Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted August 15, 2014
Forbes: The U.S. arm of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has been making news this week with a ‘new’ report claiming the Obama Administration drastically underestimated carbon emissions of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The report seeks to make the case as to why the final portion of the Keystone pipeline system should not be built.
As tantalizing as the report sounds, supporters of the pipeline have been quick to point out the report is actually a recycled 2013 SEI report which the State Department took into account, and largely dismissed.
Posted August 13, 2014
Ever since the Keystone XL pipeline first started clearing environmental reviews by the U.S. State Department, opponents basically have been left with arguing that State missed one thing or another in an effort to drag out the federal review. Of course, the credibility of the tactic has suffered evaporation with each successful State review, now five in all.
That’s the context for the latest bid to undercut State’s thorough analysis – an analysis that claims that State underestimated Keystone XL’s emissions impact by failing to consider that the pipeline would increase supply and drive down global prices leading to increased demand (and emissions).
The economic foundation is suspect, as Alberta University Professor Andrew Leach writes in an article for MacLean’s, here.
Posted July 30, 2014
The Hill (Rick Manning): Domestic energy production on private or state lands has surged over the past seven years, and this is great news for America. Per barrel oil production has increased 400 percent to an estimated 400 barrels per day in the past six years in what are known as the big three oil fields: Bakken (North Dakota), Permian Basin and Eagle Ford (Texas).
The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that next year, the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's largest oil producer, and by 2035, the U.S. is projected to have finally achieved the long-promised goal of energy self-sufficiency.
Of course, President Obama has been crowing about this as one of his administration's achievements, which like many of his claims, is far from the truth, as energy production on federal lands has actually declined during his tenure in office.
But this story is not about the federal government's shortcomings in this quest, or even about the environmentalist regulatory attempts to stymie energy development. No, it is about what happens when profit drives very smart people to figure out new ways to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks, and what it means to you and me when they succeed.
Posted July 8, 2014
The Keystone XL Pipeline has been studied, and studied, and studied, in fact if the permit application were a person, it would have just graduated kindergarten. However, after nearly six years of studies which show positive benefits to our economy and energy security with no significant environmental impacts – politics are still trumping good policy.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement released by the State Department earlier this year found the project would deliver 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region to U.S. refineries, create 42,100 jobs during its construction phase and provide $3.4 billion in additional revenue to U.S. GDP.
Posted July 2, 2014
Oil and Gas Journal: Crude oil production in the US during April totaled 8.4 million b/d, with Texas and North Dakota accounting for 4 million b/d, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration's Petroleum Supply Monthly Report.
Texas production reached 3 million b/d for the first time since the late 1970s, more than doubling production in the past 3 years. North Dakota production, meanwhile, surpassed 1 million b/d for the first time in the state’s history, almost tripling its production over the same period.
Crude production volumes in North Dakota and Texas from April 2010 to April 2014 increased at average rates of 37%/year and 28%/year, respectively, compared with 2%/year average growth in the rest of the country.
During that period, North Dakota’s and Texas’s combined share of total US crude production rose to 48% from 26%, as the Gulf of Mexico’s crude production share declined to 17% from 27%.
Posted June 30, 2014
Washington Post Editorial: Quietly but wisely, the Commerce Department has decided to allow the first exports of U.S. crude oil since Congress imposed a ban on such sales (except to Canada) in the 1970s. To be sure, the agency’s ruling amounts to redefining crude in a way that applies only to a form of ultralight oil that U.S. refineries are ill-equipped to process. The executive branch couldn’t do much more than that to expand crude exports without congressional permission. Still, Commerce’s move is a step in the right direction because resuming oil sales abroad could help the U.S. economy reap the full fruits of the shale revolution that has propelled this country back into the top ranks of global oil and gas production.
