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
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 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
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 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