Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted June 4, 2015
A big event in Denver this week, highlighting the career opportunities for women in the oil and natural gas industry. “Women in Power” was attended by about 150 of Denver’s most influential female leaders and launched a larger Colorado initiative designed to help attract women to the industry and to retain them for life-long careers.
The Denver event was keynoted by Democratic strategist Celinda Lake and Republican strategist Linda DiVall, co-authors of a study released earlier this year that found the chief factor in increasing female representation in the oil and natural gas industry workforce is making them aware of the benefits of industry employment – including pay and security benefits and the chance for career advancement.
Posted May 18, 2015
Sometimes, amid the back and forth of discussions over energy policy, it’s helpful to talk about the real-world impacts of various policy choices.
Right now in Pennsylvania, a proposed natural gas severance tax that would supersede the state’s existing impact fee is being debated vigorous – chiefly because the current impact fee has been good for the commonwealth, very good.
It’s been so good that some question the wisdom of swapping the current system for a severance tax – especially given a recent study showing that the net effect likely would be less energy development, resulting in billions in economic losses and nearly 18,000 fewer jobs supported by 2025. We’ve likened it to the proverbial folly of killing the golden egg-laying goose.
So, if the current impact fee has been good for Pennsylvania, can we be more specific? Yes.
Posted May 11, 2015
Breaking Energy Opinion (Thorning): The Department of Energy recently approved an application from Alaska LNG to export natural gas. But there’s a catch: these exports can only go to nations where the United States has a free-trade agreement in place.
Never mind the fact that the top markets for LNG are India, China, and Japan, where we don’t have free-trade agreements set up.So essentially, the company is stuck alongside the 20-plus U.S. natural gas companies that are awaiting approval to sell abroad. Some have been waiting for nearly three years.
Despite the rapid expansion of the American energy sector, the American regulatory apparatus hasn’t kept pace with the industry’s growth. New exploration techniques like fracking have opened up giant swaths of underground energy reserves in places like North Dakota and Pennsylvania. And the operations established to dig up the embedded oil and natural gas have created hundreds of thousands of new jobs and driven billions in new economic activity.
But now, unnecessary regulations are stifling firms with outdated rules. Most notably, the federal approval process energy producers have to navigate in order to sell in foreign markets is extremely restrictive. It’s needlessly difficult for firms to ship surplus oil and gas to eager customers abroad.
Posted April 30, 2015
The Hill’s Congress Blog (Weinstein): In response to significantly lower oil and natural gas prices, America’s energy sector is retrenching rapidly. The drilling rig count has dropped by more than 50 percent over the past year, while companies large and small have announced sizeable layoffs and cuts in their capital budgets for 2015 and 2016. Nonetheless, several states, including Pennsylvania and Ohio, are considering imposing or hiking production taxes—called severance taxes—on oil and gas operators. These increases will be in neither the public’s nor the industry’s best interests.
Governors and state legislators should keep in mind that in today’s competitive environment, producers in their states are simply “price takers.” What this means is that any factor increasing the marginal cost of production, such as new or higher severance taxes, will put that state’s operators at a competitive disadvantage. The result will be lower production today and diminished investment in the future.
What’s more, as the experience of Texas and other energy producing states has demonstrated over the years, severance taxes are not dependable revenue sources because they rise and fall with changes in output and price. With prices for oil and natural gas expected to remain low for an extended period, their contribution to total state revenues is likely to be quite small and not enough to offset any sizeable cuts in other taxes. In addition, it’s never good public policy to increase the tax burden one specific industry as opposed to imposing or hiking taxes generally across all industries.
Posted April 24, 2015
To identify members of API’s second Emerging Leaders Program as “millennials” would really be oversimplifying things. Sure, they generally fit that age demographic, but they’re not being defined by such a generalized label. Rather, they’re defining themselves in the professional world – which surely is a reason their companies nominated them to participate in a program that focuses on future industry leadership, which included joining API at IHS Energy’s annual CERAWeek conference in Houston.
This year’s program centered on how modern politics impacts the oil and natural gas industry. Specifically, the curriculum examined the growing importance of public policy, advocacy and mobilization within daily industry operations and underscored the importance of political participation.
Still, much of the context for these discussions involves the career expectations and experiences of the emerging leader cohort – which in some ways reflect the aspirational trends of the larger generational grouping. Just don’t pigeon-hole them as “millennials.”
During our conversation at CERAWeek there was agreement that the oil and natural gas industry fits with younger career people (whatever you call them) who are adaptable, appropriately ambitious and invested in the notion of making a difference.
Posted April 23, 2015
Posted April 21, 2015
The theme of this year’s CERAWeek mega-conference in Houston is “Turning Point: Energy’s New World.” It is a new world, with the United States producing more energy from oil and natural gas – the lead fuels of the U.S. and the world’s economies – than any other country. Just a decade ago few could have imagined the possibilities.
Posted April 21, 2015
IHS CERAWeek, one of the world’s top energy conferences, is going on in Houston this week. Some news from Day 1
Posted April 9, 2015
Three zeroes stand out in the first annual performance report by the Center for Offshore Safety (COS), the oil and natural gas industry-led initiative to promote continuous offshore safety improvement following the 2010 Macondo incident: Zero fatalities, zero loss-of-well-control incidents and zero oil spills equal to or greater than 10,000 gallons in Gulf of Mexico operations.
Posted February 12, 2015
API President and CEO Jack Gerard spoke to students at Texas Southern University in Houston this week about America’s energy revolution and career opportunities in the industry. Highlights from the speech (as prepared for delivery):
Today, the United States is first in natural gas production, petroleum refining and soon to be the No. 1 producer of crude oil as early as this year, with some projecting we are already there. We have surpassed all expectations and achieved a level of domestic energy production that was unthinkable even five years ago. … North American energy production is expected to increase for many years to come and as a result (and) so are the number of jobs available within the industry.
As an example, with one change to U.S. energy policy, lifting the prohibition on crude exports, the oil and natural gas industry within five years could create up to 300,000 jobs, almost 41,000 of them right here in Texas. Already, this new era of energy abundance has not only set production and refining records, it has also added 600,000 jobs between 2009 and 2011 to the nation’s economy at a time when it was needed the most. …
It will be up to the next generation of Americans, your generation, to expand and maintain our nation’s energy abundance and global energy leadership. It is up to my generation to make sure that you have skills, knowledge and information needed to make the most of that opportunity.