The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Today - January 21, 2011

Rayola Dougher

Rayola Dougher
Posted January 21, 2011

The Wall Street Journal: EPA to Allow Higher Ethanol Blends in 2001-06 Autos: WASHINGTON--The Obama administration has decided to approve the use of higher levels of ethanol in automobiles made between 2001 and 2006, handing a victory to corn farmers and deepening a conflict with auto makers, oil refiners and other interests who oppose such a step. The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce Friday that it will allow ethanol levels in gasoline blends to be as high as 15% for vehicles made between 2001 and 2006, up from the current 10% maximum, according to two people familiar with the matter.

AP: Alaska governor says oil tax debate comes down to jobs: JUNEAU, Alaska - Gov. Sean Parnell said Thursday that the issue of whether to cut oil taxes comes down to a simple question: How important are new jobs to legislators? Parnell has proposed changing the way Alaska calculates its oil production tax as a way to boost industry investment, create jobs and get more oil flowing through the 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline. The governor, along with some House Republicans who have also proposed changes, believe urgent action is needed, given that oil is Alaska's economic lifeblood and production is declining.

GIGaom: Don't Underestimate The Impact of Natural Gas on Renewables: Whether natural gas is a serious foe or friend to renewable energy has been hotly debated. For Fatih Birol, chief economist of the International Energy Agency, the world isn't paying enough attention to the impact that natural gas production and pricing has on renewable energy development. "This might be the golden age for natural gas," Birol said at the World Future Energy Summit, a conference organized by Abu Dhabi to position itself as a key player in a global shift toward renewable energy. "Natural gas might penetrate the market at a higher rate than any of us has anticipated. If natural gas market continues to follow its path, then life for renewable energy may be tougher than we think."

The Bismarck Tribune: House bill endorses oil fracturing: The House Energy and Natural Resources Committee heard a bill Thursday that would establish oil fracturing as "an acceptable recovery process in this state." House Bill 1216 essentially gives a thumbs up to hydraulic fracturing, which is more commonly called fracking and consists of pushing water and other chemicals into crevices deep under ground to push oil to the surface. Oil industry representatives who testified in favor of the bill said it's pretty much the only way to recover oil in North Dakota. Bill sponsor Rep. Duane DeKrey, R-Pettibone, called the bill a "defensive measure" against potential new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency but said it would not affect the power state regulators have over fracking.

AP: Company secures contracts for Bakken pipeline spur: BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- TransCanada Corp. said Thursday that it has secured enough contracts to ship 65,000 barrels of oil daily from Montana and North Dakota on its proposed oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The Calgary-based company said it signed five-year contracts with producers tapping the rich Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana to transport crude on the proposed 1,980-mile-long Keystone XL pipeline, which is designed to move crude from Alberta's oil sands to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rayola Dougher is senior economist at The American Petroleum Institute (API), where she analyzes information, manages projects and develops briefing materials on energy markets and oil industry policy issues. She is the author or co-author of economic research studies covering a diverse range of topics including crude oil and petroleum product markets, gasoline taxes, energy conservation and competition in retail markets. In addition to testifying before federal and state legislators, she has participated in numerous newspaper, radio and television interviews on a wide range of issues affecting the oil industry, including crude oil and gasoline prices, industry taxes and earnings, exploration and production, and refining and marketing topics.

Prior to joining API, Rayola worked at the Institute for Energy Analysis where her research focused on carbon dioxide related issues and international energy demand and supply forecasts. Rayola holds a Masters degree in Economic Development and East Asian studies from the American University and a degree in History and Political Science from the State University of New York at Brockport.