Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted October 9, 2014
Columbus Dispatch: Consumers are starting to catch a serious break for a change on energy costs.
Gasoline prices in central Ohio are at their lowest level in nearly four years, while the outlook for home-heating costs this winter is better than a year ago.
“There’s definitely more money in my pocket,” said Kathy Bury, 58, of Blacklick, in eastern Franklin County.
She tends to buy gasoline $20 at a time. At current prices, that’s three-fourths of a tank, which is much more than a month ago, a contrast that “makes me happy,” she said.
Posted October 6, 2014
We’ve posted a number of times on the merits of U.S. energy exports, because whether the subject is exporting crude oil or natural gas, there are compelling economic and energy reasons to lift restrictions on America’s ability to be a major player in global markets. While those restrictions remain, America and Americans lose.
A number of studies have said that energy exports will benefit our economy and stimulate more domestic production – here, here and here on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and here and here on crude oil. A new report from Columbia University’s Center for Global Energy Policy added that LNG exports could help strengthen the United States’ foreign policy hand.
Thanks to abundant oil and natural gas reserves, advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling and investments by a robust industry sector, the U.S. is the world’s No. 1 producer of natural gas and is about to become No. 1 in oil output (subscription required). Yet, because of self-imposed and outdated (in the case of the crude oil) export restrictions, the U.S. isn’t harnessing its energy potential as it could and should.
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 October 1, 2014
The Washington Post: Is a four-year college degree worth it? Generally yes, but the results vary quite a bit across majors — and can even vary widely within majors.
That’s the takeaway from new research by Brad Hershbein and Melissa Kearney at The Hamilton Project. The authors analyzed Census Bureau data to find out which college majors earned the most and the least. Topping the list are the engineering fields, to no one’s surprise. Some of the least-earning majors are related to education, theater and art. Over a lifetime, the median expected earnings for a drama or theater arts major is lower than that of someone with a two-year associate’s degree.
But the report found that regardless of major, “median earnings of bachelor’s degree graduates are higher than median earnings of high school graduates for all 80 majors studied. This is true at career entry, mid-career and end of career,” the authors write.
Posted September 30, 2014
Good LNG news yesterday: Dominion’s Cove Point LNG export terminal received federal approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). More from The Hill:
Dominion Resources Inc. will be allowed to liquefy and export up to 5.75 million metric tons of natural gas per year from its existing Cove Point compressor station on the Chesapeake Bay.
The decision follows a ruling in March by the Energy Department that the terminal may export gas to countries with or without a United States free trade agreement.
Dominion plans to have the $3.8 billion terminal up and running by June 2017. New construction would be on the same footprint as the existing site, the company said.
“We are pleased to receive this final approval that allows us to start constructing this important project that offers significant economic, environmental and geopolitical benefits,” Diane Leopold, president of Dominion Energy, said in a statement.
“Dominion is dedicated to constructing a safe, secure, environmentally compatible and reliable export facility.”
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 September 11, 2014
Oil & Gas Journal: The US Department of Energy approved Cameron Energy LLC and Carib Energy LLC’s requests for authorization to export LNG to countries that do not have a free-trade agreement with the US. Both applicants had completed reviews required under the National Environmental Policy Act, DOE said.
It gave the Cameron facility in Cameron Parish, La., permission to export LNG up to an equivalent of 1.7 bcfd of gas for 20 years. Carib Energy, a Crowley Maritime Corp. subsidiary, received approval to export up to an equivalent 0.04 bcfd for 20 years from its proposed Martin County, Fla., facility in International Standardization Organization approved containers, DOE said on Sept. 10.
The decision marked the last regulatory hurdle for the Cameron LNG facility and cleared the way for execution of the largest capital project in the history of its sponsor, San Diego-based Sempra Energy, Sempra Chair Debra L. Reed said.
“This landmark project will create thousands of jobs and economic benefits for Louisiana and the US for decades to come, while delivering natural gas to America's trading partners in Europe and Asia,” she said.
Posted September 2, 2014
Reuters reports that Washington is hearing from more allies who want the U.S. to lift its ban on crude oil exports, with South Korea and Mexico joining the European Union in pressing the case for U.S. oil. Reuters:
South Korean President Park Geun-hye told a visiting U.S. delegation of lawmakers on the House of Representatives energy committee on Aug. 11 that tapping into the gusher of ultra-light, sweet crude emerging from places like Texas and North Dakota was a priority, the lawmakers said. One of South Korea's leading refiners has opened discussions with the government in Seoul over how to encourage Washington to open the taps, three sources in South Korea with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Mexico is also eagerly awaiting word from the U.S. Department of Commerce on possible shipments and the EU wants U.S. oil and natural gas exports covered by a proposed trade agreement with Washington, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
Posted August 20, 2014
Offshore producers say safety precautions have improved dramatically since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and argue no areas should be ruled out as the Interior Department considers offshore drilling sites through 2022.
“Decisions on areas to include in the 2017-2022 [outer continental shelf] leasing program will have impacts well into the future,” a coalition of 11 industry groups wrote in comments filed to Interior. “Therefore, we believe that BOEM should fully consider all areas for inclusion in the program and keep as many areas as feasible in the draft proposed program.”
Posted August 8, 2014
Penn Live (Brian Hollister): I was retired at age 49. After service in the military and a career as an Electronic Quality Engineer, I was pleased to be working independently at what I enjoy most, small construction projects. I was living comfortably while doing work for friends and community members.
But then came the economic collapse of 2008, and like so many Americans, my fortune - quite literally - changed. Overnight I lost much of what I'd saved for my future and I needed to return to work. It's a familiar story. After time away, the job market I found was quite different from the one I'd left behind.