Posted August 31, 2015
More about last week’s Commerce Department decision to allow U.S. crude oil swaps with Mexico – basically, a positive step in the direction of lifting America’s 1970s-era ban on exporting domestic crude.
An analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says the exchange of light U.S. oil for heavier Mexican oil will generate economic and environmental benefits. The economic piece certainly is consistent with a number of studies that say lifting the ban and exporting domestic crude will generate broad benefits for our economy and savings at the pump for U.S. consumers, while spurring domestic production.
Posted August 28, 2015
When President Obama arrives in Alaska on Monday, he is expected to spend much of his time talking about climate. From a White House explainer on the president’s visit:
… President Obama will travel to Alaska and shine a spotlight on what Alaskans in particular have come to know: Climate change is one of the biggest threats we face, it is being driven by human activity, and it is disrupting Americans’ lives right now.
What the president should hear is that the people of Alaska, one of the most energy resource-rich states in the Union, embrace both energy development and climate and environmental goals. They’ve lived that embrace and depend on it. They’re wary of Washington disrupting the relationship. While the Obama administration has approved Shell’s exploratory drilling in the waters off the state’s northern coast, it also has moved to exclude energy development in other state areas.
Posted August 17, 2015
Late last week the Obama administration gave the go-ahead for limited domestic crude oil exports to Mexico, a positive move on oil exports – yet one that immediately underscores this question: Why stop there?
According to the Associated Press, license applications approved by the Commerce Department allow the exchange of similar amounts of U.S. and Mexican crude, a swap. The U.S. would send an as-yet unspecified amount of light crude to Mexico in exchange for heavier Mexican crude. AP:
While the Commerce Department simultaneously rejected other applications for crude exports that violated the ban, the move to allow trading with Mexico marked a significant shift and an additional sign that the Obama administration may be open to loosening the export ban. Exchanges of oil are one of a handful of exemptions permitted under the export ban put in place by Congress.
Two things: First, the arrangement with Mexico, while limited in scope, nonetheless is the administration affirming the inherent benefits of trade. The light crude in the deal represents some of the domestic oil that’s accumulating and trading at a discount to global prices, unable to reach the world market because it’s shut in by an outdated, anti-competitive oil exports ban. Second, the U.S. needs to go further.
Posted July 10, 2015
The compelling case for lifting America’s decades-old ban on exporting domestic crude oil is multi-faceted.
There's the economic case, with NERA Economic Consulting estimated that lifting the ban could add $200 billion to $1.8 trillion to the U.S. economy between now and 2039. There's the case for consumers, with a variety of studies indicating that lifting the ban could lower prices at the fuel pump from 1.7 cents per gallon to up to 12 cents per gallon. There's the foreign policy case and the way home-grown crude oil could affect global relationships, helping allies and potentially neutralizing the ability of adversaries to use energy as a diplomatic weapon. Then there's the energy case. Domestic production, spurred by greater access to global crude markets, could grow by 2.1 million barrels per day to 4.3 million barrels per day over levels under the status quo, according to NERA.
Certainly, each of these was argued again at a pair of Capitol Hill hearings, one by the House Agriculture Committee (video) and another by the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee (video).
Posted June 24, 2015
Houston Chronicle – The oil industry’s leading trade group on Tuesday kicked off its 2016 political campaigning, with plans to air issue advertising and hold events in battleground states.
The American Petroleum Institute launched its “Vote 4 Energy” with a pledge to stay above the partisan fray while ensuring that energy policy is part of the political discussion leading up to the November 2016 elections.
The group released a Wood Mackenzie study that it said illustrated the stark choice facing voters, by modeling how two different regulatory approaches to oil and gas would affect domestic production of those fossil fuels and economic activity related to them.
Under a relatively hands-off scenario with “pro-development” policies, the United States would gain 2.3 million U.S. jobs and $443 billion in economic activity by 2035, according to the API-commissioned analysis. Oil and natural gas production, meanwhile, would jump by 8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, the study predicted.
Posted June 23, 2015
We spend a good deal of time trying to highlight the enormous potential of American energy – in terms of jobs, growth to our economy, greater energy security and more. It’s a big deal. The ongoing U.S. energy revolution is a game-changer – built on safe, responsible domestic oil and natural gas development.
