Posted November 17, 2014
The Economist: To find out how much energy security has mattered in the Pacific’s recent history, ask the Japanese. At the museum of the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which honours the country’s war dead (sometimes controversially), an exhibit suggests, with a jarring note of self-justification, that an American naval blockade against Japanese oil imports in 1941 triggered the Pacific war.
Seventy years later a tsunami that swooshed in from the Pacific and knocked out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station led to the closure of Japan’s 54 nuclear reactors. Parts of the country, which is a greedy consumer of electricity, were left practically powerless. Huge tankers full of natural gas, heading for terminals dotted along Japan’s Pacific coastline, eventually got the country up and running again. In 2012 Japan consumed 37% of the world’s liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Posted November 13, 2014
Bipartisanship was the unifying theme from lawmakers and panelists during an event on the intersection of energy and policy earlier today, hosted by The Hill. With the midterm elections over, it’s clear “energy ultimately prevailed,” API President and CEO Jack Gerard said, starting the discussion of what the future holds for energy in the next Congress. Gerard:
“Energy should not be a partisan issue, and while the election played out in a Republican/Democrat-type dynamic, ultimately we believe energy prevailed. Energy was a key issue in a lot of races across the country and it’s clear the American public is growing in their support of energy, especially oil and natural gas.”
Indeed, the U.S. – and the 114th Congress -- has a unique energy opportunity. When looking back even just five or six years ago, no one predicted America’s energy revolution after decades of energy scarcity. Fast-forward to today: We live in an era of rich abundance and ample oil and natural gas resources. America is now in a position to become the world’s energy superpower thanks to industry technology and innovation.
Posted November 11, 2014
President Barack Obama has also joined the chorus, claiming in a recent speech at Northwestern University that America is a world energy leader because “right off the bat” his administration “upped our investments in American energy.”
In reality, we’ve become the world’s leading natural gas producer and soon-to-be leading oil producer despite, not because of, White House policies.
Posted November 10, 2014
Forbes: The return of the U.S. as an energy superpower will not be a short-term event with the economic benefits likely to last “at least two generations”, according to the latest research from Citi.
That is one of the key findings in a report from the commodities team at the New York-based bank.
Titled “Energy 2020 Out of America” the 96-page document paints a picture of significant change flowing from increased oil and gas production in the U.S. including a dramatic reduction in the country’s current account deficit and a sharp increase in the value of the dollar.
Posted November 5, 2014
Wall Street Journal: Next year’s GOP-controlled Senate is expected to come out strongly against President Barack Obama ’s most consequential energy and environment policies, with the likely majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, vowing to hold votes on the Keystone XL pipeline and legislation to pare back the administration’s proposed carbon emissions rules.
It is an open question how much headway Republicans can make, given the Senate’s 60-vote procedural threshold and the threat of a presidential veto. But centrist Democrats with home-state energy interests could align with Republicans to create bipartisan majorities on bills that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) didn’t want to bring to the floor, including approving the Keystone XL pipeline, curtailing Environmental Protection Agency rules to cut carbon emissions and expediting federal reviews of natural-gas exports. The votes would put senators on the record in a way Mr. Reid often avoided.
Posted November 4, 2014
Forbes (Alex Epstein): Six years ago, a sure path for a politician to get praise—and votes—was to call for massive restrictions on fossil fuel use.
In 2008, Barack Obama campaigned on a platform of ending “the tyranny of oil” and bankrupting coal companies, whose energy production would be replaced by promising green companies likeSolyndra—a “true engine of economic growth” that was “leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.” An imminent “Peak Oil” disaster was viewed as a certainty.
Democrats ran successfully on a platform of cap and trade, bolstered by the apocalyptic and unchallenged predictions of movies and media like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.
Things have certainly changed. Today, Democrats in contentious races are not only lessening their opposition to fossil fuels, they are competing to take positions that are more pro-fossil fuels than Republicans.
Posted November 3, 2014
The Hill (Jack Gerard): With zero precincts reporting, we can confidently project American energy is a landslide winner in the 2014 midterm elections.
In many races, both Republican and Democratic candidates have gone out of their way this year to embrace pro-energy policies – to the point that it’s been almost impossible to tell who’s wearing red or blue on the campaign trail.
“When I disagree with the president, I stand up to him. Whether it is on oil or support for the Keystone XL pipeline.” That’s Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner. In North Carolina’s Senate race, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan made a point of saying “I disagree with the president. I think we need to build the Keystone pipeline.” That’s one thing she has in common with her Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, who states, “I strongly support the construction of the Keystone pipeline and favor expanding offshore drilling to make our nation less dependent on foreign oil.
Posted October 30, 2014
Reuters: U.S. chocolate demand may get an extra boost from an unlikely source this Halloween: the U.S. shale revolution.
With an abundance of crude oil due to the country's fracking boom pushing average U.S. retail gasoline prices to their lowest in four years, consumers have spare change to buy sweets at gas station stores, Hershey President and Chief Executive Officer John Bilbrey said on Wednesday.
"You could say that we benefit because people aren't spending as much at the pump and they're going inside," Bilbrey said in a conference call with investors to discuss quarterly earnings.
Posted October 29, 2014
The Wall Street Journal: A planned Trans- Canada Corp. oil pipeline designed to ship crude from Western Canada to Eastern Canadian refineries could also be used to access the Gulf Coast, creating an end-run around U.S. permitting delays for the Keystone XL pipeline, according to the company’s chief executive.
TransCanada’s proposed 1.1 million-barrel-a-day Energy East pipeline has been positioned in Canada as a nation-building project to connect Alberta’s landlocked oil sands with refineries in Quebec and coastal New Brunswick. But Chief Executive Russ Girling said it would also open up a new route to ship heavy crude by tanker to refineries on the Gulf Coast without requiring U.S. approval, unlike the more direct Keystone XL route from Alberta to Texas.
“We can actually go all the way to the Gulf Coast without a presidential permit,” he said in an interview. “Once we’re on the water, we’ll show up just like any other crude oil in the world in the Houston ship channel.”
Posted October 29, 2014
October marks a birthday for our friends at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Forty years ago, October 1974, EIA issued its first Monthly Energy Review (MER) – a report loaded with energy-related data and charts that’s a must-read for folks who follow energy issues. EIA Chief Adam Sieminski:
That first MER was under 50 pages and featured 3 years of data focused on fossil fuels. Today, the MER is four times as large, features data extending back 65 years, and contains information on renewable energy, emissions, energy consumption by sector, and a host of other critical subjects. In a vastly more complex energy environment, the MER continues to integrate many kinds of energy data from a wide variety of sources into one product that provides policymakers, journalists, analysts, and other concerned citizens with a comprehensive look at integrated energy data in the United States.
Certainly, much has changed over four decades. America’s energy outlook has pivoted almost 180 degrees. Check out this snippet from that October 1974 inaugural issue of MER: