Posted May 28, 2014
In my former role as assistant secretary of energy at the Department of Energy and my current position as executive director of Rice University's Energy and Environment Initiative, we are constantly challenged by this responsibility of energy sustainability in the utilization of fossil fuels. Our future will be determined by increasing energy requirements on a global basis for electricity, fuels and chemicals to meet a doubling of world demand by 2050. Fossil fuels will continue to be more than 80 percent of the world's fuel supply in 2050, as cited by the International Energy Agency, so it is not "if" we will be consuming coal, oil and natural gas, but "how." We must have a genuine "all of the above" energy strategy, and to do so, we must invest in fossil-fuel technology to ensure energy sustainability.
Posted March 14, 2014
More on the growing discussion of how North America’s energy renaissance – led by surging oil and natural gas production – affects U.S. energy and national security and gives our country the chance to positively impact global stability. A part of that conversation is the significant role the Keystone XL pipeline could play in securing our energy future, allowing our country to have greater influence abroad.
Posted March 5, 2014
Politico reports (sub req'd) that the Energy Department plans to stick with its “case-by-case” approach to approving natural gas export projects – even as some policymakers say speeding up the process would send a strong signal that the United States is a leader in global energy markets, expanding its ability to broaden supply options and defuse energy-related standoffs like the one playing out between Russia and Ukraine.
Posted January 23, 2014
What The Captain & Tennille Teach Us About Energy Policy
Forbes: Love apparently didn’t keep the ’70s pop duo Captain & Tennille together.Toni Tennille has filed for divorce from Daryl Dragon after 39 years of marriage. Just as the pair’s most famous standard now rings false, so does our 1970′s notion of energy security. For the past 40 years, U.S. energy policy has been married to the idea of scarcity. Following the oil embargoes of the 1970s, we built policies, from export bans to ethanol mandates, based on the idea that we would forever be at the mercy of other oil-producing nations.
The hydraulic fracturing boom, however, has changed all that. North America is undergoing an energy renaissance. Domestic crude oil production has reached parity with imports, and the International Energy Agency predicts the U.S. may become the world’s largest energy producer as early as next year. Yet our policies remain stuck in the dark ages of scarcity. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are resisting efforts to lift the 1970s-era ban on crude exports, citing issues of “energy security.”
As Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., told the Wall Street Journal: “If we overturn decades of law and send our oil to China and other markets, oil companies might make more money per barrel, but it will be American consumers and our national security that will pay the price.”
There’s a difference between ensuring our energy security and hoarding resources. With our newfound abundance, security comes through continued development of domestic reserves.
Read more: http://onforb.es/KMM7kV
Posted January 22, 2014
EIA Today in Energy: The 2014 Annual Energy Outlook projects declines in U.S. oil and natural gas imports as a result of increasing domestic production from tight oil and shale plays. U.S. liquid fuels net imports as a share of consumption is projected to decline from a high of 60% in 2005, and about 40% in 2012, to about 25% by 2016. The United States is also projected to become a net exporter of natural gas by 2018.
Conversely, other major economies are likely to become increasingly reliant on imported liquid fuels and natural gas. China, India, and OECD Europe will each import at least 65% of their oil and 35% of their natural gas by 2020—becoming more like Japan, which relies on imports for more than 95% of its oil and gas consumption.
The reasons for these shifts are different between emerging and developed economies. In China and India, oil demand growth from emergent middle classes will likely outpace domestic production, while OECD Europe will likely become more import reliant as a result of declining oil production in the North Sea.
Read more: http://1.usa.gov/1g1pCqW
Posted January 17, 2014
David Ignatius has an important column in the Washington Post this week on America’s energy boom –the result of greatly expanded domestic oil and natural gas production and an “all of the above” approach to energy policy. Ignatius writes:
For decades, Americans have talked about “energy policy” as if it were the political equivalent of a migraine. The phrase connoted pain — in ever-rising gas prices, costly government schemes and dependence on imports from precarious Middle East regimes. But recent developments involving energy production and technology have been so astonishing that they should puncture this long-running pessimism. The amazing fact is that, on nearly every front, America’s energy prospects have improved in ways that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. In the energy marketplace, President Obama’s vision of an “all of the above” strategy is actually happening. Production of oil, gas and alternative energy is rising, even as demand begins falling for these energy sources — all thanks to new technology. The market forces driving these changes are so powerful that even politicians probably can’t screw them up.
Ignatius highlights data we’ve previously seen from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), projecting that the U.S. will produce nearly 9.6 million barrels of oil per day by 2016, a level not seen since 1970 – thanks largely to vast shale deposits and advanced hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
Posted January 8, 2014
Below is a video clip from API President and CEO Jack Gerard’s State of American Energy speech this week, detailing strong support from Americans for increased production of U.S. oil and natural gas – because this development translates into millions of good jobs.
Posted January 6, 2014
Fracking 101: Breaking Down the most Important Part of Today’s Oil, Gas Drilling
Greeley Tribune: Fracking, the two- to three-day process of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas, is perhaps one of the most misunderstood drilling practices, becoming as bad of a word in some circles as a racial slur.
Entire countries have banned the process. Some Colorado towns have placed moratoriums to study it further.
Environmentalists storm capitals over it, demanding increased regulations, and oil and gas company employees and officials scratch their heads — they’ve been using the same process in oil and gas drilling for 60 years without widespread incidents.
“It’s a perplexing issue,” said Collin Richardson, vice president of operations for Mineral Resources Inc., who opened up a company fracking job last fall to a student tour from the University of Northern Colorado. “People go to a light switch and expect energy to be there, but they don’t think about where it comes from. I don’t think most people understand that without hydraulic fracturing, we wouldn’t have natural gas to provide electricity to our homes or gas in our cars.
Read more: http://bit.ly/1gc41Z7
Posted January 2, 2014
Shale-Oil Boom Puts Spotlight on Crude Export Ban
Wall Street Journal: The U.S. government virtually banned the export of crude oil in the wake of the mid-1970s energy crisis. But as America pumps more crude, 2014 could be the year those constraints are lifted.
For decades, even discussing the possibility of exporting domestic oil was a political nonstarter in Washington. Now, surging U.S. production has led to the beginning of a glut along the Gulf Coast, home to the largest refinery complex in the world. Too much crude is driving down prices there, making producers eager to export some of their oil to places like Europe where prices are higher.
Read more (subscription publication): http://on.wsj.com/1d2nGfN
Posted December 30, 2013
Vaclav Smil’s Graph of the Year: The Natural Gas Boom
Washington Post: "[There are] too many choices possible, but here is one epoch-making trend: as the post-2008 rise of hydraulic fracturing drove U.S. natural gas prices down and increased the supply (in 2013 the U.S. will be again the world’s largest natural gas producer) oil and gas prices, traditionally moving in tandem, have diverged significantly. History is being made."