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 We decided that outdated idealization of “energy independence” is preventing the administration and Congress from focusing on current energy vulnerabilities and figuring out how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?”
Posted February 4, 2014
Free the Keystone XL Pipeline, Mr. President
Los Angeles Times: Welcome to the "year of action." In last week's State of the Union address, the president vowed to do whatever he has to help the economy, even if that means working around Congress: "What I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require congressional action, and I'm eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do."
The White House has touted the fact the president has a "phone and a pen" and he's not afraid to use them.
The president also vowed to cut red tape, and not for the first time. In 2013's State of the Union, he insisted that "my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits." And in 2012: "In the next few weeks, I will sign an executive order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects."
Read more: http://lat.ms/1eRaGFu
Posted February 3, 2014
Posted January 28, 2014
Manufacturers to D.C.: Make Us a Can-Do Nation Again
Real Clear Politics (Oberhelman/Timmons): President Obama has highlighted manufacturing in his past two State of the Union addresses. Two years ago, he cited an agenda that “begins with American manufacturing” as part of a broader “blueprint for an economy that’s built to last.” Last year, he reiterated manufacturing’s critical importance to economic recovery, stating, “Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.” Odds are manufacturing will make another appearance this year, with familiar rhetoric that receives bipartisan applause. Unfortunately, rhetoric alone won’t get the job done. We need policymakers to do what manufacturers in the United States do every day: Make tough decisions that get results.
This year, we are issuing a challenge in advance of the State of the Union address. Over the next year, the president and Congress, in partnership with manufacturers and the entire private sector, must work together on a broad-based agenda to spur long-term economic growth and employment. If we do, we can:
Create more than 20,000 manufacturing jobs per month;
Grow industrial production by at least 4.5 percent annually; and
Grow the economy by at least 3.5 percent annually.
Read more: http://bit.ly/MbgZwi
Posted January 27, 2014
Free America’s Energy Future: Drop Washington’s Counterproductive Oil and Natural Gas Ban
Forbes (Doug Bandow): For years people have been told to expect a dismal energy future. But because of rapid free market innovation, Americans now can look forward to a future of energy abundance. The U.S. could even become a leading exporter—if Washington gets out of the way.
Successive presidents and Congresses imposed controls, approved subsidies, created bureaucracies, and issued proclamations. The most common commitment was to achieve “energy independence.” But President Ronald Reagan set the stage for today’s energy advances by unilaterally eliminating oil price controls and pushing Congress to drop natural gas price and use restrictions.
His successors, however, have regressed back to expensive social engineering. George W. Bush declared war on the common light bulb. Barack Obama poured billions into the coffers of well-connected alternative energy firms, several of which, such as Solyndra, have gone bankrupt. And everyone continued to support the authoritarian Gulf kleptocracies, led by Saudi Arabia, to ensure access to imported oil.
Yet an energy revolution is underway. Observed Mark P. Mills, an Adjunct Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, “The game-changing technologies that have emerged involve hydrocarbons: natural gas, oil, and coal.” Major advances have been made in locating and extracting resources—such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—and operating in more distant and hostile environments.
Read more: http://onforb.es/1f7kRXN
Posted January 16, 2014
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy laid out a road map for energy policy yesterday. Energy Works for US focuses on nine energy areas including removing barriers to increased domestic oil and natural gas production, modernizing the federal permitting process, regulation reform, and ensuring a competitive workforce.
Chamber CEO Tom Donohue spoke on America’s energy renaissance and opportunities for the future:
“Energy is absolutely essential. We have an opportunity to transform our country from one that is dependent on imports to an energy exporter. The U.S. has such energy reserves; we shouldn’t be reliant on foreign sources.”