Posted March 17, 2014
Happy birthday, fracking! What a fantastic, 65-year ride it has been – and here’s to another 65 years and more.
Advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling launched an oil and natural gas renaissance in this country – bringing dynamic job creation, economic stimulus that radiates well beyond the oil and natural gas industry proper and greater energy security. Thanks to fracking, the United States is an energy superpower that, with the right policies, can harness its vast resources to ensure a significantly better future for its citizens while reducing energy-related tension across the globe.
Posted February 25, 2014
American Shale Gas and Tight Oil: Reshaping the Global Energy Balance
IHS Unconventional Energy Blog: The development of shale gas and tight oil in the United States constitutes an “unconventional revolution,” owing to its scale and speed. It is already having a profound global impact: upending energy markets, reshaping competitiveness in the world economy, and portending major shifts in global politics.
The unconventional revolution was born out of advances in two technologies. Hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — was introduced at the end of the 1940s. Efforts to apply this technique to dense shale in Texas began in the early 1980s. But it took two decades to perfect the combination of fracking and horizontal drilling that would drive the new boom. And it wasn’t until 2008 that these techniques began to have a major impact.
Since then, however, growth has been remarkable. Shale gas currently accounts for nearly half of U.S. natural gas production, and U.S. prices have fallen to one third of European levels and one-fifth of Asian levels. Tight oil, produced with the same techniques as shale gas, has led to a 60 percent rise in U.S. oil production since 2008. This increase of three million barrels per day is larger than the national output of nine of the 13 OPEC countries. The International Energy Agency predicts that the U.S. will soon overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s largest oil producer.
Posted February 24, 2014
Energy Trade is a Key Part of Overall U.S. Trade Flows
EIA Energy Today: Energy trade has long been a key component of overall U.S. trade flows. Recent developments in U.S. energy production, notably the rapid growth of tight oil and shale gas output, are leading to significant changes in the nation's energy trade flows. Another important factor is consumption trends, which reflect both increased efficiency of vehicles and other energy-using equipment, and structural changes in the economy. This article, which focuses on current energy trade in the context of overall trade flows, will be followed by several others in the coming days that consider the evolution of trade flows in major energy fuel categories since 2002.
As shown in the figure above, overall U.S. trade includes both goods and services but is dominated by goods. In 2013, as in other recent years, the United States was a net importer of goods and a net exporter of services. Energy accounted for 15% of gross U.S. goods imports in 2013, while energy exports, which have grown significantly in recent years, accounted for 7% of overall U.S. goods exports. Focusing on the net U.S. trade position, shown by the black line in the chart above, net energy imports account for nearly half of the total U.S. trade deficit in goods and services.
Posted February 21, 2014
Well-Being in America: Shale Gas Buys You Happiness
The Economist: Based on interviews with more than 178,000 people from all 50 states, the Well-Being Index offers an interesting glimpse of the physical and mental health of the nation. It also spotlights the country's winners and losers. The results divide regionally, with Midwestern and Western states earning nine of the ten best scores in 2013, while Southern states have eight of the ten lowest. Massachusetts has the highest rate of residents with health insurance (which may bode well for Obamacare). Colorado, meanwhile, nearly always has the lowest obesity rate.
Sitting pretty in first place now is North Dakota, which has displaced Hawaii as the state where people are most likely to be healthy and feel good about their life and work. North Dakota’s speedy climb to first place from 19 last year seems to have a lot to do with the shale-gas boom, which has buoyed the state with lots of new jobs and money. This bonanza has apparently trickled into South Dakota, which has elbowed aside Colorado to secure second place.
Posted February 20, 2014
Welcome to ‘Saudi Texas’
U.S. News & World Report (Laskoski): To fully appreciate what many of us may simply take for granted — that the Lone Star state produces oil as easily as McDonald’s produces hamburgers — it sometimes helps to look elsewhere to appreciate the actual scale by which we should view such things.
The Associated Press reported this month that North Dakota produced 313 million barrels of oil in 2013, a record amount, and about 70 million more than it produced in 2012. For North Dakota, that’s six consecutive years of record oil production. State data shows that the 185 oil rigs working there now double the amount from four years ago. And you’ve certainly heard about the economic boom and jobs growth that has drawn thousands from all across the country seeking their fortune.
But when your attention is drawn to the Texas oil boom, that discussion takes place on another plane because of the previously inaccessible shale wealth that transforms state economies via fracking. Jonathan Cogan of the Energy Information Administration noted this week that production in the Eagle Ford formation in South Texas reached 1.2 million barrels per day in December. Additionally, production from the Permian Basin averaged 1.3 million bpd and is projected to grow more than any other U.S. region through 2015.
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.