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.
Posted June 23, 2014
Posted June 12, 2014
Bloomberg News: U.S. fuel imports fell to a 15-year seasonal low as refineries processed increasing domestic crude output, moving the nation closer to energy independence.
Deliveries slid 653,000 barrels a day to 1.68 million in the week ended June 6, the fewest for the period since 1999, the Energy Information Administration data showed today. The 28 percent drop was the biggest decline since the week ended June 18, 2013. Fuel imports peaked at 4.97 million barrels a day in October 2005.
“There’s a change in the dynamic,” said Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “We’re not going to stop importing products but the overall number should move lower. We’re turning into a hub where products are both imported and exported based on price.”
Shipments to the U.S. from abroad have dropped as the shale boom provided refiners with an ample supply of cheaper domestic crude to make fuel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark crude, has traded at an average discount of $12 to Brent oil from the North Sea over the past four years. WTI traded at an average premium of more than $1 to the European grade from 1988 to 2008.
Posted June 9, 2014
Wall Street Journal (Joseph Nye): HOUSTON — The United States produced enough energy to satisfy 84 percent of its needs in 2013, a rapid climb from its historic low in 2005, according to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The nation produced 81.7 quadrillion British thermal units of energy last year and consumed 97.5 quadrillion, the highest ratio since 1987. The nation’s energy output rose 18 percent from 2005 to 2013, as a surge in oil and gas production offset declines in coal. Meanwhile, its total energy used fell 2.7 percent during that period.
The nation’s ability to meet its own energy needs hit an all-time low in 2005, when the amount of energy produced domestically met just 69 percent of demand. The last time the United States’ energy production exceeded its energy use was in the 1950s, according to the Energy Information Administration, an agency of the Energy Department.
Posted June 6, 2014
UPI: WASHINGTON --Strong growth in onshore U.S. oil and gas production means fewer problems from hurricanes, the analytical arm of the U.S. Energy Department said Wednesday.
Sunday marked the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. As of Wednesday, there are no cyclones reported in the Atlantic Ocean, though Tropical Storm Boris is headed north from the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico at a rate of 5 miles per hour.
Though offshore oil and gas installations may be shut in by any major storm in the Atlantic, EIA said inland production could make up for any shortfall.
Posted June 2, 2014
Posted May 30, 2014
In announcing plans to revamp the way it considers permit applications for projects to export U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) to non-free trade agreement countries, the Energy Department said changes would help streamline the process and increase efficiency.
Unfortunately, the revisions could mean more Washington delay and inject additional uncertainty for multi-billion-dollar investments – hampering efforts to harness America’s game-changing opportunity to create new jobs, boost the economy and stimulate domestic production with LNG exports.
In a DOE blog post, Christopher Smith, principal deputy assistant secretary for fossil energy, writes that the department will review export applications and make final public interest determinations only after environmental reviews are completed. It would end the department’s procedure of the past year and a half of issuing conditional approvals pending environmental review.
Posted May 30, 2014
The Hill: The Department of Energy (DOE) released two reports Thursday with favorable conclusions about the environmental impacts of exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The department said it is not “reasonably foreseeable” that there would be any domestic environmental impacts from the increased natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. And in Europe and Asia, the natural gas would have much lower greenhouse gas emissions than coal when used for power generation.
The DOE is publishing the reports to gather comments on them and eventually use them in determining whether individual LNG export applications are in the country’s interest. Neither report is required by law, the agency said.
The reports came the same day the DOE proposed a new, streamlined process for considering applications to export LNG to countries with which the United States does not have a free trade agreement.
Posted May 28, 2014
In my former role as assistant secretary of energy at the Department of Energy and my current position as executive director of Rice University's Energy and Environment Initiative, we are constantly challenged by this responsibility of energy sustainability in the utilization of fossil fuels. Our future will be determined by increasing energy requirements on a global basis for electricity, fuels and chemicals to meet a doubling of world demand by 2050. Fossil fuels will continue to be more than 80 percent of the world's fuel supply in 2050, as cited by the International Energy Agency, so it is not "if" we will be consuming coal, oil and natural gas, but "how." We must have a genuine "all of the above" energy strategy, and to do so, we must invest in fossil-fuel technology to ensure energy sustainability.
Posted May 27, 2014
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Mark D. Caskey, president of Steel Nation Steel Buildings, a Washington County company that constructs gas compression stations for energy companies, is no stranger to having doors slammed in his face.
In fact, when he pitched the idea to build such stations to energy companies six years ago, that’s all that happened.
“We tried to talk to every big midstream company, trying to get our foot in the door,” Mr. Caskey said. “We’d knock on their door, they’d meet with us and they’d say, listen, ’You’ve never built a gas compression building before. We’re not going to be your guinea pig.’”
Gas compression stations, he explained, gather gas from wells. They also separate and cool the gas before transporting it to major transmission lines.
In 2008 when Steel Nation opened, the company focused on building prep plants that wash and separate coal for coal companies.
But after a friend from oil and gas company Range Resources took him to a drill site, Mr. Caskey realized he could take his talents to the natural gas industry.