Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted February 24, 2016
Two separate but related news items last week demonstrate the economic promise and geopolitical significance of America’s natural gas export opportunity.
The first headline, “U.S. LNG Set to Hit Global Market,” signifies a landmark moment in America’s trajectory from energy scarcity to abundance. The export facility covered in the article – Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass in Cameron Parish, La. – actually opened as a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in 2008. Just two years later in September 2010, it became the first U.S. facility to apply for a Department of Energy permit to export LNG. After a decade that saw U.S. natural gas production jump 45 percent – and following an extensive review process – Sabine Pass is set to ship its first cargo to Europe.
Posted February 10, 2016
Yesterday, we took a look at the effects of the U.S. energy revolution on domestic oil production and the impact of that production on U.S. oil imports – and the resulting progress for America in terms of increased economic and consumer benefits and energy security. We argued that Obama administration policies risk retreating from progress that’s the result of the historic, game-changing shift in the U.S. energy outlook, thanks to America’s energy revolution.
Today, a look at natural gas, where the impacts of the energy revolution are no less significant.
Posted February 1, 2016
Iran’s plan to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) within two years is what you call a market signal, one that should cause U.S. policymakers to reconsider the ponderous pace with which proposed U.S. LNG export projects are gaining federal approval. The Wall Street Journal reported:
Iran is pushing to find new ways to extract and export its vast natural-gas reserves, including developing facilities to liquefy the commodity and ship it to Europe in two years now that western sanctions are no longer in place, according to a top Iranian official. Iran holds the world’s largest reserves of natural gas, but has long lacked the export infrastructure of competitors like Russia and Qatar. … Tehran is exploring several options to help the country “join the international LNG club,” said Alireza Kameli, Managing Director of National Iranian Gas Export Co., in an interview here.
Options for Iran include restarting its own advanced LNG export project that was halted in 2012 because of the western sanctions; building a pipeline under the Persian Gulf to Oman, which has LNG export facilities Iran might be able to use; and the construction of floating LNG facilities. Iranian officials say the country could export about 30 billion cubic meters (more than 1 trillion cubic feet) to the European Union long-term, the Journal reported.
While experts may disagree over how soon Iranian LNG exports could reach global markets, it makes sense for the United States – the world’s leading natural gas and oil producer – to capitalize on its natural gas abundance by speeding up federal approvals for domestic LNG exports to non-Free Trade Agreement countries. While a number of LNG export projects have received the go-ahead from Washington in the past couple of years, final non-FTA authorizations for more than 20 facilities remain under review at the Energy Department.
Posted January 11, 2016
A couple of data points from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that help illustrate the impact of the natural gas portion of the American energy revolution.
First, EIA reports that wholesale electricity prices at major trading hubs, on a monthly average for on-peak hours, were down 27 percent to 37 percent across the U.S. in 2015 compared to 2014. The reason for the decrease, EIA says, is lower natural gas prices.
Now, let’s zero in on the increasing affordability of natural gas in electricity generation. Recently, EIA reported that 2015 natural gas spot prices at the national benchmark Henry Hub averaged $2.61 per million Btu (MMBtu), the lowest annual average since 1999. Interestingly, declining prices did not result in lower production, EIA says.
Posted January 7, 2016
At this year’s State of American Energy event, we highlighted the impact of energy policy on the lives and livelihoods of families and businesses in every state. The connection between policy and pocketbooks is evident after a year in which Americans saved an average $550 per driver on gasoline, due largely to strong U.S. oil and natural gas production. But to maintain the economic and security benefits of America’s 21st century energy renaissance, we’ll need to make smart policy choices that increase access to energy resources, encourage infrastructure development, rein in misguided ethanol policy and curb costly, duplicative regulations.
Posted January 5, 2016
There are many ways to gauge the current strength of American energy. The U.S. is producing nearly twice as much oil as it did less than a decade ago, which, combined with natural gas output, has made America the world’s leading producer.
Yet, the real-world impact of America’s energy revolution offers a more meaningful picture. New tensions are roiling the Middle East, yet global crude markets have remained relatively calm – unimaginable a few years ago. Meanwhile, a tanker carrying U.S. crude oil left port headed for Europe – the first since the lifting of America’s 40-year-old ban on domestic exports. There’s the reach of our energy revolution.
In his State of American Energy remarks, API President and CEO Jack Gerard focused on the growth of U.S. energy and its benefits – and also the opportunity to sustain them with sound energy policies based on facts and science.
Posted January 4, 2016
As we write, the United States is once again an exporter of crude oil. Sure, in the past the federal government has allowed limited crude exports. The oil tanker that left the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, late last week is the bearer of the first freely traded U.S. crude in about four decades – made possible by congressional legislation that President Obama signed to end a 1970s-era ban on exports. It’s a new day indeed.
But wait, there’s more. Cheniere Energy says it has begun liquefying natural gas at its new export terminal in Louisiana, setting the stage for its first LNG export cargo this month.
Both are big-time energy developments for the United States – opportunities created by a domestic energy revolution largely driven by safely harnessing vast shale reserves with advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
Posted December 22, 2015
Lifting the ban is also a security win for the U.S. and our allies. With the administration’s push to allow Iran to export its oil to the global market, it’s time for U.S. producers to have the same opportunity. Our allies around the world are eager to reduce their reliance on energy from less friendly nations.
Posted December 15, 2015
That Congress soon may act to end the United States’ 40-year-old ban on domestic crude oil exports is signaled in the number of reports and posts on exports-related themes.
The Wall Street Journal has a report that talk of lifting the export ban is narrowing the difference between U.S. and global crude prices. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Michael Levi has this post discussing the impact of an exports deal on markets, the recent climate deal and geopolitics. National Journal reports on the legislative horse-trading some think could be part of lifting the exports ban. And there’s more.
Posted December 9, 2015
The U.S. shale energy revolution is a game-changer – for the United States and the world’s energy balance. The U.S. has become the No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas, resulting from a domestic energy renaissance driven by advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – fracking. And the positive impacts are all around us.
U.S. crude imports are down, and American energy self-sufficiency is up. An America that’s more energy self-sufficient is more secure. Meanwhile, the global crude market is better supplied and more stable – thanks to the availability of crude that would have been imported to the U.S. Domestic pump prices reflect this well-supplied market. At the same time, greater use of natural gas has increased each American household’s disposable income by $1,200, and IHS says the benefit will grow to more than $3,500 in 2025. Thanks, fracking.