Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted April 27, 2020
This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act, and while the energy and transportation sectors currently face historic challenges, this environmental milestone is an important reminder that our nation has made significant progress in reducing emissions since 1970. Under the Clean Air Act, we’ve seen the development of cleaner fuels and engine efficiencies that have dramatically improved air quality.
America’s natural gas and oil industry is part of that progress. We’re committed to protecting the environment and improving air quality, while continuing to meet the world’s energy needs. This is an industry of problem solvers – scientists, skilled laborers, small business owners and manufacturers – who have researched operating impacts and monitored environmental performance for decades, contributing to industry-led innovations that have enabled a healthier and more sustainable future.
Posted April 23, 2020
While the current decline in crude oil demand and market uncertainty present significant challenges, America’s natural gas and oil producers – especially those using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – are resilient and remain financially viable, supported by the world’s need for energy.
Contrary to some narratives, our industry is poised to fuel renewed growth once the U.S. and other nations get past the COVID-19 crisis. Natural gas and oil have and will again power modern economic expansion.
Posted April 23, 2020
While the natural gas and oil industry focuses on challenges from the historic drop in oil demand due to the impacts of COVID-19, keep an eye on proposals that offer the best support for this industry and, in turn, the U.S. economy and American consumers.
One idea among many – including addressing storage issues and ensuring access to capital – is to look to China as a potential buyer of U.S. energy. Makes sense: In an oversupplied global market, China appears to be a buyer. What’s more, in the “Phase 1” trade deal announced in January, China agreed to buy U.S. crude and liquefied natural gas (LNG), among other energy products.
Today, API sent a letter to the U.S. Commerce and Energy departments and the U.S. Trade Representative to suggest that some good might come from following up with China to buy U.S. energy. The letter notes that U.S. energy exports to targeted markets are essential to help with oversupply and storage issues here at home.
Posted April 22, 2020
Earth Day 2020 finds the world in unprecedented circumstances. Despite the once-in-a-lifetime challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, the natural gas and oil industry’s commitment to protect workers, communities and the environment remains fundamental to what we do, every day. …
As American energy workers power through a pandemic to provide reliable energy to the hospitals and families and others who need it most, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day provides us with the opportunity to recognize the ongoing role our industry plays in lowering U.S. emissions, protecting our land and wildlife and supporting coastal resilience across the nation – all while producing the reliable, affordable, cleaner energy American families need.
Posted April 21, 2020
Experienced industry hands say they’ve never seen anything like Monday’s trading on May futures contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude oil (WTI), which closed in negative territory.
While the natural gas and oil industry certainly isn’t alone in weathering the COVID-19 crisis, our impacts probably are more visible than most other sectors, underscored by Monday’s negative trading on oil futures. Three things to know ...
John D. Siciliano
Posted April 20, 2020
Today is the 10th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. A decade later, offshore energy development has never been safer, largely because of industry leadership in developing new technologies and creating a proactive safety management culture. This is critically important because the offshore accounts for 15% of U.S. oil production. Innovations in infrastructure and deep-sea equipment, plus rigorous safety training, safety protocols and the management tools to ensure those protocols are effective, reflect industry’s commitment to prevent such an incident, in which lives were lost, from happening again. In the Q&A that follows, Debra Phillips, API senior vice president for Global Industry Services, talks about what has been learned and industry’s responses – including hundreds of safety standards – to maximize offshore safety.
Posted April 16, 2020
Amid talk in Texas of production quotas (“proration”) and other extreme policies that have been suggested to address the oil demand downturn, API’s Monthly Statistical Report (MSR) shows that supply is responding in real time and that U.S. crude and refined storage capacities have some flexibility to adjust to the COVID-19 driven demand decrease – helping to alleviate the need for blanket policies or government interventions.
Notably, recent federal actions may help provide additional flexibility to the entire energy value chain. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy’s opening of crude oil storage capacity within the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to individual companies provides much-needed flexibility. Separately, Federal Reserve measures to either purchase corporate bonds or provide loans may perform additional triage for the energy industry and across the broader economy.
Posted April 14, 2020
Some points and data that help frame EPA’s proposed rule on National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM), which would retain all six of the current standards:Annual concentrations of PM2.5 have dropped 39% since 2000, and the U.S. has reduced emissions that can contribute to PM – including an 84% drop in sulfur dioxide (SO2), and a 54% decrease in nitrogen oxide (NOx) – since 2000. Fuel switching to clean natural gas in the power sector played an important role in those reductions. This progress can be helped by continued implementation of existing regulations.
Also: Retaining the current PM NAAQS is supported by the absence of compelling new evidence to lower the existing standards. Another NAAQS review was completed in 2015, and at that time an economic analysis indicated there could be a significant impact on the income of families and potential job losses if a lower NAAQS option was selected.
And: EPA’s proposal is consistent with the recommendation of the agency’s independent Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, which voted 5-1 to keep the current standards.
Posted April 13, 2020
We understand the oil demand-side circumstances that have led to calls for artificial market interventions such as tariffs and quotas – including a proposal before natural gas and oil regulators in Texas to mandate oil production cuts in the United States’ No. 1 oil-producing state.
Tough market conditions are no reason to implement bad remedies, such as the Texas proposal, which is problematic at best.
That’s not just an API view. Economics and history argue strongly against veering from the principle of markets dictating production levels, which is a core principle of our industry.
Posted April 8, 2020
Some thoughts on the preliminary data from the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) methane mapping project in the Permian Basin.
First, our industry welcomes new information that helps identify ways operators can further decrease methane emissions from production. The data must be verified (more on this below), and potentially could add to the knowledge base around the objective of reducing emissions.
Toward that objective, U.S. natural gas and oil companies launched The Environmental Partnership in 2017 with a focus on finding technologies, best practices and innovations that would capture as much methane as possible – since methane is the chief component in the natural gas our industry delivers to consumers. The Partnership, whose 75 members include 33 of the top 40 U.S. natural gas producers, is one of a number of industry-led initiatives that seek to further reduce methane emissions.