The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energy Today - June 24, 2011

Rayola Dougher

Rayola Dougher
Posted June 24, 2011

The Financial Times: US Producers Break New Ground in Texas Basin: US oil companies are rushing to stake claims in the Permian Basin as new technology opens up previously uneconomic rock in the most oil-rich part of the nation. Chevron, Devon Energy, Apache and others are acquiring acreage and stepping up drilling operations - some by more than 50 per cent - after they discovered the same horizontal drilling and multi-staged hydraulic fracturing that led to a trebling of US natural gas supplies in recent years could also economically extract oil from shale and other tight rocks. "It's a major, major modern boom," said Pete Stark, a vice-president at IHS CERA, the energy consultancy. The number of rigs drilling in the biggest, Texas portion, of the Permian has risen from 68 in June 2009 to 357 in June 2011. PennEnergy: US House okays bill aimed at streamlining OCS permit decisions: The US House of Representatives approved a bill that would require a final federal decision on applications to drill on the US Outer Continental Shelf within 6 months. HR 2021, which would amend the Clean Air Act, passed by 253 to 166 votes the evening of June 22. The bill, which was cosponsored by Reps. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Gene Green (R-Tex.), included a provision that would establish a drillship or production platform as a stationary OCS emissions source when drilling commences until it either ends or is temporarily interrupted. It also would disqualify the US Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Appeals Board from reviewing or invalidating an OCS oil and gas air quality permit, transferring that authority to a federal court. "Today's action by the House builds on previous legislation to stop EPA from imposing a job-crushing energy tax and end the Obama administration's de facto moratorium on offshore energy," House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said following the vote. Committees are working on more legislation to expand US energy production, create jobs, and block policies that drive up prices, he added.

Questions and Observations: Misusing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve: Here's a difference between a political use of the SPR and an emergency use of the SPR. It is for the latter the SPR exits. However the Obama administration has decided to use it for political reasons. Why do I say that. Well, 30 million barrels of oil is about half a day's use in the US. Or said another way, this is nothing more than political busy work in an attempt to pretend like the administration is a) concerned about the price of gasoline and b) doing something about it. But a short walk back through their history with the oil and gas industry makes the case that they've essentially been opposed to gas and oil exploration and have used every excuse and bureaucratic means to slow or stop it in the two plus years they've been calling the shots.

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.