Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted May 28, 2020
When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo talks about building new railroad tunnels under the Hudson River, new subways and airports – as he did Wednesday after a White House meeting with President Trump – he hits the right infrastructure notes – urgency on critical public needs, forming partnerships, getting bureaucracies to move quicker and so on.
Unfortunately, the governor’s bullishness on infrastructure doesn’t extend to natural gas pipelines. Just the opposite. Cuomo and his administration seem to have blocked pipeline projects at every turn – underscoring the need for revisions to the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). I’ll explain.
Posted May 26, 2020
A deadly pandemic and crushed economies are bad ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Surprisingly, some environmentalists agree with us on that.
We offer these points in the wake of a new study showing a 17% drop in global carbon dioxide emissions in early April – as world economies were being shuttered to slow the spread of COVID-19 – perhaps to head off those who might be tempted to call a crippling pandemic and reversing two decades of economic growth good climate policy.
Not many folks would say such a thing out loud, because that 17% decrease wasn’t free. Not when you consider the horrifying loss of life and financial devastation that has impacted so many: jobs that might not come back, disposable income that can’t be replaced, businesses that are struggling or have gone under, manufacturing idled. And there’s more: surgeries and other health care put off or canceled, rising levels of depression and a palpable grimness across society.
Posted May 12, 2020
Americans everywhere should be concerned about a federal judge’s decision in Montana that could significantly delay the safe and timely construction of new natural gas and oil pipelines across the country.
In a ruling Monday, U.S. District Judge Brian Morris excluded only the “construction of new oil and gas pipelines” from the Nationwide Permit 12 program (NWP 12). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers uses NWP 12 to authorize a number of utility/infrastructure construction and maintenance projects crossing certain streams and wetlands where there is minimal effect on the environment. …
Nationwide Permits are used for projects deemed necessary for the public interest and that have minimal adverse environmental impacts. To prohibit new natural gas and oil projects from utilizing NWP 12 is arbitrary and actually could make it harder to protect the environment.
Posted May 12, 2020
We’ve highlighted the way many Americans and different business sectors, including ours, have helped with relief efforts during the COVID-19 crisis (see here). We’ve also said that natural gas and oil will be leading players as our economy and communities recover.
We’re especially grateful for people on the front lines of the pandemic – doctors, nurses, hospital staffs, first responders, grocery store workers and others who are out there in public spaces every day. API’s new video, “Good Energy,” is our way of saying thanks for what they’re doing to help the rest of us through the crisis and a sign of our industry's commitment to keep supporting them.
Posted May 8, 2020
Some anti-industry voices – apparently not regular readers of this blog – probably missed Monday’s post discussing the strong link between the economy and energy from natural gas and oil.
Not surprisingly, these are the folks arguing that the current coronavirus-associated market downturn surely means the end is near for U.S. oil. Some have cheered the challenges industry faces, with one tweeting that natural gas and oil jobs (good-paying ones, I’ll add) belong in history’s rubbish bin, comparing them to two of the most odious occupations of the past. Well, no one’s going to confuse social media with a friendly game of bean bag, right?
The trouble with these arguments is they’re grounded purely in ideology and neglect that economic, energy, human progress and development go hand-in-hand. As noted in the earlier post, data and history indicate that while the U.S. natural gas and oil industry is working through significant COVID-19 challenges right now – along with a number of other business and industrial sectors – it is poised to power economic recovery as personal driving and commercial traffic increase (fuels), as businesses reopen (electricity) and as manufacturers ramp up operations (power/feedstocks).
Posted May 5, 2020
News reports of a “flotilla” of oil tankers from Saudi Arabia, sailing to the U.S. with more than 40 million barrels of crude oil in their holds for delivery this month, has many Americans questioning why the U.S. – the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer – imports any oil when oversupply associated with the government response to COVID-19 has a number of U.S. operators hurting financially.
Some think President Trump should send the oil fleet home or impose import tariffs. It’s a new chapter in an old debate over why the U.S. imports oil when our domestic production is among the globe’s leaders. In the case of this imported Saudi oil, the answer has much to do with the supply needs of the U.S. refining system.
Posted May 4, 2020
As some U.S. states and communities begin reopening, the COVID-19 threat to public health continues. Our industry stands ready to support safe and thoughtful plans to restart the economy and begin the national recovery from this historic pandemic.
When that recovery kicks in, it will be powered largely by natural gas and oil, here at home and around the globe – in the sense that recovery will mean increased personal driving, commercial transportation and air travel will require more fuels; reopening businesses will need more electricity; and manufacturers will require additional power and supplies of feedstocks.
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 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 ...
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.