Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted December 15, 2014
Posted December 12, 2014
Pittsburgh Business Times: It's no secret that the shale energy boom is having an impact on the manufacturing sector, but according to a report released Thursday by PwC US, that impact may be bigger than expected.
As a result of the surge in shale gas production, the firm increased its forecast on cost savings and long-term employment gains in domestic manufacturing. According to the report, PwC estimates the "shale effect" could bring an annual cost savings of $22.3 billion by 2030, assuming a high natural gas recovery and low price scenario.
In terms of job creation, PwC estimates continued shale activity will create 930,000 shale gas driven manufacturing jobs by 2030 and 1.41 million by 2040.
Posted December 11, 2014
Breaking Energy: The EPA has long promoted cellulosic ethanol as the future of biofuels, but technical challenges have kept production far below targets. A recent rule change allows RNG, renewable natural gas, to qualify as cellulosic biofuel even though RNG is not cellulosic, but this helps EPA appear to be meeting their goals.
RNG growth has been dramatic and is the lowest carbon vehicle fuel available today. Perhaps the EPA should be promoting a Renewable Gas Standard instead of a Renewable Fuel Standard.
In 2013, production of cellulosic ethanol was effectively zero, even though the legislated target volume for 2013 was 1 billion gallons. In August 2013, EPA reduced the target to 6 million gallons, and again reduced the target retroactively to 810,185 gallons, less than 1 million. By all accounts this represents a complete failure of the cellulosic ethanol program. In July 2014 the EPA revised the cellulosic biofuel rules to allow RNG to be categorized as cellulosic.
Posted December 10, 2014
Reuters: A surge of oil and gas production will drive the U.S.economy 1 percent higher in 2040 than it would have otherwise grown, and energy exports will only stoke the expansion, an independent study on energy policy concluded on Tuesday.
New drilling technologies such as 'fracking' have unlocked an abundance of fossil fuels from shale deposits and the bounty will both jolt the economy and increase tax receipts, according to the study from the Congressional Budget Office.
Officials estimate "real (inflation-adjusted) GDP product will be about two-thirds of 1 percent higher in 2020 and about 1 percent higher in 2040 than it would have been without the development of shale resources," the report finds.
Posted December 9, 2014
The Hill: Methane leaks from natural gas drilling and production have fallen from the last estimate more than a year ago, according to a study sponsored by the industry and an environmental group.
Leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, now represent 0.38 percent of production volumes, according to the study released Tuesday.
That is 10 percent lower than what the same University of Texas research team found in September 2013. Methane is a greenhouse has about 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
“Study after study shows that industry-led efforts to reduce emissions through investments in new technologies and equipment are paying off,” Howard Feldman, director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, said in a statement.
“This latest study shows that methane emissions are a fraction of estimates from just a few years ago,” he said.
Posted December 8, 2014
Chicago Tribune Editorial: Last summer the Chicago City Council briefly considered an ordinance that would require gas stations in the city to sell a blend of fuel called E15, which has the potential to damage your car engine.
An E15 mandate is a patently bad idea. Changing pumps to sell a fuel blend of 15 percent ethanol — what you buy now has 10 percent — would be a big expense for gas stations. And E15 isn't safe for use in many older engines, from cars to trucks to boats to lawn mowers.
The idea seemed to die last summer. You might think the aldermen decided to put their constituents before the ethanol industry lobbyists who are pushing this fuel mandate. If you did, chalk that up to a triumph of hope over experience. This is, after all, the Chicago City Council.
Posted December 5, 2014
U.S. News: Proved reserves of crude and lease condensate in the U.S. rose 9.3 percent in 2013 as drillers showed they could extract more oil than previously thought from shale formations in places like Texas and North Dakota.
Reserves increased 3.1 billion barrels to 36.5 billion, the Energy Information Administration said today in its annual U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves report. It was the fifth year in a row that proved reserves increased. They also exceeded 36 billion barrels for the first time since 1975.
Proved reserves, or resources that can be recovered under existing economic and operating conditions, grew after U.S. oil output surged to the highest level in 31 years. Companies used horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to extract oil from underground shale rock layers that sat untouched a decade ago.
Posted December 1, 2014
U.S. News: After two decades changing diapers, nanny Shelly Alexander was ready for a change herself.
“I wanted a job I could use my brain for,” says Alexander, who lives in Spring Valley in northeast Pennsylvania. “I had a great job, but I had no retirement, I had no benefits. It was just time.”
She tried working for a local gym. She made meal plans for friends, flirting with the idea of becoming a dietitian. But at age 40, four years of college to get the degree she'd need for that job held little appeal. Plus, in the past decade, a far more lucrative opportunity had moved into the area: hydraulic fracturing.
Posted November 26, 2014
EIA Today in Energy Blog: U.S. retail regular-grade gasoline prices continue to decline, averaging $2.82 per gallon (gal) as of November 24. This average is 47 cents lower than a year ago, and the lowest price heading into a Thanksgiving holiday since 2009.
Traditionally, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most traveled times of the year in the United States, and much of that travel is by car. AAA estimates that during this Thanksgiving holiday weekend (November 26-30), 41.3 million people in the United States will travel more than 50 miles from home by car. This level of travel, 4.3% higher than the same time last year, is the highest number of travelers by car for Thanksgiving in seven years and the third highest since AAA began publishing the data in 2000.
Posted November 25, 2014
CNBC: America's unexpected transformation into the world's biggest natural gas producer and one of the globe's largest oil producers will give the U.S. more geopolitical clout on the world stage—including in key relationships with China, Russia and the Middle East.
By 2020, the U.S. is likely to be energy independent, along with Canada, its biggest import and export partner. Add to that a new boom expected from a reforming energy industry in Mexico, and North America will more than hold its own as a powerhouse in the global energy market.
The ripple, however, will be increasingly felt across the world. In the next several years, the European Union could be importing U.S. gas—and possibly even oil, if current laws change—lessening Russia's stranglehold on the European economy.