Posted February 19, 2014
The Geopolitical Consequences of the Shale Revolution
Foreign Affairs (Blackwell and O’Sullivan): Only five years ago, the world’s supply of oil appeared to be peaking, and as conventional gas production declined in the United States, it seemed that the country would become dependent on costly natural gas imports. But in the years since, those predictions have proved spectacularly wrong. Global energy production has begun to shift away from traditional suppliers in Eurasia and the Middle East, as producers tap unconventional gas and oil resources around the world, from the waters of Australia, Brazil, Africa, and the Mediterranean to the oil sands of Alberta. The greatest revolution, however, has taken place in the United States, where producers have taken advantage of two newly viable technologies to unlock resources once deemed commercially infeasible: horizontal drilling, which allows wells to penetrate bands of shale deep underground, and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which uses the injection of high-pressure fluid to release gas and oil from rock formations.
Posted February 14, 2014
How Low-Cost Natural Gas May be Helping to Fuel a Resurgence in U.S. Manufacturing
Fox Business: Inexpensive natural gas may be giving the U.S. a powerful and unique cost advantage that is incentivizing hundreds of companies to manufacture in the United States.
According to research conducted by Boston Consulting Group that was released Thursday, cheap natural gas will have a critical impact on U.S. manufacturing over the next several years that will benefit a wide variety of industries, from feedstock to finished goods.
“We are seeing an impact,” said BCG Senior Partner Hal Sirkin. “We can identify over 200 companies that are part of this manufacturing renaissance, moving jobs back to the United States.”
Posted February 13, 2014
Fuel Fix Blog: While the January jobs report was a disappointing for the national economy, it brought good news about growth in oil and gas.
About 206,000 employees worked in the oil and gas extraction sector in January, about 1.8 percent more than in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nationwide, total employment was relatively stagnant at a seasonally adjusted 137.5 million.
The employment story was positive across sectors of the energy industry. Manufacturing of petroleum and coal products had 112,700 employees on payrolls, a 1.6 percent increase from December. The chemicals sector grew by 1.2 percent to 796,100 people.
Posted February 13, 2014
What They’ve Said About Keystone XL: Build It!
It’s hard to overstate the broad-based nature of political support for the Keystone XL pipeline, support that stems from the project’s benefits: upwards of 830,000 barrels a day of oil from Canada’s oil sands and the U.S. Bakken region, 42,100 jobsduring the pipeline’s construction phase, strengthened energy security – with the Keystone XL playing an integral role in a broad strategy that could see 100 percent of U.S. liquid fuel needs met domestically and from Canada.
Posted February 12, 2014
The United States is home to some of the world's largest natural gas deposits and supplies have flooded the market over the last five years, erasing concerns about dwindling output.
But the coldest winter in decades has drained stockpiles quicker than ever, forced rationing, and pushed prices to all-time highs, revealing the difficulties of storing and transporting fuel across the continent.
Posted February 11, 2014
Posted February 10, 2014
How the U.S. Energy Boom is Changing America’s Place in the World
Time: It wasn’t even five years ago that Iran reelected hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a disputed presidential election, openly admitted it was building a uranium enrichment facility and brazenly test-fired missiles capable of hitting targets in Israel. Fast-forward to today: A more conciliatory president, Hassan Rouhani, is making historic overtures toward the West and negotiations are showing rare progress toward containing the country’s nuclear program, which has kept the region—and the world—on edge for years.
The difference, according to former Obama administration National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, can be summed up in one word: “fracking.” That’s hydraulic fracturing, the drilling method that’s helped fuel an unprecedented domestic energy boom in the United States.
“There’s a direct line between the U.S.-led sanctions effort to put pressure on Iran” and the flood of oil and gas coming out of the ground at home due to fracking technology, Donilon said Thursday night at an event announcing a new report from the Center for a New American Security, titled “Energy Rush: Shale Production and U.S. National Security.”
Before the North American energy boom—the largest-ever annual increase in domestic oil production took place in 2012—a harsh sanctions regime against Iran looked more like a suicide pact for the oil-import-dependent U.S. Instead, America’s sudden energy abundance dampened the blow of reduced oil exports to the global economy, making truly harsh sanctions on Iran possible.
Read more: http://ti.me/1eKvYKd
Posted February 7, 2014
The Shale Factor in U.S. National Security
Reuters (Dobriansky, Richardson and Warner): The boom in domestic shale oil and gas production has increased U.S. prosperity and economic competitiveness. But the potential for this to enhance our national security remains largely unrealized.
The shale surge has boosted production by 50 percent for oil and 20 percent for gas over the last five years. Yet our political leaders are only just beginning to explore how it can help further national strategic interests.
We led a major study at the Center for a New American Security in the last year, bringing together a nonpartisan panel to examine national security implications of the unconventional energy boom. We decided that outdated idealization of “energy independence” is preventing the administration and Congress from focusing on current energy vulnerabilities and figuring out how Washington should secure our economic and security interests.
Though the United States now imports less oil than it has for more than a dozen years, we should not distance ourselves from international oil markets by pursuing full energy self-sufficiency. The best way to advance energy security is to remain engaged internationally with major energy players.
Read more: http://reut.rs/1iyeOys
Posted February 6, 2014
Trade Gap Shrank in 2013 as U.S. Fuel Exports Climbed
Bloomberg News: The U.S. trade deficit in 2013 was the smallest since 2009, even as it ticked up at year’s end, as rising fuel exports and falling imports propelled the world’s biggest economy further toward energy independence.
The gap narrowed to $471.5 billion last year, the lowest since 2009, from $534.7 billion in 2012, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The balance on petroleum products shrank 20.2 percent, also the biggest decline in four years.
Foreign sales went beyond fuel as demand for American-produced foods, capital equipment, autos and consumer goods all climbed to records in 2013, evidence of the rebound in global demand that will probably keep driving exports this year. Another report showing claims for jobless benefits dropped last week points to a healing in the U.S. labor market that will help boost consumer spending, ensuring imports also grow.
“The trade deficit will continue to narrow a bit over the course of 2014, mostly thanks to a smaller petroleum trade deficit,” said Ryan Wang, an economist at HSBC Securities USA Inc. in New York and the second-best trade forecaster over the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “We’ll see another year of moderate growth.”
Read more: http://bloom.bg/1lDQLmp
Posted February 5, 2014
Newsworthy today: Former U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, speaking at the North American Prospect Expo in Houston, notes that hydraulic fracturing is, in part, the reason America is enjoying an energy boom that is making the country more energy secure and energy self-sufficient. Salazar:
“We know that, from everything we’ve seen, there’s not a single case where hydraulic fracking has created an environmental problem for anyone. We need to make sure that story is told.”
Salazar also said the Keystone XL pipeline is a ‘win-win” for America:
“At the end of the day, we are going to be consuming that oil. So is it better for us to get the oil from our good neighbor from the north, or to be bringing it from some place in the Middle East?”