Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted July 28, 2014
In a new update to its drilling productivity report from last week, the Energy Information Agency said North Dakota's Bakken and Texas' Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale are quietly generating more than a million barrels of oil per day each–comprising at least a third of total U.S. daily oil production. Shale oil drilling generated the equivalent of nearly 90 percent of the U.S.'s total energy needs in 2013, according to EIA figures.
Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan and a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, crunched the EIA's numbers even further. His analysis suggests the output of the combined three oil fields is actually exceeding 4 million bpd, which would make them the world's fifth largest oil producer by volume.
"In all of human history, there have only been ten oil fields in the world that have ever reached the one million barrel per day milestone," the economist wrote in a recent blog post. "Three of those ten are now active in the US–thanks to the advanced drilling techniques that started accessing oceans of shale oil in Texas and North Dakota about five years ago."
Posted July 24, 2014
Reading content produced by opponents of the oil and natural gas industry, you see a lot of distortion, misinformation, myth and falsehood. Yet, it would be hard to identify something as packed with baloney as the supporting arguments for an idea that’s being advanced by a pair of Chicago aldermen – mandating that all of the city’s self-service gas stations offer E15 fuel.
Backers of the soon-to-be-voted-on proposal have a website, www.cleartheairchicago.com, that’s basically a clearinghouse for corn ethanol industry sophistry, trumpeting E15 as the elixir of cleaner air, reduced oil imports and lower gasoline prices – taking advantage of the public’s earnestness for all three. Unfortunately, the promises they attach to E15 are like so much snake oil.
Over and over we’ve rebutted Big Ethanol’s E15 arguments – underlying the special interest’s work to prop up the flawed Renewable Fuel Standard’s mandates for ever-increasing ethanol use. A number of them are repeated to support the Chicago proposal: E15 is cleaner and cheaper than the E10 gasoline that’s the staple of the U.S. fuel supply. It’s acceptable for use in U.S. vehicles and is actually better for them than E10. E15, they claim, is about promoting consumer choice.
Posted June 23, 2014
So, how about Team USA’s performance in soccer’s World Cup!
The United States men’s national team is/are on the verge of something special down in Brazil – thanks to world-class skills, great coaching and superb fitness – cheered on by thousands of American fans.
Now, imagine for a minute what this World Cup would be like without fossil fuel energy. Think about all of those U.S. boosters, as well as fans from other countries, trying to travel to South America without the energy from fossil fuels. It wouldn't be pretty.
Posted June 20, 2014
Houston Chronicle: Oil, natural gas and coal have boosted living conditions around the globe, but policies to replace those fossil fuels "with inferior energy sources" could undermine those improvements, a former Texas environmental regulator argues.
In a 36-page paper - "Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case" - Kathleen Hartnett White, former chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, insists that access to oil, natural gas and coal are inextricably linked with prosperity and well-being.
Policies targeting heat-trapping greenhouse gases - including the Environmental Protection Agency's new plan for throttling carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants - overlook "the inestimable human benefits of fossil fuels," White says.
"Energy-dense, abundant, versatile, reliable, portable, and affordable, fossil fuels provide over 80 percent of the world's energy because they are superior to the current alternatives," White writes.
Posted June 17, 2014
A thought-provoking op-ed piece by the Manhattan Institute’s Robert Bryce in the Wall Street Journal last week (subscription required), in which he “does the math” on one group’s goal of reducing fossil fuel use 20-fold over the next few decades. It’s a must read if you fancy getting from Point A to Point B in a reasonable amount of time, warm houses in the winter, cool ones in the summer and other aspects of modern living supported by these fuel sources.
Global hydrocarbon consumption is now about 218 million barrels of oil equivalent energy a day, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, which includes 83 million barrels of oil as well as about 75 million barrels of oil equivalent from coal and about 60 million barrels of oil equivalent from natural gas. Reducing that by a factor of 20 would cut global hydrocarbon use to the energy equivalent of 11 million barrels of oil a day, roughly the amount of energy now consumed by India, where 400 million people lack access to electricity.
The math: The average person on Earth used about 1.3 gallons of oil-equivalent energy a day from hydrocarbons in 2012, Bryce writes, so a 20-fold decrease would mean allotting everyone 8 fluid ounces of oil-equivalent energy from hydrocarbons a day.
Posted June 17, 2014
Bloomberg: North America’s dominance of global exports of refined fuels will expand to unprecedented levels by 2019 as the shale revolution makes U.S. refineries more competitive, the International Energy Agency said.
The continent will become a “titan of unprecedented proportions” and its oil refineries will export about 3.5 million barrels a day by the end of the decade, the Paris-based adviser to 29 oil-consuming nations said in a report today. North America’s imports of crude will be 2.6 million.
“Less than ten years ago, the United States was the world’s largest importer of refined products,” the IEA said in its Medium-Term Oil Market Report, which forecasts energy-market trends. “Today it has become the world’s largest liquids producer, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia, as well as its largest product exporter.”
Posted October 11, 2013
Posted August 15, 2013
North Dakota blogger Rob Port comments on concerns voiced by the state’s mineral resources director: “It’s always been a hard sell to the public at large that North Dakota’s oil boom – the goose laying the golden eggs – isn’t a given. To ensure the boom is something more than a boom-and-bust, the state should be looking at simplifying the tax code.”
The Hill’s Energy & Environment Blog – EPA’s McCarthy: Responsible Natural Gas Production Key to Climate Strategy
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, speaking in Colorado: “Responsible development of natural gas is an important part of our work to curb climate change and support a robust clean energy market at home.”
Posted July 31, 2013
Oil and Gas Journal – Study: U.S. Unconventional Plays Will Help Reduce Imports from Abroad
According to a new Wood Mackenzie study, unconventional oil and natural gas plays will continue to drive US and Canadian production for years. The Bakken and Eagle Ford shale plays are expected to account for more than half of anticipated North America tight oil production volumes of more than 5 million barrels per day by 2019.
CNN Money – Ford to Offer F-150 That Runs on Natural Gas
Ford’s best-selling truck is set to roll out of factories in 2014 with a new option: the pickup can run on liquefied natural gas. The lower cost of natural gas – about the equivalent of $2.11 per gallon of gasoline – means that “customers will be able to save money within 24 to 36 months of ownership, even though they will have to pay nearly $10,000 more for the option.”
Posted July 30, 2013
The Energy Policy Research Foundation, Inc. (EPRINC) released a study last week highlighting the consequences of exceeding the blendwall:
“The current regulatory regime, if not reformed in some substantial manner, will likely spike gasoline prices in 2014, as federal mandates take the U.S. gasoline pool significantly above 10 percent ethanol by volume.”
The risk mentioned here isn’t coming as a surprise. We’ve described the potential consequences of the RFS and highlighted the real costs of the program here, here, and here. EPRINC’s study brings all of these problems into focus, underscoring the immediate consequences that could face consumers in 2014.