Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted February 26, 2021
In introducing U.S. Rep. Debra Haaland – President Biden’s choice to be Interior Department secretary – to the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Congressman Don Young of Alaska, a staunch Republican, predicted this about his House colleague: “You’ll find out that she will listen to you.”
Given the political polarization in Washington, that’s pretty significant – and hugely important in building a bipartisan approach to energy, infrastructure and other issues associated with national economic growth, security and the environment.
The natural gas and oil industry welcomes the opportunity – if Rep. Haaland is confirmed by the full Senate – to work with her as her department manages millions of acres of federal lands and waters that are key to our country’s energy present and future.
Posted February 25, 2021
The natural gas and oil industry shares the ambition of President Biden and Congress to accelerate economic recovery for all Americans. As policymakers consider the nation’s energy security and opportunities for future job creation, it is important not to overlook our critical energy infrastructure.
That reality came into stark focus last week, when winter storms and surging energy demand caused power outages across Texas and other parts of the U.S. Millions of residents were without electricity, water and heat amid frigid temperatures. The treacherous conditions served as a reminder that an all-of-the-above approach to energy along with durable infrastructure are essential to powering life in America without interruption.
When it comes to heating homes, fueling cars or simply keeping the lights on, America’s extensive pipeline network ensures widespread access to affordable, reliable fuels. But we cannot stop there.
Posted February 24, 2021
It’s possible we could be headed for a shortfall in global oil supply as soon as next year – pretty remarkable considering where oil demand was last spring, with economies slowing under the weight of the pandemic.
Based on projected rising demand, the natural production decline from existing wells and decreases in drilling activity and industry investment – especially in the U.S. – the world’s oil needs could outpace production in 2022. An undersupply potentially could put upward pressure on costs, impacting consumers, manufacturers and, generally, any process that utilizes oil.
Posted February 23, 2021
American Petroleum Institute (API) recently announced the first three participants in its new higher education initiative which makes all 700+ API standards accessible, free of charge, to students at accredited Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).
Prairie View A&M University, Southern University and A&M College and Grambling University are the program’s first participants and as we mark Black History Month – celebrating diversity and the contributions of Black Americans – this news is especially timely.
API’s new program is a natural follow-on to last October’s Facebook conversation between Dr. Benjamin Chavis, National Newspaper Publishers Association president and CEO, and Mike Sommers, API President and CEO, in which they discussed career opportunities for African Americans in the natural gas and oil industry.
Posted February 18, 2021
More than 4 million Texas homes and businesses have been without electricity this week as an Arctic air mass left the state coping with temperatures hovering around zero. Electricity and natural gas use spiked and rolling blackouts were ordered as energy systems experienced what the Webber Energy Group’s Joshua Rhodes called a “black swan event” that taxed all parts of those systems at the same time.
I spoke with Dustin Meyer, API vice president of Natural Gas Markets, to find out what happened in Texas, to understand the conditions that left the nation’s No. 1 energy state struggling for power and heat and what resources could help prevent this from happening again.
Bottom line points: Texas’ difficulties represent a failure of the grid across the board, with all generation technologies falling short of expectations; as in California last summer, events in Texas underscore the need for a diverse energy supply and smart planning to support the health of the U.S. power grid; natural gas, unique among energy sources in supplying needed attributes that ensure grid reliability, is and will remain a key in that diverse mix; and natural gas has carried most of the energy load in Texas this week, and without its contributions the energy picture would have been even worse. Expanded infrastructure would help make natural gas systems more resilient.
Posted February 18, 2021
As oil prices rallied this past week, headlines suggested that oil demand recovery is expected to pick up speed (subscription required) later this year. However, API’s latest Monthly Statistical Report, based on January data, suggests that U.S. oil markets already kicked off 2021 with a remarkable month:
Total U.S. petroleum demand returned to within 1.2% of its level from January 2020 despite the pandemic; refining and petrochemical demand for other oils – naphtha, gasoil, propane/propylene reached a record-high level (6.5 million barrels per day, mb/d) and 33.1% share of total U.S. petroleum demand; and the lowest U.S. crude oil imports for January since 1992 propelled U.S. petroleum net exports.
Consider this: For all of the economic pain and dislocation caused by the 2020 COVID-19 recession, U.S. petroleum demand returned to within a hair of its pre-COVID levels and well within the five-year range.
Posted February 16, 2021
Most people get riled up when energy costs rise, especially prices at the pump. It’s understandable; energy represented 6.5% of household expenditures in 2019, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. Yet, as we’ll see, energy policy choices can affect far more than just what you pay for a gallon of gasoline or your monthly electricity bill.
For example, imagine how you would feel if you learned that U.S. energy policies materially raised the cost of houses and vehicles, in addition to the fuel they require, the costs of which have been on the rise. Those two together plus energy represent more than half of a typical household’s expenditures.
Higher energy costs are a distinct possibility with the Biden administration’s decision to halt new federal natural gas and oil leasing, potentially reducing domestic production, as well as possible moves on the regulatory front and other actions that could limit drilling or hydraulic fracturing. These could put upward pressure on energy costs that then would ripple across various sectors since virtually everything has an energy component.
Posted February 12, 2021
America’s natural gas and oil industry is a reliable foundation for our country’s economic recovery and resurgence, as well as a key factor in helping the nation reach climate and environmental goals. In that context, it’s encouraging to hear President Biden’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Energy – former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm – express support for U.S. natural gas leadership and the opportunity to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions through liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.
The industry is committed to working with the Biden administration toward workable climate solutions, and natural gas-fueled power generation is key to a cleaner energy mix, at home and abroad.
Posted February 11, 2021
In the public debate over natural gas and oil pipelines, it’s often underappreciated how much infrastructure projects boost local economies and support “induced” jobs – those based on the spending of industry workers and associated suppliers and contractors. Losing these benefits is felt by all kinds of businesses and service sectors along the route of the canceled Keystone XL pipeline.
The industry shares President Biden’s goal of getting Americans back to work, and the U.S. can accelerate job creation by addressing the nation’s critical need for more energy infrastructure. Unfortunately, the decision to halt Keystone XL construction undermines the “Build Back Better” plan and hurts small communities and their residents.
Posted February 10, 2021
Natural gas and oil will remain central to meeting our nation’s energy needs well into the future. So says the nonpartisan U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its 2021 Annual Energy Outlook.
The analysis is critically important given the Biden administration’s apparent shift away from the previous administration’s focus on building American energy dominance through homegrown natural gas and oil – seen in the president’s executive order halting new federal leasing.
EIA’s forecast and the administration’s energy position are incompatible with each other, raising a simple question: If we aren’t allowed access to key federal natural gas and oil reserves, onshore and offshore, where will our energy supply come from?