The origins of the ban lie in the long-gone political and economic issues of the Nixon era. Specifically, the United States banned oil exports in response to the declining domestic production and Middle East supply shocks of that time, which, together with the then-existing system of U.S. price controls, made it seem rational to keep U.S.-produced oil at home rather than let it flow to the highest bidder on the world market. The world has changed dramatically since then; with U.S. production booming, this country is in a position to move the world market. Yet some still defend the export ban on the grounds that it holds down the price of crude to U.S. refineries and, by extension, the price of gasoline at U.S. pumps.
A new report by IHS Global explains why that thinking is outmoded.
Posted June 16, 2014
This week the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to vote on bipartisan legislation that would advance the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline – a $5.3 billion, privately financed infrastructure project that the U.S. State Department says would generate more than 42,000 jobs during its construction phase while contributing more than $3 billion to our economy.
Congress is acting because the administration has not – not in more than five years of review by the administration, during which the project has cleared five environmental reviews by the State Department. Congressional leadership on Keystone XL is about the administration’s lack of clear leadership on the Keystone XL.
As the vote approaches, API President and CEO Jack Gerard and Sean McGarvey, president of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, talked about the pipeline during a conference call. Both pointed to developments in Iraq and the ongoing standoff between Ukraine and Russia as reminders of how important it is for the United States to secure its energy future – and the significance of the Keystone XL in that equation.
Posted June 10, 2014
New York Times: DENVER — An impassioned national debate over the oil-production technique known as fracking is edging toward the ballot box in Colorado, opening an election-year rift between moderate, energy-friendly Democrats and environmentalists who want to rein in drilling or give local communities the power to outlaw it altogether.
If they make the ballot in November, an array of proposals will be among the first in the nation to ask a state’s voters to sharply limit energy development. Some measures would keep drilling as far as a half-mile from Colorado homes. Others would give individual communities the right to ban fracking.
The ballot measures reflect the anxieties that have accompanied a drilling boom across the West. As drilling sites are built closer to playgrounds and suburban homes in communities along Colorado’s northern plains, residents and environmental groups have called for more regulation and have pushed for moratoriums on drilling.
But in a bellwether state like Colorado, where views on drilling vary as much as the geography, the measures could ignite an all-out battle involving oil companies, business groups and conservationists that pulls in millions in outside money, sets off a rush of campaign ads and spawns lawsuits for years to come. That is why Gov. John W. Hickenlooper and other Democratic leaders are working feverishly on a compromise that would give communities more control of energy development in their backyards while keeping the fracking issue off the ballot.
Posted June 3, 2014
Reuters: Rising U.S. imports of crude oil from Canada's oil sands have not increased greenhouse gas emissions from the country's oil refineries because they have been offset by refining of cleaner domestic crudes, a report from a private sector think tank said on Monday.
The report, from industry consultants IHS CERA, comes as the Obama administration moves to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. power sector by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, under new rules aimed at reducing America's longstanding reliance on burning coal to generate electricity.
The oil sands sector has faced frequent criticism from environmentalists concerned about greenhouse gas emissions. U.S. imports of carbon-rich Canadian oil-sands crudes grew by 900,000 barrels per day to more than 2 million bpd between 2005 and 2012, according to the IHS CERA report.
It said they did not result in higher greenhouse-gas intensity from the energy sector, however, as other crudes imported from abroad were supplanted by so-called tight oil from domestic shale-oil deposits.
Posted May 16, 2014
Add the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) to the list of American working men and women who want President Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline for construction. The Washington Examiner reports that IBEW President Edwin Hill sent letters to a number of Democratic senators, urging the pipeline’s construction. The Examiner quotes from Hill’s letter:
“At a time when job creation should be a top priority, the KXL pipeline project will put Americans back to work and have ripple benefits throughout the economy. … From pipe manufactured in Arkansas, to pump motors assembled in Ohio and transformers built in Pennsylvania, workers from all over the United States will benefit from the project. … Although America is slowly recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression, unemployment rates remain high, especially in the construction industry.”
Americans in the construction trades look at the Keystone XL as more than a job – it’s a lifeline for people who’ve seen their work recover slowly from the recent recession.