Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted April 7, 2015
BloombergView: It's a pernicious bit of American mythology that is used to justify the law against domestic oil producers selling their crude overseas: The U.S. needs "energy independence." Never mind that the law actually undermines this goal, or that the goal itself is practically impossible to achieve. It's the wrong goal. What the U.S. should be striving for is not independence, but energy security.
The story behind the myth goes something like this: If the U.S. doesn't hoard all its oil, then it can't hope to attain energy independence. And until it does that, it has to keep buying oil from politically unstable or unfriendly regimes. Therefore U.S. consumers must tolerate volatile prices for gasoline and heating oil.
The tale is false, but it brushes against one truth: When instability in other countries affects the price of oil, the U.S. economy can suffer. Just last month, the price jumped almost 5 percent when Saudi bombs began to fall on rebel targets in Yemen. Such unpredictable spikes make it difficult for many U.S. businesses to plan ahead, and this means less investment and less hiring.
Posted March 26, 2015
Posted March 25, 2015
Posted March 23, 2015
Washington Times op-ed (O’Keefe): Last month the White House submitted President Obama’s annual economic report to Congress. Nestled in the findings is a compelling case for lifting the country’s antiquated ban on natural gas exports.
“An increase in U.S. exports of natural gas, and the resulting price changes, would have a number of mostly beneficial effects,” the report states, for domestic employment, geopolitical security, our energy industry and the environment. The report ticks off numerous benefits — “create jobs in the short run,” “lower natural gas prices around the world,” “promote the use of cleaner energy abroad” — that make clear the question is not whether the United States should reconsider restrictions on natural gas exports, but when will policymakers step up to economic reality.
The value of lifting export restrictions on domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) is becoming glaringly apparent. The Obama administration’s latest report not only adds to the body of evidence indicating now is the time to act, it reaffirms that doing so aligns with the president’s priority of promoting clean, sustainable energy here at homeand abroad.
Posted March 20, 2015
Bloomberg: Two former Obama administration officials said a four-decade-old ban on oil exports limits U.S. geopolitical influence and makes it harder to get other nations to embrace free trade.
The issue of the ban “arose constantly” in negotiations with other countries, including when the U.S. sought support for sanctions on Iran’s oil production to halt its nuclear ambitions, said Carlos Pascual, a former top energy envoy at the U.S. State Department.
“It’s those kinds of restrictions that in the end affect American credibility, and in the moment when we have to put through an important policy, makes it much more difficult to negotiate,” Pascual said at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing Thursday called to build support for ending the ban in place since the 1970s Arab oil embargo.
Posted March 20, 2015
The case for lifting the 1970s-era ban on U.S. crude oil exports, in a nutshell:
The ban is a relic of the past, of an era when the U.S. was producing less and less of its own oil and importing more and more of oil produced by others. Crude exports would add to global crude supplies, putting downward pressure on the cost of crude. A number of studies project that lifting the export ban would lower domestic gasoline prices. Exports would stimulate domestic production, protecting U.S. jobs and creating more in the future. Exports would strengthen U.S. economic power that underlies American global influence.
There are more reasons, more details to the affirmative export case, a number of which were aired at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing this week. In its totality, it’s a strong, strong case.
Posted March 19, 2015
Posted March 18, 2015
The Hill: Business groups are waging war on the Obama administration’s proposal to reduce ozone pollution, arguing the regulations would cripple the U.S. economy.
In order to comply with the proposed rule, many areas of the country would have to all but shut down land development and oil and natural gas drilling, industry groups charged on the final day for comments.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is being spurred on by greens and health groups, who argue that lower ozone emissions would benefit public health. The agency, they contend, is obligated to adopt the stricter standards.
But the rules would translate to higher electric bills for American families, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity is said in comments it filed Tuesday.
Posted March 17, 2015
Reuters: Lifting a 40-year-old U.S. ban on crude exports would create a wide range of jobs in the oil drilling supply chain and broader economy even in states that produce little or no oil, according to a report released on Tuesday.
Some 394,000 to 859,000 U.S. jobs could be created annually from 2016 to 2030 by lifting the ban, according to the IHS report, titled: "Unleashing the Supply Chain: Assessing the Economic Impact of a U.S. crude oil free trade policy."
Only 10 percent of the jobs would be created in actual oil production, while 30 percent would come from the supply chain, and 60 percent would come from the broader economy, the report said. The supply chain jobs would be created in industries that support drilling, such as oil field trucks, construction, information technology and rail.
Posted March 13, 2015
UPI – U.S. policymakers are called on to adopt the energy policies necessary to take advantage of the new era of abundance, the chairman of Exxon Mobil said.
Some energy companies with a focus on exploration and production are advocating for a repeal of a ban on the export of some domestically-produced crude oil. The ban was enacted in the 1970s in response to an export embargo from Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Exxon Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson led the drive, telling an audience at The Economic Club in Washington D.C. current policies are out of step with the energy landscape in the shale era.
"It is time to build policies that reflect our newfound abundance, that view the future with optimism, that recognize the power of free markets to drive innovation, and that proceed with the conviction that free trade brings prosperity and progress," he said in a Thursday address.