Posted August 1, 2014
Wall Street Journal (Merrill Matthews Opinion): The growing efforts by state and local governments to stop hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to extract natural gas could end up in the Supreme Court. These efforts may unconstitutionally limit property owners' ability to profit from their mineral rights.
More than 170 New York towns and cities have used zoning laws to restrict or prohibit fracking, and in June New York's Supreme Court turned back a challenge to this practice. Pennsylvania allows local municipalities to restrict fracking. Colorado and California are struggling with the issue.
Even in pro-energy Texas, the relatively small town of Denton, about 30 miles north of Dallas, has a fracking moratorium while the city considers whether to impose a permanent ban. At a recent contentious Denton city council meeting in which 500 people attended, the council moved to let voters decide in November.
Nevertheless, landowners and drillers are threatening to sue Denton if a ban is implemented. They may have a case.
Posted July 31, 2014
Houston Chronicle (Editorial): Fracking is more effective than bullets when it comes to containing Russian President Vladimir Putin's Soviet-era ambitions.
Empowered by oil funds and a gas pipeline yoke on Europe, Putin has resuscitated a Cold War ethos of nationalism and expansionism. Yet after the invasion of Crimea and Russian militias seizing sections of eastern Ukraine, it seemed as if Europe's red line was located somewhere a few miles east of the Brandenburg Gate. It took the attack on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to finally shock Europe back to reality, where Russia stands as a legitimate threat to a peaceful continent.
These aggressive moves have gained Russia few friends, but as Tsar Alexander III once said, Russia's only allies are its army and its navy. For the 21st century, pipelines should be added to that list. And that is where the United States must focus containment efforts.
Our allies are far too reliant on Russian pipelines to truly oppose Putin's aggression - there's a reason why the new technology sanctions against Russia don't apply to natural gas.
Posted July 30, 2014
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Teaming up with the oil and gas industry might sound strange for a strong believer in solar power, but for David Jason, it’s just smart business.
“The entire solar industry has kind of shunned the oil and gas industry,” Mr. Jason said. “I think they see it as a business, where a lot of people in solar see it as a cause. I see it as both.”
Mr. Jason is co-owner of Green Roads Energy, a solar distribution company in Mt. Lebanon. He has been involved in various solar projects in the region, and now he’s turning his sights on the oil and gas industry.
The plan? To provide oil and gas companies with customized solar panels to generate power at remote well sites to reduce fuel costs and eliminate the need for diesel generators or transmission lines.
Mr. Jason is not the first to come up with this idea. The use of solar applications at drill sites is becoming much more common, according to Ken Johnson, communications director for the Solar Energy Industries Association, a nonprofit trade group based in Washington, D.C.
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 22, 2014
AEI Carpe Diem Blog:
The chart above helps to illustrate the significance of America’s shale oil and gas boom by showing the combined domestic output of US oil and gas (in quadrillion BTUs, EIA data here). After production of conventional oil and gas peaked around 1970 at almost 45 quadrillion BTUs, there was a gradual, steady decline that continued until about 2005, when combined production had dropped to a 43-year low of 31.85 quadrillion BTUs, the lowest level since 1962. If that trend had continued, the US would now be producing only about 30 quadrillion BTUs of oil and gas (or less), which would have put us back to the production level of the late 1950s.
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 July 2, 2014
Oil and Gas Journal: Crude oil production in the US during April totaled 8.4 million b/d, with Texas and North Dakota accounting for 4 million b/d, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration's Petroleum Supply Monthly Report.
Texas production reached 3 million b/d for the first time since the late 1970s, more than doubling production in the past 3 years. North Dakota production, meanwhile, surpassed 1 million b/d for the first time in the state’s history, almost tripling its production over the same period.
Crude production volumes in North Dakota and Texas from April 2010 to April 2014 increased at average rates of 37%/year and 28%/year, respectively, compared with 2%/year average growth in the rest of the country.
During that period, North Dakota’s and Texas’s combined share of total US crude production rose to 48% from 26%, as the Gulf of Mexico’s crude production share declined to 17% from 27%.
Posted May 23, 2014
Bloomberg Businessweek: Mark Hiduke recently raised $100 million to build his three-week-old company. The 27-year-old isn’t a Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur. He’s a Texas oilman.
Now that a breakthrough in shale drilling technology has U.S. oil and gas production booming, an aging workforce is welcoming a new generation of wildcatters, engineers, and aspiring oil barons. After years of failing to attract and retain young talent, the industry is suddenly brimming with upstart millennials such as Hiduke—oil and gas veterans call it “the great crew change.” “I’ve never seen an industry do what the oil and gas industry has done in the last 10 years,” says T. Boone Pickens, the 86-year-old oilman. “Ten years ago I could not have made this statement that you have picked the right career.”
Posted April 30, 2014
Albany Business Review: Some New York farmers, particularly those living in the state's Southern Tier, are in favor of high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Steuben County dairy farmer Terry Waters, 60, said it would "pull us out of the hole."
As farmers like Waters continue to face financial hardship due to rising costs, they are seeing their counterparts in Pennsylvania benefiting from the natural gas resources located underneath their properties.
Posted April 29, 2014
The vast majority of economists surveyed this month by The Associated Press say lifting restrictions on exports of oil and natural gas would help the economy even if it meant higher fuel prices for consumers.
More exports would encourage investment in oil and gas production and transport, create jobs, make oil and gas supplies more stable and reduce the U.S. trade deficit, they say.