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 11, 2014
U.S. coal exports over the past six years are way up, in large part because of the administration’s effort to limit consumption domestically. Domestic production of oil and natural gas is rising fast as well, with producers seeking to export their products to foreign markets.
Posted August 8, 2014
Penn Live (Brian Hollister): I was retired at age 49. After service in the military and a career as an Electronic Quality Engineer, I was pleased to be working independently at what I enjoy most, small construction projects. I was living comfortably while doing work for friends and community members.
But then came the economic collapse of 2008, and like so many Americans, my fortune - quite literally - changed. Overnight I lost much of what I'd saved for my future and I needed to return to work. It's a familiar story. After time away, the job market I found was quite different from the one I'd left behind.
Posted August 7, 2014
Increased domestic energy production means Americans are buying less foreign oil and gas, and selling more of it overseas. That has tamped down the trade deficit in recent years, helping along an economy that continues to recover from the Great Recession.
Some say the deficit could be slashed further if the US were to ease energy export restrictions put in place to protect US consumers from global energy shocks. But such a move would have impacts that go beyond the country’s balance of trade. Critics of oil and gas exports say they will raise energy prices at home, and increase the environmental impacts of extracting and burning fossil fuels.
Either way, a renaissance in oil and gas production is already changing the way officials, analysts, and economists look at the future of the US economy.
Posted August 6, 2014
Applications to export as much as 25 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) equivalent of natural gas are stuck in the Department of Energy's limbo of lengthy review processes. Recently released studies and analysis indicate that each additional 10 bcf/d of natural gas produced to meet export demand would create 110,000 new jobs and $20 billion annually of new business for the energy supply chain - construction contractors, equipment companies, materials suppliers and production service providers. And with other nations rushing to fill the void left by the absence of U.S. exports, this window of opportunity will close and the business lost if we don't accelerate processing of these applications.
On the crude oil front, research firm IHS Energy conservatively projects that enabling exports would cause U.S. production to increase by an average of 1.2 million barrels per day by 2016, which would result in an additional $86 billion of GDP per year. With models showing about half of production-related output being created by the energy supply chain, this yields approximately $40 billion more per year in potential business for supply chain companies, with about another 200,000 new jobs.
Posted August 5, 2014
Wall Street Journal (Thomas Tunstall): The unexpected increase in the production of shale oil, a light oil called condensate and natural gas in the U.S. has upended many assumptions about the U.S. energy market. As the oil and gas bonanza continues, the U.S. ban on crude-oil exports looks increasingly outdated, arbitrary and economically damaging. With Europe poised to endanger its gas supply by imposing more sanctions on its major supplier Russia, the possibility of energy exports from America takes on an important security dimension too.
Thanks to fracking and other unconventional shale-extraction technology, natural gas is the biggest energy story in the U.S. now. In the early 2000s, natural-gas pipeline companies—such as Cheniere and Freeport LNG—spent billions on import facilities as U.S. production decreased, to less than 19 trillion cubic feet in 2005 from roughly 22 trillion cubic feet in 1970.
Since 2006, however, natural-gas production in the U.S. has soared. The U.S. now produces more than 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas a year, the most in the country's more than 100-year history of gas exploration and production. As a result, billions of dollars are now being invested to convert many of the facilities designed to receive imported gas into export facilities.
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 August 1, 2014
Wall Street Journal (Merrill Matthews Opinion): The growing efforts by state and local governments to stop hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to extract natural gas could end up in the Supreme Court. These efforts may unconstitutionally limit property owners' ability to profit from their mineral rights.
More than 170 New York towns and cities have used zoning laws to restrict or prohibit fracking, and in June New York's Supreme Court turned back a challenge to this practice. Pennsylvania allows local municipalities to restrict fracking. Colorado and California are struggling with the issue.
Even in pro-energy Texas, the relatively small town of Denton, about 30 miles north of Dallas, has a fracking moratorium while the city considers whether to impose a permanent ban. At a recent contentious Denton city council meeting in which 500 people attended, the council moved to let voters decide in November.
Nevertheless, landowners and drillers are threatening to sue Denton if a ban is implemented. They may have a case.
Posted July 31, 2014
Houston Chronicle (Editorial): Fracking is more effective than bullets when it comes to containing Russian President Vladimir Putin's Soviet-era ambitions.
Empowered by oil funds and a gas pipeline yoke on Europe, Putin has resuscitated a Cold War ethos of nationalism and expansionism. Yet after the invasion of Crimea and Russian militias seizing sections of eastern Ukraine, it seemed as if Europe's red line was located somewhere a few miles east of the Brandenburg Gate. It took the attack on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to finally shock Europe back to reality, where Russia stands as a legitimate threat to a peaceful continent.
These aggressive moves have gained Russia few friends, but as Tsar Alexander III once said, Russia's only allies are its army and its navy. For the 21st century, pipelines should be added to that list. And that is where the United States must focus containment efforts.
Our allies are far too reliant on Russian pipelines to truly oppose Putin's aggression - there's a reason why the new technology sanctions against Russia don't apply to natural gas.
Posted July 30, 2014
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Teaming up with the oil and gas industry might sound strange for a strong believer in solar power, but for David Jason, it’s just smart business.
“The entire solar industry has kind of shunned the oil and gas industry,” Mr. Jason said. “I think they see it as a business, where a lot of people in solar see it as a cause. I see it as both.”
Mr. Jason is co-owner of Green Roads Energy, a solar distribution company in Mt. Lebanon. He has been involved in various solar projects in the region, and now he’s turning his sights on the oil and gas industry.
The plan? To provide oil and gas companies with customized solar panels to generate power at remote well sites to reduce fuel costs and eliminate the need for diesel generators or transmission lines.
Mr. Jason is not the first to come up with this idea. The use of solar applications at drill sites is becoming much more common, according to Ken Johnson, communications director for the Solar Energy Industries Association, a nonprofit trade group based in Washington, D.C.