Posted February 21, 2014
Well-Being in America: Shale Gas Buys You Happiness
The Economist: Based on interviews with more than 178,000 people from all 50 states, the Well-Being Index offers an interesting glimpse of the physical and mental health of the nation. It also spotlights the country's winners and losers. The results divide regionally, with Midwestern and Western states earning nine of the ten best scores in 2013, while Southern states have eight of the ten lowest. Massachusetts has the highest rate of residents with health insurance (which may bode well for Obamacare). Colorado, meanwhile, nearly always has the lowest obesity rate.
Sitting pretty in first place now is North Dakota, which has displaced Hawaii as the state where people are most likely to be healthy and feel good about their life and work. North Dakota’s speedy climb to first place from 19 last year seems to have a lot to do with the shale-gas boom, which has buoyed the state with lots of new jobs and money. This bonanza has apparently trickled into South Dakota, which has elbowed aside Colorado to secure second place.
Posted February 20, 2014
Welcome to ‘Saudi Texas’
U.S. News & World Report (Laskoski): To fully appreciate what many of us may simply take for granted — that the Lone Star state produces oil as easily as McDonald’s produces hamburgers — it sometimes helps to look elsewhere to appreciate the actual scale by which we should view such things.
The Associated Press reported this month that North Dakota produced 313 million barrels of oil in 2013, a record amount, and about 70 million more than it produced in 2012. For North Dakota, that’s six consecutive years of record oil production. State data shows that the 185 oil rigs working there now double the amount from four years ago. And you’ve certainly heard about the economic boom and jobs growth that has drawn thousands from all across the country seeking their fortune.
But when your attention is drawn to the Texas oil boom, that discussion takes place on another plane because of the previously inaccessible shale wealth that transforms state economies via fracking. Jonathan Cogan of the Energy Information Administration noted this week that production in the Eagle Ford formation in South Texas reached 1.2 million barrels per day in December. Additionally, production from the Permian Basin averaged 1.3 million bpd and is projected to grow more than any other U.S. region through 2015.
Posted February 19, 2014
The Geopolitical Consequences of the Shale Revolution
Foreign Affairs (Blackwell and O’Sullivan): Only five years ago, the world’s supply of oil appeared to be peaking, and as conventional gas production declined in the United States, it seemed that the country would become dependent on costly natural gas imports. But in the years since, those predictions have proved spectacularly wrong. Global energy production has begun to shift away from traditional suppliers in Eurasia and the Middle East, as producers tap unconventional gas and oil resources around the world, from the waters of Australia, Brazil, Africa, and the Mediterranean to the oil sands of Alberta. The greatest revolution, however, has taken place in the United States, where producers have taken advantage of two newly viable technologies to unlock resources once deemed commercially infeasible: horizontal drilling, which allows wells to penetrate bands of shale deep underground, and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which uses the injection of high-pressure fluid to release gas and oil from rock formations.
Posted February 18, 2014
U.S. Energy Secretary Says Fracking Brings Prosperity
Capital New York: ALBANY—U.S. energy secretary Ernest Moniz said Andrew Cuomo should consider the economic prosperity fracking has brought to Pennsylvania as he weighs a ban in New York.
Natural gas produced by fracking has boosted American industry by more than $100 billion and lowered CO2 emissions, Moniz said, in an interview with Capital.
“This new resource is of critical importance. If you look at Pennsylvania, it's amazing, in the Marcellus shale,” he said. “They have gone from a very, very minor contributor to the national natural gas production, to nearly 20 percent in a remarkably short period. And as we know, that has had enormous economic benefits for the state. Obviously, New York will presumably take that as one of the factors to be considered in its decision.”
Moniz acknowledged that high-volume hydraulic fracturing presents environmental challenges, but said it can also be done safely. Proper management of wells is important including minimizing water usage as well as recycling and the careful monitoring of surface water and flow back fluids.
Posted February 13, 2014
Fuel Fix Blog: While the January jobs report was a disappointing for the national economy, it brought good news about growth in oil and gas.
About 206,000 employees worked in the oil and gas extraction sector in January, about 1.8 percent more than in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nationwide, total employment was relatively stagnant at a seasonally adjusted 137.5 million.
The employment story was positive across sectors of the energy industry. Manufacturing of petroleum and coal products had 112,700 employees on payrolls, a 1.6 percent increase from December. The chemicals sector grew by 1.2 percent to 796,100 people.
Posted February 13, 2014
What They’ve Said About Keystone XL: Build It!
It’s hard to overstate the broad-based nature of political support for the Keystone XL pipeline, support that stems from the project’s benefits: upwards of 830,000 barrels a day of oil from Canada’s oil sands and the U.S. Bakken region, 42,100 jobsduring the pipeline’s construction phase, strengthened energy security – with the Keystone XL playing an integral role in a broad strategy that could see 100 percent of U.S. liquid fuel needs met domestically and from Canada.
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 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.