Posted October 26, 2015
A couple of reactions to last week’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval of drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) – which we’ll link to a larger conversation about the Obama administration’s oil and natural gas policies.
First, it’s good that BLM has cleared the way for ConocoPhillips to move forward with a $900 million project that includes construction of an 11.8-acre drilling pad in the 23 million-acre NPR-A. The Greater Mooses Tooth Unit (GMT1) project could host up to 33 wells and could reach a monthly production peak of 30,000 barrels per day. America needs the energy, and producing oil from the vast reserve that was originally set aside for energy development almost a century ago is a welcome step. ConocoPhillips’ Natalie Lowman:
“It’s good news. We’re pleased they issued the permit and the right-of-way and now we’re seeking a funding decision.”
BLM approving this one drilling permit prompts another set of reactions, starting with: It’s about time. And: What about energy development in the rest of the oil reserve?
Posted October 22, 2015
Recent reports assert that some of the world’s oil suppliers have had a strategy to curtail the U.S. energy revolution – and that the strategy has worked, citing U.S. Energy Information Administration data showing U.S. production in decline. Bloomberg this week:
After a year suffering the economic consequences of the oil price slump, OPEC is finally on the cusp of choking off growth in U.S. crude output. The nation’s production is almost back down to the level pumped in November 2014, when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries switched its strategy to focus on battering competitors and reclaiming market share.
Market decisions by major suppliers certainly have impact. Yet, focusing attention on factors beyond U.S. control misses factors under U.S. control that have a clear bearing on the trajectory of domestic oil production, economic growth and American security.
We’ll name a couple: continuing the outdated ban on U.S. oil exports and regulatory and process roadblocks that limit access to energy reserves and production. What we have is an administration whose self-sanctioning approach to U.S. energy is hurting American competitiveness in the global marketplace, to the benefit of other producers.
Posted September 29, 2015
U.S. oil and natural gas companies continue to lead in investing in the domestic economy, with five companies among the Progressive Policy Institute’s top 25 in 2014 U.S. capital expenditures.
ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Occidental Petroleum and Hess lead an energy production/mining sector that invested $43.6 billion in 2014, closely following the $48.7 invested by telecom/cable.
That’s great news for the U.S. economy which, as the PPI report details, needs investment to expand. PPI calls the top 25 its “investment heroes” because “their capital spending is helping to raise productivity and wages across the economy.”
Posted September 25, 2015
The Washington Post reports that a coalition of environmental activists wants the Obama administration to stop new federal leasing for oil and natural gas development. Notwithstanding the broad energy, economic and security benefits produced by America’s energy revolution, the opportunity to secure America’s future and significant air quality progress, their position is simple: Keep it in the ground.
The position also is extreme, anti-progress and anti-modern – though hardly surprising. There’s a small but loud element that has little interest in safe and responsible energy development or in constant improvement of operational and environmental safety. Rather, it opposes development altogether. Their recent push is the latest sign of an agenda that would put America in retreat economically and in the world.
What’s surprising is that these activists actually concede that Americans want oil and natural gas. They acknowledge consumer demand for oil and gas – affordable, reliable and portable fuels that make life less harsh, healthier and more prosperous – but they want government to choke off that demand by cutting supply.
Posted August 27, 2015
For as long as most younger Americans can recall, the United States has been barred from exporting crude oil – a self-inflicted sanction that’s at odds with our historical role as a global leader in both free trade and oil production. For them, that’s the way it has always been – the U.S. unilaterally excluding itself from the world’s most important energy marketplace.
Yet, history, economics and security imperatives all argue that it shouldn’t stay that way. Rather, U.S. oil exports policy should be restored to its former posture, to realign policy with this reality: America’s shale energy revolution, the most recent in a series of world-changing energy events, affords the U.S. a great opportunity, and that the U.S. should pursue every means possible to harness that revolution’s benefits – including resuming the export of domestic crude.
To start, policymakers must acknowledge a couple of things: First, that maintaining the oil export ban that was imposed after the 1973 embargo is hurting U.S. competitiveness in the global economy and limiting the benefits that could and should accrue to an energy superpower.
Posted August 25, 2015
Earlier this year at the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) annual conference in Washington, ClearView Energy Partners’ Christine Tezak described the Obama administration’s energy policy as “give a little, take a little,” further characterizing it as “transitioning from scarcity to adequacy.”
It’s accurate. Handed a generational opportunity by America’s energy revolution to advance U.S. economic and security interests, the administration has responded by alternately embracing oil and natural gas development (in limited ways) and working to corral it. Given the chance to build a comprehensive, long-term energy strategy to carry the United States safely into mid-century, the administration has played “small ball” on the energy development side while unleashing a flood of unnecessary, self-limiting proposals largely untethered to scientific and economic analysis.
Posted August 20, 2015
Some observations on this week’s federal oil and natural gas lease sale in the Western Gulf of Mexico, reported with alarm by some media outlets because it wasn’t as large as other recent sales.
First, every lease sale is welcome. Access to U.S. offshore reserves represents opportunity for energy development, job creation, economic growth and greater American energy security. We need more offshore opportunities to support the strategic, long-term energy security of the United States – advanced by a robust offshore energy sector.
Posted July 23, 2015
At an event last month, API President and CEO Jack Gerard sketched the broad outlines for a national conversation on energy, connecting energy policy with the approaching 2016 elections. It’s an appropriate linkage.
Our country has become a global energy superpower thanks largely to private innovation and entrepreneurship, which have created a generational opportunity – “the American moment,” Gerard called it. Sustaining the energy revolution requires vision, right policies and action – and the right leadership, which is why the 2016 vote matters. The energy path to help spur economic growth and prosperity and to increase national security is one that should transcend party politics.
Posted June 25, 2015
The U.S. Interior Department is out with its Economic Report for Fiscal Year 2014 – which doesn’t sound like it would be a whole lot of fun reading. But the report actually contains some pretty important bits of information.
For example, you get a clear sense that Interior Department activities support jobs and economic growth, which are good things. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell called her department a “powerful economic engine.” More Jewell:
“Our parks and public lands support outdoor recreation, promote renewable energy and allow us to harness other domestic energy resources, create jobs and promote economic development in communities across all 50 states.”
It’s the “other domestic energy resources” that caught our eye.
Posted June 25, 2015
Let’s get into some of the detail in the new Wood Mackenzie study that was released this week, starting with the implications for domestic energy supply, found in two vastly different energy paths that U.S. policymakers could take. As the study details, the path we choose will affect energy production, job creation, the economy and the lives of individual Americans.
For context, recall that Wood Mackenzie’s study compared two energy policy paths – one that embraces pro-development, and one that’s characterized by regulatory constraints. Certainly, the constrained path actually would just continue a number of the policies the current administration is advancing.