked in one of the Biden administration’s executive orders on climate is a directive to use the federal government’s procurement powers to achieve or facilitate “clean and zero-emission vehicles for Federal, State, local, and Tribal government fleets, including vehicles of the United States Postal Service.” The order also requires that fleet electrification fit with the administration’s support for union jobs and conforms to its “Made in America” principles.

Read below for a look at the facts on challenges linked to the size and scope of the directive, as well as concern that U.S. consumers and taxpayers should have over issues including the ownership costs of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), battery disposal, infrastructure costs and the potential for increased reliance on automotive components made by non-U.S. based workers.

First, we’ll focus on a fundamental concern, which is the government, in a market-based economy, taking policy actions to push the market and consumers toward a specific policy outcome. Basically, it’s the government picking winners and losers for consumers.

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When Energy Policy is at Odds with Policy Goals

president  policy  anwr  conservation  jobs  federal leases 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 28, 2021

We’ve talked about the potential harm to economic recovery and U.S. energy security in the Biden administration’s early, misguided policy actions – killing the Keystone XL pipeline and halting new natural gas and oil leasing on federal lands and waters, the apparent first step toward banning federal development altogether.

Taking a closer look at the flurry of executive orders from the White House, the president’s energy actions also run counter to his own objectives, including these three:

Advancing “Made in America” concepts; conservation and environmental protection and improving the U.S. government’s relationships with Native Americans.

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Progress or Retreat

president  white house  oil imports  federal leases 

API CEO Mike Sommers

Mike Sommers
Posted January 28, 2021

Remarks at the United States Energy Association’s 17th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum:

A month into 2021, a divided America faces more challenges than anytime in modern history. But after a year of crisis, everyone can agree on something – we are ready for recovery.

So, we at API were encouraged to hear President Biden’s Inauguration Day call for unity. Even better, he issued that call at a time when Democrats and Republicans alike can rally around U.S. energy leadership. After all, the new president assumes power when America leads the world both in energy production and environmental performance. ...

Poised to build on this energy progress, API congratulated President Biden. Moments after he took the Oath of Office, we pledged to work with his administration when we can and oppose when we must. So, only eight days into his term, it is disappointing to report that we find ourselves in a posture of strong opposition. But we have no choice.

President Biden’s energy policy actions have completely undercut his message of unity and his mandate for economic recovery. Today I’m going to illustrate why. 

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