Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted December 31, 2014
Business Day: For years, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pulled the strings set the price of oil and controlled the supply. After dictating the course of oil prices for more than 50 years, OPEC is finding its influence diminished.
Right now, OPEC represents about 40 percent of global daily production. The organization still has a say in what the energy market looks like. But for OPEC, oil can no longer be used as either a weapon or as a lever. There is simply too much production arising beyond the control of OPEC.
For 2015, US will emerge as dominant player. OPEC member countries are gradually losing the largest energy market in the world and the irony is that they will soon be competing for the markets that used to be theirs for the taking. Projections from recent happenings reveal that in 2015 the US will start dictating to the market. With the advent in 2015 of large US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the effect is even larger, and with it comes the hastening of OPEC’s decline.
Posted October 1, 2014
Earlier this month Oilprice.com’s Nick Cunningham wrote this piece explaining that the debate over exporting U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been won – citing the openness of the Obama administration and leading Democrats to exports. Cunningham writes:
In fact the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats have received little blowback for the LNG projects that have received approval. And with tacit or overt support from Democrats, the LNG issue has largely been won by export supporters.
Still, some export opponents try to gain traction despite the findings of a number of studies (NERA, ICF, Brookings) that project broad economic benefits to the United States from LNG exports, with minimal effect on domestic prices. Earlier this year NERA updated its 2012 study:
LNG exports provide net economic benefits in all the scenarios investigated, and the greater the level of exports, the greater the benefits. The market for LNG exports is self-limiting, in that little or no natural gas will be exported if the price of natural gas in the US increases much above current expectations. High levels of exports can be expected only if natural gas is plentiful and inexpensive enough to produce so that prices remain below current levels, even with high levels of exports. (Emphasis added)
The issue of domestic prices is important because export opponents have been using an apples-to-oranges argument trying to scare up unfounded concern about the domestic effects of exports, citing conditions in Australia’s natural gas market.
Posted September 23, 2014
New analysis from Columbia University says exporting U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) will increase global supply and ultimately help counter Russia’s attempts to leverage its natural gas customers in Europe and elsewhere.
Co-authors Jason Bordoff and Trevor Houser write that even before America starts exporting significant volumes of LNG, our domestic shale energy surge is having an effect abroad.
Posted August 8, 2014
The U.S. Commerce Department’s newest trade report released this week shows increased exports of crude oil and petroleum products were a major factor in shrinking the trade deficit in June to $41.5 billion, down from $44.7 billion in May.
That’s great news. Energy exports are helping build America’s economic strength globally while creating jobs and opportunity here at home. America is more secure as a result of our energy revolution that is bringing opportunities to engage world energy markets and harness U.S. energy for good. Allowing more U.S. oil and natural gas exports is the logical course to support and expand America’s global presence.
Posted May 20, 2014
Last week’s finding by federal regulators that a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporting project in southern Maryland would pose “no significant impact” on the environmental is great news for the local and state economy, as well as for the United States, when it comes to broader trade and economic benefits from exporting U.S. LNG. Let’s hope the commission quickly follows up to approve the $3.8 billion project at Cove Point, Md.
Diane Leopold, president of Dominion Energy, which owns the existing LNG import facility (left) where the export project is planned:
“This marks another important step forward in a project that has very significant economic benefits and helps two allied nations in their efforts to increase their energy security and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. … The Cove Point LNG facility has been in existence for nearly 40 years and this makes the most of existing facilities. This project will be built within the existing footprint and fence line of an industrial site. There is no need for additional pipelines, storage tanks or permanent piers, thus limiting its impact and making an environmental assessment appropriate.”
Posted April 18, 2014
While Maryland isn’t among the country’s leading producers of oil and natural gas, the industry’s employment and economic impact in the state is significant. That impact, as measured by a PwC study:
- 75,400 jobs supported in 2011 (most recent year for which comprehensive data is available), accounting for 2.2 percent of the state’s total employment.
- Nearly 18,000 direct oil and natural gas industry jobs
Posted March 21, 2014
The Huntsman Corporation’s Peter Huntsman has this op-ed in USA Today that invokes a poll in which people were asked to respond to these statements:
Some say that exporting American natural gas to other countries will increase economic growth, keep thousands employed, and help increase domestic production of natural gas. Others say that American natural gas should be used here at home, where it can lead to thousands of new manufacturing jobs, grow the entire American economy, and keep prices of natural gas affordable. Which comes closest to your view?
Actually, it’s a false choice, a little bit of opinion polling flim-flammery. We can have both – as careful, scholarly research (see here and here) has shown. We have ample natural gas reserves to supply the needs here at home as well as those of friendly overseas buyers.
Posted March 12, 2014
In a post last week we discussed the way the Ukrainian crisis is focusing a number of U.S. leaders on the potential foreign policy impacts of surging U.S. energy production. With its vast natural gas reserves, the U.S. could be a leader in the global market for liquefied natural gas (LNG), if we took the steps to make that happen – starting with government approval of permits to build LNG export terminals.
Unfortunately, that process is slow. Although the Energy Department has approved six applications since 2011, more than 20 still are pending. And the U.S. isn’t the only country eyeing the global LNG market. More than 60 non-U.S. LNG export projects are planned or under construction. In a number of ways, it’s a race to the rewards stemming from natural gas abundance.
Posted March 5, 2014
Politico reports (sub req'd) that the Energy Department plans to stick with its “case-by-case” approach to approving natural gas export projects – even as some policymakers say speeding up the process would send a strong signal that the United States is a leader in global energy markets, expanding its ability to broaden supply options and defuse energy-related standoffs like the one playing out between Russia and Ukraine.
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.