Posted October 14, 2014
A new study by the Aspen Institute joins a series of analyses concluding that one benefit from exporting U.S. crude oil would be lower gasoline prices here at home. Aspen’s projected reduction of between 3 and 9 cents per gallon parallels findings in previous major studies by ICF International (3.8 cents per gallon), IHS (8 cents) and Brookings/NERA (7 to 12 cents) that exports would lower pump prices.
Aspen and the other studies project other benefits from exporting crude oil, including broad job creation, economic growth and increased domestic energy production. Yet the solidifying consensus that consumers also would benefit is critically important as the public policy debate on oil exports continues.
Posted September 16, 2014
Steve LeVine (Quartz): Oil prices continue to plunge today despite the beheading of another western hostage by the Islamic State, tensions between Russia and the West, and mayhem in Libya. As Quartz has reported, one of the main reasons is surging US oil production, which has made up for supply disruption almost barrel for barrel—and is also a bad sign for the leaders of petrostates.
Now we have an estimate of where oil prices might have been absent the American oil boom—a sobering $150 a barrel, former BP CEO Tony Hayward told the Financial Times (paywall).
That’s 55% higher than the current benchmark price of $96.27 that was trading in Asia this morning. If Hayward’s number is right, it means that the US boom is saving the global economy about $4.9 billion a day in oil spending.
Posted September 8, 2014
NY Times: Waist-high weeds and a crumbling old Chevy mark the entrance to a rust-colored factory complex on the edge of town here, seemingly another monument to the passing of the golden age of American industry.
But deep inside the 14-acre site, the thwack-thwack-thwack sound of metal on metal tells a different story.
“We’re holding our own,” said Greg Hess, who is looking to hire draftsmen and machine operators at the company he runs, Youngstown Bending and Rolling. “I feel good that we saved this place from the wrecking ball.”
The turnaround is part of a transformation spreading across the heartland of the nation, driven by a surge in domestic oil and gas production that is changing the economic calculus for old industries and downtrodden cities alike.
Posted July 25, 2014
The Southern: In three years of working in the fracking fields of North Dakota, Rick Tippett has witnessed two accidents, he said.
Tippett, 61, of Creal Springs, said he never feels he puts his safety at risk when on a horizontal fracking site. Tippett works six weeks straight and returns to his Southern Illinois home during his 10-day breaks.
Between two weeks of orientation focused solely on safety, provided by a multitude of gas companies and regulators; yearly safety training and company-provided protective gear, Tippett said safety is “the No. 1 priority” on a job site.
Tippett spoke with The Southern Illinoisan after statements from Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment issued Wednesday that fracking is unsafe for workers. The SAFE comments came a day after fracking proponents urged faster movement on drafting rules to regulate horizontal fracking.
Accidents he has seen involved one friend who hurt his hand from a fallen pipe and another who was uninjured when water used for fracking splashed on him.
In the second incident, emergency crews responded and washed the man down as a precaution, Tippett said.
“They will stop all work if anything happens,” he said of companies operating the fracking sites.
Posted July 17, 2014
AEI Carpe Diem Blog: Below are four charts and two maps that help tell the story of America’s Amazing Shale Oil Revolution:
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
If you run a business that sells things produced from raw materials – manufacturers, retailers, wholesale distributors and car and equipment dealers and other industries – chances are good you’re familiar with “LIFO” accounting. The IRS first approved the “last-in, first-out” method for use by taxpayers with inventories in the 1930s. Repealing LIFO, as some in Congress are proposing, could impact the more than 30 percent of U.S. companies, large and small, that use it, as well as the larger economy.
That’s the message a bipartisan group of 113 U.S. House members conveyed in a recent letter to Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, who has proposed LIFO repeal as part of his larger tax reform package.
Posted June 4, 2014
Posted May 14, 2014
Wall Street Journal (subscription publication): Top Obama administration officials are considering relaxing federal laws banning crude-oil exports, a move that would upend decades-old policy, cause a political stir in Washington and sway the global oil market.
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Tuesday that some of the fast-growing supply of domestically produced oil isn't suitable for refining locally, which could warrant re-examining a nearly 40-year-old law that bans exports of most crude.
"The nature of the oil we're producing may not be well-matched to our current refinery capacity," Mr. Moniz said Tuesday after an energy conference in Seoul. The administration is studying the issue, though government officials declined to comment on its scope or timing.
Posted April 25, 2014
Reuters: Call it the comeback kid.
A new ranking of the competitiveness of the world's top 25 exporting countries says the United States is once again a "rising star" of global manufacturing thanks to falling domestic natural gas prices, rising worker productivity and a lack of upward wage pressure.