Posted August 14, 2014
Wall Street Journal (Jay Timmons, NAM): In a town famous for inaction, Washington is gearing up to take action on a major policy issue. But there's a hitch: The outcome could be the most expensive regulation in the nation's history, possibly tanking the economy and costing jobs at a time when businesses, manufacturers and families are making a comeback.
Later this year, the Environmental Protection Agency will decide whether it should tighten the air-quality standard for ground-level ozone. There are several things about this possible new standard that are alarming.
Posted August 13, 2014
Bloomberg Businessweek: Fighting across Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and Gaza, and an accelerating economy, should mean higher oil prices. Yet crude is falling.
Six years ago, oil soared to a record $147 a barrel as tension mounted over Iran’s nuclear program and the world economy had just seen the strongest period of sustained growth since the 1970s. Now, West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price, has traded below $100 for 10 days and Brent, the European equivalent, tumbled to a 13-month low.
What’s changed is the shale fracking boom. The U.S. is pumping the most oil in 27 years, adding more than 3 million barrels of daily supply since 2008. The International Energy Agency said yesterday that a supply glut is shielding the market from disruptions. Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and BNP Paribas SA concur.
Posted August 13, 2014
Ever since the Keystone XL pipeline first started clearing environmental reviews by the U.S. State Department, opponents basically have been left with arguing that State missed one thing or another in an effort to drag out the federal review. Of course, the credibility of the tactic has suffered evaporation with each successful State review, now five in all.
That’s the context for the latest bid to undercut State’s thorough analysis – an analysis that claims that State underestimated Keystone XL’s emissions impact by failing to consider that the pipeline would increase supply and drive down global prices leading to increased demand (and emissions).
The economic foundation is suspect, as Alberta University Professor Andrew Leach writes in an article for MacLean’s, here.
Posted August 12, 2014
Wall Street Journal (subscription required): When House Republicans took up a measure to speed the government's reviews of applications to export natural gas, a move long sought by energy companies, the unexpected happened: The bill won "yes" votes from 47 Democrats.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Cory Gardner (R., Colo.), anticipated some Democratic backing, but not that much. Rep. Steve Israel of New York, who leads the Democrats' House campaign arm, was a yes, as was House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland. Both voted in 2012 to restrict oil and gas exports.
The energy boom is shaping a new kind of Democrat in national politics, lawmakers who are giving greater support to the oil and gas industry even at the risk of alienating environmental groups, a core of the party's base. The trend comes as oil-and-gas production moves beyond America's traditionally energy-rich states, a development that also is increasing U.S. geopolitical influence abroad.
Posted August 4, 2014
USA Today: The U.S. energy industry is booming. As new technologies make oil easier and more affordable to extract, the United States is poised to become the world's leading oil producer as soon as 2015, according to a 2013 study by the International Energy Agency. At the same time, proven oil reserves — the estimated quantities of oil that can be extracted under existing conditions — have also risen. In 2012, the U.S. had more than 30.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, up 15% from the year before.
Ten states accounted for nearly 80% of the U.S. proven oil reserves as of the end of 2012. Texas was the state with the most proven reserves, totaling more than 9.6 billion barrels of oil, or close to a third of all U.S. reserves. Based on the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) data on proved oil reserves, these are the most oil-rich states in the country.
Unsurprisingly, the states with the highest totals of proven reserves are also among the states producing most oil. Of the 10 most oil-rich states, all but one were also among the states with the most production activity as of 2013. Together, these 10 states accounted for more than 2 billion of the 2.7 billion barrels of oil produced last year. Offshore drilling, not attributable to any state, accounted for much of the production not coming from these states.
Posted July 8, 2014
The Keystone XL Pipeline has been studied, and studied, and studied, in fact if the permit application were a person, it would have just graduated kindergarten. However, after nearly six years of studies which show positive benefits to our economy and energy security with no significant environmental impacts – politics are still trumping good policy.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement released by the State Department earlier this year found the project would deliver 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region to U.S. refineries, create 42,100 jobs during its construction phase and provide $3.4 billion in additional revenue to U.S. GDP.
Posted July 1, 2014
The Christian Science Monitor: Although North Dakota, Texas, and the Gulf of Mexico are known for producing much of the US's oil, other states are becoming bigger producers. Alaska and California are two states that are gaining footing in the oil industry.
The US has succeeded in lifting its oil production to over 8 million barrels per day, the highest levels in decades. But where exactly is all that oil coming from?
The answer for the last several years has been the Bakken field in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas. Those two regions are principally responsible for the surge in oil production.
But in April 2014, North Dakota surpassed the 1 million barrel per day mark – a milestone for a state that was producing fewer than 200,000 barrels per day just five years ago.
Posted June 26, 2014
Washington Post: Even Democrats who prefer to develop alternate energy sources before expanding the use of fossil fuels say they want the Keystone XL pipeline built.
The new Pew "Political Typology" report shows huge majorities of all four Democratic-leaning groups support the development of wind, solar and hydrogen alternatives to oil, coal and natural gas. But of those same four groups, the Keystone XL pipeline is still overwhelmingly popular in three of them.
Among "hard-pressed skeptics," "next generation left" and "faith and family left," support for Keystone is two-to-one. So even as a group like the "next generation left" group supports alternate energy over fossil fuels 83-11, it still backs Keystone 62-28.
Posted June 25, 2014
Coloradoan: Loveland voters on Tuesday struck down a proposed moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial oil and gas extraction process that has been restricted in several cities along Colorado’s Front Range.
More than 20,000 ballots were cast, but ultimately the moratorium failed by about 900 votes, said city spokesman Tom Hacker. Results came in just after 10 p.m., making the Loveland election one of the last Colorado races to be decided Tuesday .
“Fortunately that means the Loveland citizens have spoken and that common sense prevailed,” said BJ Nikkel, director of the Loveland Energy Action Project, a group that campaigned against the moratorium.
Posted June 25, 2014
A year ago President Obama clarified his position on the Keystone XL pipeline, saying that for him to approve the project it would need to meet two tests – that KXL would be in the national interest and would not “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”
The second point first. The environmental test has been passed – five times, in fact. The U.S. State Department’s fifth environmental assessment – which examined the Keystone XL’s construction, operation and the impact of increased oil sands development as a result of the pipeline – concluded that the project would have no effect on oil sands production and no significant effect on the environment.