Yet, there’s a caveat: Energy development hinges on energy policy. And as the 2016 election cycle nears, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of choosing policymakers who: (a) recognize the generational opportunities being afforded by American energy, and (b) understand the need for policy paths and regulatory approaches that will sustain and grow our country’s energy renaissance.
The major findings in a new Wood Mackenzie study show in clear terms the stakes for all Americans in choosing the right leadership for the country’s energy future. Wood Mackenzie analyzed and compared the impacts in seven major areas of a future characterized by pro-development policies and also one characterized by regulatory constraints.
Posted June 5, 2015
OK, so EPA says safe hydraulic fracturing isn’t a threat to the nation’s drinking water. That’s great news for America’s energy revolution, which is being driven by advanced fracking and horizontal drilling. Without them there’s no revolution and certainly fewer jobs and less economic opportunity. Thanks, EPA, for following the science and recognizing – as industry has for some time, producing specific best practices for fracking – that the focus should be on continually improving safe operations and advancing technologies. These will help ensure our energy revolution goes forward.
Now, let’s talk about another country’s energy revolution – one that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in the U.S. beyond the unfortunate, protracted debate over the Keystone XL pipeline. Canada’s own energy revolution is at the heart of the U.S.-Canadian relationship and is so integral to U.S. security. The vitality of Canadian energy is something more Americans should care about, as it bears directly and indirectly on our lives in a number of ways.
Posted May 11, 2015
Vice President Joe Biden underscored the administration’s call for infrastructure spending during a Bloomberg Government event that focused on the country’s deteriorating delivery and transportation systems.
Highlights include: The Washington politics of infrastructure spending is challenging. “The idea that there is a debate on the Hill on the need to invest in infrastructure is mind blowing,” Biden said. The world’s energy epicenter is North America, and the U.S. needs major investments in energy infrastructure. “We will face a national security dilemma” if we don’t enhance our energy infrastructure, he said. Companies need to have certainty that they can get their products to market efficiently.
Let’s pause a moment and consider these valid points on infrastructure from the vantage point of this administration’s crowning infrastructure decision (or non-decision): the Keystone XL pipeline.
In the Keystone XL, the administration has had the opportunity – for more than six years – to green light $5.4 billion in private infrastructure spending that would create jobs, boost the economy and transport oil from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region – reliably and safely – to our Gulf Coast refineries, enhancing America’s energy security. All with the simple stroke of the president’s pen.
Posted May 6, 2015
The opportunity to stimulate increased domestic production of oil and natural gas, create jobs, spur the economy and enhance America’s ability to positively shape world events is at hand – waiting only on the stroke of a pen. Lifting the United States’ four-decades-old ban on crude oil exports could help advance all of the above, and it all could be launched with the stroke of a pen.
Encana President and CEO Doug Suttles and API President and CEO Jack Gerard emphasized the relative ease with which the 1970s-era export ban could be ended, as well as the building political momentum for action, during a conference call with reporters.
Gerard said the ban could be lifted through the exercise of presidential authority or by the president signing legislation from Congress. Gerard:
“There is a consensus building in the country. We see strong bipartisan support in the House and now rolling in the Senate. So overall, we think the momentum continues to build as people better understand all of the issues. … Job creation, benefit to our trade imbalance, revenues to government, lowering the price at the pump. … It’s just a matter of time now before that pen is deployed to allow this to happen.”
Posted May 4, 2015
USA Today: The U.S. economy may not be benefiting as much as anticipated from the collapse in oil prices over the past 10 months. In fact, for oil-producing states, the decline of some 50% is taking a toll.
But one thing seems clear: The nation as a whole is nowhere near as susceptible to sharp swings in oil prices — one way or the other — as it was for decades.
That was the message from Jason Furman, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and President Obama's chief economist, at a New York forum held by the Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy.
Furman spoke one day before the U.S. government reported an annual growth rate of just 0.2% for the nation's gross domestic production from January through March, down substantially from a 2.2% pace in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Among the factors was consumer spending, which rose by only 1.9% in the first quarter compared with a 4.4% increase in the previous quarter.
Consumers proved slow to spend their savings from lower gasoline prices, savings that economists estimate at $700 per household, as Furman pointed out. But that reluctance may change soon, to the benefit of the nation's economy, he added.