Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted February 14, 2015
Some time ago the Keystone XL pipeline debate stopped being a discussion of energy infrastructure and whether the privately financed project was in the national interest. Thank Keystone XL’s opponents, who detached the debate from fact and scientific analysis to better serve their purposes.
Keystone XL’s most ardent foes readily acknowledged as much. They said that for them the pipeline was a symbol to be used in pursuit of political power. As one anti-pipeline activist put it: “The goal is as much about organizing young people around a thing. But you have to have a thing.”
Symbolism over substance, politics over the greater public good? Too often that’s the way it’s played Inside The Beltway. But at some point political power needs to give way to actual power, and public policy should be grounded in our energy reality, not symbolism. It should be fact-based and consider the impacts on the daily lives of real people, not narrow ideological agendas.
Posted February 11, 2015
With federal officials holding one in a series of public hearings on the Obama administration’s draft offshore oil and natural gas leasing program today in Norfolk, Va., it’s worth underscoring the benefits that offshore energy could bring to the commonwealth.
These include 25,000 jobs by 2035, according to a study by Quest Offshore Resources, and nearly $1.9 billion for the state’s budget by 2035, with revenue sharing in place.
Posted February 9, 2015
Let’s hope public hearings on the Obama administration’s draft offshore oil and natural gas leasing program – starting this week – help spark serious discussion of how the nation’s offshore energy reserves will be managed in the near future. Needed is greater public awareness of just how limited the administration’s approach is, reflected in a draft plan that simply doesn’t go far enough.
We say public awareness because the administration has been able to foster the perception that it favors more oil and natural gas development and energy infrastructure when, in fact, its policies have done little to support that development (did somebody mention the Keystone XL pipeline?).
In the case of offshore energy development, it’s important to move the administration toward a plan that actually increases access to reserves. The draft plan for offshore leasing for the 2017-2022 time period is less than meets the eye, offering just a single Atlantic lease sale in 2021 as part of the five-year program, which Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said could be withdrawn as the leasing plan process evolves. That’s not a balanced approach, that’s an attempt to manage the perceptions game.
Posted February 2, 2015
Taking a look at the president’s new budget request for the Interior Department, we see the administration asking for $13.2 billion, an increase of nearly $1 billion over the enacted funding level for the current fiscal year.
Now take a look at data from Interior’s Office of Natural Resource Revenue, which tabulates federal revenues from energy developed in federal areas onshore and offshore.
It’s a lot of information, but check the bottom line: For fiscal year 2013, revenues from oil and natural gas developed in federal areas totaled about $12.9 billion. For FY2014 the total was about $11.7 billion. Federal revenues from oil and natural gas development in FY2014 were about $1.2 billion less than in FY2013.
Interestingly, the amount of lost revenue is just about equal to Interior’s requested budget increase for FY2016. In other words, Interior lost $1.2 billion in revenue from 2013 to 2014 and basically is looking to taxpayers to fill in the gap in the next budget.
Posted January 15, 2015
Charting some of the latest Bureau of Land Management (BLM) data on federal oil and natural gas activity – which mostly shows continuing decline.
First, BLM issued fewer new oil and natural gas leases in fiscal year 2014 than in any year since FY1988. That year 9,234 new leases were issued, a number that fell to 1,157 in FY2014. Last year’s number was a retreat from FY2013, when 1,468 new leases were issued.
Other indicators also show declining oil and natural gas opportunity in areas controlled by the federal government.
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Posted December 31, 2014
So long, 2014. From an energy standpoint, you’ll be missed. Let’s count the ways:
Surging domestic oil and natural gas production – largely thanks to safe hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – is driving an American energy revolution that’s creating jobs here at home and greater security for the United States in the world.
It’s a revolution with macro-economic and geopolitical impacts, for sure. But it’s also a revolution that’s benefit virtually every American.
Posted December 10, 2014
Two U.S. energy production updates and a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report showing the economic impacts of America’s shale energy revolution – which is driving overall U.S. production.
A chart from energy/economics blogger Mark J. Perry shows the impact of U.S. energy production on energy imports – measuring net petroleum imports as a share of products supplied. The chart shows steady increases in imports from the mid-1980s to an apex of more than 60 percent in 2005. Today, we’re looking at a percentage share that’s as low as it has been in four decades.
Posted December 4, 2014
One key to sustaining and growing the ongoing U.S. energy revolution is to increase access to America’s oil and natural gas reserves – specifically, gaining more access to reserves under federal control, onshore and offshore.
And a revolution is what we’re seeing. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic crude output topped 9 million barrels per day for the fourth week in a row, a production level not seen since the mid-1980s.
As great as that news is, it could be better because America’s energy production growth – generating new jobs, growing the economy and increasing our energy security – is occurring on state and private lands. More access to reserves in federal areas would help expand the revolution, generating even more benefits.
Posted December 3, 2014
New Orleans Times-Picayune: After more than a decade of work and a $7.5 billion investment, Chevron has started oil and gas production at its Jack and St. Malo fields in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The fields are among the largest in the region, expected to produce more than 500 million barrels of oil equivalent over the next three decades.
The Jack and St. Malo fields, discovered in 2003 and 2004 respectively, are located 25 miles apart in the Walker Ridge region of the Gulf about 280 miles south of New Orleans.
Oil and gas from the fields will flow back to a single, floating production platform located between the two fields. The platform has the capacity to produce up to 170,000 barrels of oil and 42 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.
Posted December 1, 2014
There’s a new global energy order – with the United States at the hub. That’s the assessment in a number of articles following last week’s meeting of oil-exporting countries.
The benefits to America are manifold. The U.S. as global energy’s new center of gravity means economic strength here at home through jobs, consumer benefits and greater energy security, and the opportunity to project positive American values abroad – by impacting global markets as discussed above and by helping friends overseas through energy exports. All result from America’s energy revolution, built on safe development of oil and natural gas reserves from shale and other tight-rock with advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.