Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted July 9, 2020
Exporting U.S. natural gas via liquefied natural gas (LNG) has a big advantage over coal in lowering greenhouse gas emissions in electricity generation, according to a new study by ICF, (summarized here).
The analysis certainly quantifies what we’ve discussed before (see here and here) – that using clean natural gas to generate electricity significantly lowers GHG emissions compared to the emissions levels of coal-fired generation – on average, by 50.5%, according to ICF’s research.
GHGs include carbon dioxide from the fuel itself as well as CO2, methane, nitrous oxide and other gases emitted during the construction and operation of related fuel supply chain and power plant infrastructure.
The findings support the view that exported LNG gives the United States, the world’s leading natural gas producer, a golden opportunity to strengthen its global environmental and climate leadership.
Posted July 8, 2020
As President Trump welcomes Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to the White House for their first face-to-face meeting, they will tout the landmark United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The updated North American trade pact, signed in January after months of deliberation, modernizes the longstanding trilateral agreement that was a central issue in the 2016 presidential campaign.
The political importance of the agreement aside, the USMCA is a win-win for American workers, businesses and energy consumers, paving the way for sustained U.S. energy leadership and expanded economic growth. Cross-border trade with Mexico and Canada is key to strengthening the domestic energy industry, which has made the United State the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas. Today, the U.S. counts Mexico as its number one export market for natural gas and refined products, with Canada as its top destination for crude oil.
By solidifying these critical energy partnerships, the International Trade Commission projects the USMCA could support the creation of between 176,000 and 589,000 American jobs, in addition to the 12 million US jobs and nearly $1.3 trillion in trade already sustained by our partnership with Mexico and Canada. With this record of economic development and job creation among these trading partners, it is clear why Presidents Trump and López Obrador would take a victory lap this week.
Posted July 7, 2020
Building and expanding U.S. pipeline infrastructure in this country shouldn’t be so difficult – not considering the critical role pipeline construction and operation play in American energy leadership, job creation and economic growth.
Modern natural gas and oil pipelines are the safe connection between consumers and America’s abundant, reliable, cleaner energy. Additional infrastructure is needed so that no matter where people live, they can be better served – expanding the benefit of domestic energy abundance.
Unfortunately, it has become increasingly challenging to get projects off the drawing board because of almost endless legal maneuvering and government red tape. Both contribute to delay and uncertainty that undermine project investment and completion.
Posted July 6, 2020
Smart regulatory reforms from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) support responsible energy development and strengthen the economy, while protecting human health and the environment. EPA’S proposed Benefit-Cost Rule under the Clean Air Act certainly fits with that approach.
The proposal would improve the rulemaking process by clarifying the environmental, scientific and economic impacts of newly proposed rules for the public, the industry and all stakeholders.
Posted June 30, 2020
When the “Green New Deal” first was floated in Washington last year, it struggled to gain much altitude and more or less collapsed of its own weight.
The plan proposed dramatic alterations to America – especially the energy sector. Provisions impacting transportation, housing, communications and modern standards of living weren’t very palatable. Ernest Moniz, President Obama’s energy secretary, suggested the plan wasn’t “politically or economically implementable.” Not surprisingly, House leaders didn’t warm to the proposal, and it didn’t gain traction in Congress.
This week the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has unveiled a new climate package of market-based mechanisms, government mandates, investments and tax incentives – including promotion of carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) and provisions aimed at electric utilities and automakers, who would be told to produce only electric cars by 2035.
While API will review the House proposal according to the API Climate Position and Climate Policy Principles, let’s assert that the forward path on climate must be realistic. This means including natural gas and oil – which will be part of the nation’s energy mix for decades to come – and capitalizing on our industry’s proven ability to help significantly reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
Posted June 30, 2020
Good technical standards and industry practices are important to safe, sustainable energy infrastructure that is critical to unleashing the benefits of domestic energy – including clean, affordable natural gas.
Major energy players have pointed to new midstream infrastructure investments in the massive Permian region that will allow them to produce more while also improving environmental performance. In addition, this infrastructure will benefit consumers globally through the export of U.S. natural gas – produced right here at home under stringent regulations, many of which point to API’s world-class safety standards that improve environmental performance and sustainability.
Posted June 26, 2020
Pennsylvania promises to again be a battleground state this year, and former Vice President Joe Biden was in Lancaster this week to talk about health care and the coronavirus. At some point voters in the nation’s No. 2 energy-producing state will want to know what he thinks about natural gas and oil.
Our industry supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, furnishes tens of billions of dollars in wages and contributions to the commonwealth’s economy. Nearly $2 billion in impact fee revenue from natural gas production has gone to the state – distributed to counties and municipalities to fund public safety, water and sewer projects, environmental programs and more.
Natural gas and oil are critical to Pennsylvania and to the United States, and any policy or program that would ban or severely restrict safe fracking, impacting natural gas and oil production, could have significant energy and economic effects. It’s not just API making the policy argument for energy and against banning fracking.
Posted June 24, 2020
As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs a request to delay a lower-court decision to exclude “construction of new oil and natural gas pipelines” from a key federal permitting program, it’s clear the district court’s ruling could seriously harm projects that are critical to strengthening U.S. energy infrastructure.
As many as 75 pipelines in various stages of development could be impacted after last month’s ruling by a federal judge in Montana, who said the Nationwide Permit 12 program (NWP 12) can’t be used for constructing new natural gas and oil pipelines – singling them out among other utility projects that remain NWP 12 eligible. One issue with the district court ruling is that it doesn’t define “pipeline” or what may be covered. The 75 pipelines referred to here include pipelines to deliver natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids.
The affected capital investment can be measured in the billions of dollars. Publicly available estimates for the capital costs of just 11 of the 75 projects could exceed $32 billion, which could support nearly 480,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs.
Posted June 19, 2020
We’ve discussed the historic link between economic growth and energy – chiefly, natural gas and oil, America’s and the world’s leading energy sources. When the economy grows it boosts demand for energy. And when that energy is supplied, growth is enabled or powered. See this blog by API Chief Economist Dean Foreman, in which he describes data behind our confidence that natural gas and oil will be big participants in the nation’s economic recovery.
Indeed, the indicators of this linkage are visible in API’s June Monthly Statistical Report. Based on May data, the MSR records an increase in U.S. petroleum demand of 2.0 million barrels per day, with motor gasoline leading the way. It’s the largest such increase in nearly 45 years.
Americans are getting back to work, and as they do, they need fuel. Likewise, rising fuel demand reflects increased demand for transportation and delivery of goods and services. As our industry meets this demand, growth is enabled.
Posted June 18, 2020
As the U.S. and world confront the unprecedented combination of a public health crisis, significant economic downturn and tumultuous domestic and global oil markets, we have seen oil demand, prices, and consequently drilling and production fall by historic amounts.
Overall, we see market forces at work, with a re-balancing of supply and demand to historic proportions despite great uncertainties. The underlying fundamentals appear to be constructive and should position the U.S. natural gas and oil industry to participate in an economic recovery. And if the third-party consensus is correct the next year or so could bring positives for U.S. and global energy.