Posted June 13, 2014
Business Insider: Brent oil futures briefly began approaching $115 this morning, the highest level in nine months, as fears that Iraq is disintegrating spooked markets.
Crude is now up about 4% on the week. When prices stay at this level for this long, U.S. gas prices start creeping up.
But what about all the oil the U.S. has been producing the last few years? Shouldn't we be insulated from whatever oil is doing?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Gasoline prices are set on the global market, and refiners everywhere ship product to wherever they can get the best quote. So for better or worse, raw gasoline prices mostly move in lockstep around the world. The primary contract for gasoline is called RBOB.
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
America has a clear choice on energy. An historic American energy revolution is in progress -- thanks to vast shale reserves safely developed with advanced drilling technologies, industry innovation and leadership. This revolution is creating jobs, strengthening our economy and making our country more secure and muscular in the world. With the right energy choices the revolution can continue and grow.
Yet, somehow, Washington is conflicted. While the Obama administration embraces the shale revolution as integral to its all-of-the-above energy strategy, it advances policies fraught with the potential to needlessly hinder it. Instead of taking actions to enhance America’s energy renaissance, the administration is engaged in a regulatory march that quite likely could diminish it. Sustaining this energy revolution should be a no-brainer – not the brain-bender the administration is fostering with muddled vision and contradictory statements.
During a conference call with reporters this week, API President and CEO Jack Gerard discussed inconsistencies between what top administration officials say about U.S. energy development and what the agencies under them are doing to U.S. energy development.
Posted June 5, 2014
The Wall Street Journal (ROBERT PROFUSEK): Since the 1970s, multinational companies regularly relocated manufacturing outside the U.S., chasing what GE’s Jeff Immelt coined “labor arbitrage,” and the conventional wisdom was that U.S. manufacturing was heading to an inexorable death. The conventional wisdom has, however, proven untrue, as so often is the case.
Some of the reasons for the rebirth of manufacturing in the U.S. were the inevitable consequences of the rapid rise in industrialization in emerging market countries–think of the pollution and daily rolling brownouts in India, labor unrest and increased wage and work rule demands in China and unpredictable legal systems in many emerging market countries. But the fundamental factor driving manufacturing back to the U.S. is technology–computers and robots have further eroded the labor arbitrage, and the U.S. is the undeniable global leader in technology and innovation. At the same time, the U.S. is in the midst of an energy boom, itself technology-enabled, producing an enormous cost and reliability advantages. While this particular advantage can be expected to diminish over time, it is real and the catch-up time is likely to be long, as evidenced by China’s inability to date to exploit its own shale gas reserves cost-effectively.
Posted June 4, 2014
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 23, 2014
Bloomberg Businessweek: Mark Hiduke recently raised $100 million to build his three-week-old company. The 27-year-old isn’t a Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur. He’s a Texas oilman.
Now that a breakthrough in shale drilling technology has U.S. oil and gas production booming, an aging workforce is welcoming a new generation of wildcatters, engineers, and aspiring oil barons. After years of failing to attract and retain young talent, the industry is suddenly brimming with upstart millennials such as Hiduke—oil and gas veterans call it “the great crew change.” “I’ve never seen an industry do what the oil and gas industry has done in the last 10 years,” says T. Boone Pickens, the 86-year-old oilman. “Ten years ago I could not have made this statement that you have picked the right career.”