The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Today - April 4, 2011

Rayola Dougher

Rayola Dougher
Posted April 4, 2011

Wall Street Journal: Stepping On the Gas: Today, in an age that craves innovation in energy, George Mitchell's breakthrough in the Barnett Shale has opened the door to a potentially profound change in the global energy equation. What has become known as the "unconventional-natural-gas revolution" has turned a shortage into a large surplus and transformed the natural-gas business, which supplies almost a quarter of America's total energy. This revolution has arrived, moreover, at a moment when rising oil prices, sparked by turmoil in the Middle East, and the nuclear crisis in Japan have raised anxieties about energy security. Government and producers alike have turned their attention back to domestic resources. Houston Chronicle: Onshore Oil Helps Fill Gap from the Gulf: Bigger contributions from U.S. onshore fields arrive at a good time. Due largely to moratorium-related delays, oil production in the Gulf will fall by 240,000 barrels per day this year and another 200,000 barrels per day in 2012, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast last month. Higher production from onshore fields will help offset the declines... How long that disruption in the Gulf will last remains an open question. Though the deep-water moratorium was lifted in October, regulators so far have approved just nine permits for deep-water drilling activities that were covered by the ban. As a result, projects representing 400,000 barrels per day of production over the next five years are being pushed back from their original start dates, Fryklund said. Rising output from onshore fields, however, could help keep total U.S. oil output flat or possibly higher in 2011 and over the next several years, he said.

NOLA.com: Oil Industry Challenges Leasing Complaints: Out of 34 million acres leased offshore in the Gulf, oil and gas companies have been given the go-ahead for exploratory or development drilling on just 10 million acres. Of that acreage, 6.3 million acres are actually producing oil, according to figures released Tuesday. On Wednesday, President Barack Obama unveiled an ambitious energy policy during a speech at Georgetown University, setting his sights on reducing oil imports by a third during the next decade. Meanwhile, many people in the petroleum industry say the release of the federal report was aimed at countering growing criticism of the administration's pace of approving deepwater drilling permits under the new regulatory regime imposed after last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster. Erik Milito, director of upstream at the American Petroleum Institute, said at a news conference in Washington on Wednesday that the Interior Department's assessment "completely whitewashes the fact that in many cases, the reason these leases have no exploration plans" is because federal regulators are "sitting on those plans."

Wall Street Journal: Alaska Pushes to Expedite Offshore Drilling: Alaska's governor asked federal regulators Thursday to move ahead in allowing new oil development in the Arctic Ocean, as the state looks for ways to shore up declining production. In a letter sent Thursday to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Gov. Sean Parnell wrote that "Alaska is the United States' most important and abundant domestic source of future oil and gas." He cited a 2008 U.S. Geological Survey report that estimated more than 10 billion barrels of oil and more than 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lay beneath the surface of Alaska's Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.

Additional Resources:

Black Hills FOX: Wyoming Energy Industry Fueling Economic Rebound

Observer-Reporter.com: Industry Head Wants Policy to Follow Natural Gas Promise

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.