Posted April 19, 2018
American consumers take a keen interest in energy prices, for the health of their pocketbooks as well as their livelihoods and security. More than 10.3 million people directly or indirectly support the industry, and tens of millions more people own or work for businesses that depend on having abundant and affordable energy.
What happens in energy markets also is important to our business literacy and understanding of how the United States’ role in global commerce has evolved thanks to the energy renaissance. Not so long ago, many energy-intensive U.S. industries were hollowed out as jobs moved offshore. Thanks to American innovation, today the high availability and low prices of natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and oil have stimulated demand and investment while also helping to improve efficiency and return energy-related CO2 emissions to near their 25-year lows.
Posted October 22, 2015
Recent reports assert that some of the world’s oil suppliers have had a strategy to curtail the U.S. energy revolution – and that the strategy has worked, citing U.S. Energy Information Administration data showing U.S. production in decline. Bloomberg this week:
After a year suffering the economic consequences of the oil price slump, OPEC is finally on the cusp of choking off growth in U.S. crude output. The nation’s production is almost back down to the level pumped in November 2014, when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries switched its strategy to focus on battering competitors and reclaiming market share.
Market decisions by major suppliers certainly have impact. Yet, focusing attention on factors beyond U.S. control misses factors under U.S. control that have a clear bearing on the trajectory of domestic oil production, economic growth and American security.
We’ll name a couple: continuing the outdated ban on U.S. oil exports and regulatory and process roadblocks that limit access to energy reserves and production. What we have is an administration whose self-sanctioning approach to U.S. energy is hurting American competitiveness in the global marketplace, to the benefit of other producers.
Posted October 7, 2015
The U.S. House has an important vote scheduled for Friday on legislation that would lift the 1970s-era ban on domestic crude oil exports. It’s an historic chance for U.S. policymakers to affirm that America’s energy picture is fundamentally and dramatically improved from where it was four decades ago – thanks to surging domestic production that has made the United States the world’s No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas.
It boils down to this: A vote for the bill would be a vote for U.S. jobs, economic growth, trade benefits and strengthened American security. It would be a vote for U.S. consumers and American global competitiveness. It would be a vote for America’s friends abroad, who see U.S. energy as a global supply diversifier and stabilizer. As one ally said earlier this year, with U.S. oil exports the “world itself will be a … safer place.”
Posted May 15, 2015
Bloomberg BNA: The chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said May 14 that she is inclined to include standalone legislation that would end the 40-year ban on the export of domestic crude oil as part of a broader energy package the committee is drafting.
“I’d like to have it in there,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told reporters. “It just makes sense in there, as part of the bigger, broader energy updating our architecture.”
The bill, the Energy Supply and Distribution Act of 2015 (S. 1312), released May 13, is scheduled to be the subject of a June 4 hearing on “energy accountability and reform,” along with other bills that could end up in the broader energy package, which is expected to be unveiled later this summer.
Posted May 1, 2015
API President and CEO Jack Gerard joined members of Congress and others at a Capitol Hill press conference calling for an end to the United States’ 1970s-era ban on the export of domestic crude oil. Gerard:
“We've come to the point where we have a limitation on our ability to continue to grow this renaissance, to create good-paying jobs, to help stimulate the domestic economy. Today, there are few public policy changes that would bring as much economic value to our domestic economy than lifting the ban on crude exports.”
Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar said other Democrats will support legislation to end the export ban:
“I think we are going to get there. Once we get this on the floor, you’re going to see that we’re going to get more support from the Democratic side. … I’ll continue working with my friends across the aisle to make sure that this outdated ban on oil exports is lifted.”
Posted April 17, 2015
BloombergBusiness: The U.S. pumped crude last month at the fastest pace since February 1973, sending March inventories to the highest level in 85 years.
Crude output climbed 13 percent from a year earlier to 9.32 million barrels a day in March, the American Petroleum Institute said in a monthly report Thursday. Production of natural gas liquids, a byproduct of gas drilling, climbed 9.1 percent to 3.05 million, a record for March. The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has unlocked supplies from shale formations in the central U.S.
“Production of both crude oil and natural gas liquids last month remained at the highest levels in decades even as rig counts reached a five-year low,” John Felmy, chief economist at the API in Washington, said in an e-mailed statement.
Posted April 16, 2015
The Wall Street Journal: A former White House economic adviser is calling for changes to a 2005 law mandating increased use of alternative fuels in the nation’s transportation supply, adding a key voice to a growing chorus of people who say the policy is not working.
In a report published Thursday, Harvard University professor Jim Stock, who served on President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers in 2013 and 2014, proposes several reforms to the biofuels mandate, known as the renewable fuel standard, including some requiring congressional approval.
The report adds to a growing body of politicians and experts who are questioning the law’s effectiveness amid regulatory uncertainty and lower oil prices.
Posted April 7, 2015
Following on yesterday’s post on increased domestic energy production that is backing out imports, we see that the U.S. remained No. 1 in the world in the production of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The government agency responsible for quantifying all things energy says that U.S. oil and natural gas production has been trending higher than the output of Russia and Saudi Arabia, the second- and third-largest producers:
Since 2008, U.S. petroleum production has increased by more than 11 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu), with dramatic growth in Texas and North Dakota. Despite the 50% decline in crude oil prices that occurred in the second half of last year, U.S. petroleum production still increased by 3 quadrillion Btu (1.6 million barrels per day) in 2014. Natural gas production—largely from the eastern United States—increased by 5 quadrillion Btu (13.9 billion cubic feet per day) over the past five years. Combined hydrocarbon output in Russia increased by 3 quadrillion Btu and in Saudi Arabia by 4 quadrillion Btu over the past five years.
Posted January 23, 2015
Earlier this month, then-White House advisor John Podesta said the Obama administration is unlikely to do more on the U.S. crude oil export ban beyond the Commerce Department’s recent effort to clarify the rules for exporting ultra-light crude known as condensates. Podesta told Reuters:
“At this stage, I think that what the Commerce Department did in December sort of resolves the debate. We felt comfortable with where they went. If you look at what's going on in the market and actions that the Department took, I think that ... there's not a lot of pressure to do more.”
It’s a strange conclusion given the weight of scholarship that says America’s 1970s ban on crude exports should be lifted – to spur domestic production, create jobs and put downward pressure on U.S. gasoline prices. It also would solve a growing mismatch between supplies of light sweet domestic crude and a refinery sector that’s largely configured to handle heavier crudes. ConocoPhillips Chairman and CEO Ryan Lance, speaking recently at the Center for Strategic and International Studies:
“(The condensates decision is) a help. … I question whether we’ll ever grow to a million barrels a day of condensate production, so it helps, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t answer the issue that we’re going to have coming at us as a nation … crude that our refineries cannot refine. So it’s a help, but by no stretch does it solve the problem. We have to address the bigger issue.”
Posted May 15, 2014
CNBC (Spencer Abraham/Bill Richardson): Once again the world is looking for America's leadership in unsettled times. Our diplomats have limited options to combat Russia's annexation of Crimea, but they can take greater advantage of a new tool in their toolbox that no administration has had for generations — U.S. energy abundance. American energy exports will not only create economic opportunities here at home but will provide strategic geopolitical advantages abroad.
The crisis involving Ukraine and Russia highlights the need for American energy leadership. Russia remains the world's largest exporter of natural gas, supplying 30 percent of Europe's imports. Countries on Russia's periphery, many nearly completely dependent on Russian supply, pay exorbitant oil linked prices. Many are NATO allies.