Posted June 14, 2016
Advanced hydraulic fracturing – the foundation of America’s historic, game-changing energy revolution – is under attack. On the presidential campaign trail, in conversations in Washington and other places, fracking faces ideologically motivated challenges from those who ignore its science and misrepresent its safety record.
It’s critically important that we have an honest conversation about hydraulic fracturing because it is responsible for at least 2 million wells and up to 95 percent of new wells being drilled – accounting for more than 43 percent of oil and 67 percent of natural gas production. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that fracking, which now accounts for about half of U.S. dry natural gas production (14 trillion cubic feet or Tcf), will account for 69 percent of production in 2040 (29 Tcf).
This is significant because increased use of clean-burning natural gas is the primary reason the United States is leading the world in reducing energy-associated carbon emissions. Without fracking and the natural gas produced by it, the United States would be with the other nations of the world who’re in search of climate solutions.
Posted May 20, 2016
Near year’s end the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is scheduled to release its offshore oil and natural gas leasing program for 2017-2022.
For more than a year BOEM has methodically worked to craft a program that will blueprint offshore development into the next decade and beyond, developing drafts, receiving comments from the public as well as inputs from elected officials in affected states.
With the United States emerging as the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas, planning America’s offshore oil and gas development has never been more important. The United States must have an offshore oil and natural gas program that reflects America’s energy superpower status.
Posted April 14, 2016
Take a look at details of API’s energy policy recommendations to the two political parties from this week’s Vote4Energy event. They include access to oil and natural gas resources and an approach to oversight that fosters the goal of safe and responsible energy development.
Access is critically important, especially when you’re talking about developing offshore oil and natural gas reserves. Today, 87 percent of offshore acreage under federal control remains off limits to energy development.
Posted February 17, 2016
It’s all possible due to hydraulic fracturing and advances in horizontal drilling. According to the Energy Department, at least 2 million oil and natural gas wells have been hydraulically fractured in this country, including up to 95 percent of new wells that account for more than 43 percent of U.S. oil production and 67 percent of its natural gas production.
Posted January 20, 2016
Last week we made the point that America’s ongoing energy revolution is the main reason the United States is the world’s leading producer of oil and natural gas – a renaissance that is reducing oil imports and benefiting consumers in the form of lower prices at the pump. The same energy surge also is a leading reason the U.S. is leading the world inreducing carbon pollution.
These points argue for sustaining and growing domestic production – instead of trying to “transition away” from it, as the president said during last week’s State of the Union address. Turning our backs on vast public oil and gas resources – instead of safely developing them – would throw away a generational opportunity to strengthen America’s energy security, lift the economy, help U.S. consumers and aid friends overseas. It’s a shortsighted approach – especially when the U.S. model of increased domestic production, economic growth and emissions reduction is already working.
Safe, responsible hydraulic fracturing is the engine of America’s energy revolution.
Posted December 2, 2015
A couple of important takeaways from this week’s Capitol Hill hearing on a proposed federal well control rule for offshore drilling:
First, offshore drilling is safer today than it has ever been – for the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska and Pacific regions. In coordination with federal regulators, industry has improved the safety of offshore development – in terms of safety systems management, prevention and response – while advancing the nation’s energy security through continued offshore oil and natural gas production.
This is seen in the approximately 275 API exploration and production standards that include offshore operations, more than 100 of which have been incorporated into federal regulation.
Posted October 12, 2015
Methane emissions from oil and natural gas systems continue falling. EPA, in an update to its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, says that methane emissions decreased from 77 million metric tons CO2 equivalent 2013 to 73 million metric tons CO2e last year. This continues a significant downward trend over the past few years.
The significance is this: Further reductions in methane emissions argue strongly against EPA’s position that additional regulation is needed. And, indeed, the agency is working on new layers of methane regulation.
Let’s think this one through. Methane emissions are falling under current the current regulatory regime, yet EPA and its supporters say that further reductions won’t happen without more regulation. (If you feel like you’ve heard this argument before it’s because you have – see here and here on EPA’s ozone proposals.) But here’s what we know: Methane emissions associated with oil and natural gas systems are falling – at a time when natural gas production is dramatically increasing.
Posted July 8, 2015
Before getting into the latest in a series of research studies on energy-related methane emissions, it’s important to stay focused on the big picture.
Data from EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report published this spring shows that net methane emissions from natural gas production fell 38 percent from 2005 to 2013 – even as natural gas production rose dramatically. Also: Methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells declined 79 percent from 2005 to 2013, EPA found.
That’s the appropriate context for 11 new studies just published in the scientific journal Environmental Science & Technology, reporting research in the Barnett Shale play in North Texas. The studies follow others coordinated by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). One released in 2013 found that methane emissions from natural gas drilling were a fraction of previous estimates. Another released earlier this year found that that vast majority of natural gas facilities – from the production phase to distribution via inter- and intra-state pipeline networks – recorded methane loss rates of below 1 percent.
Posted July 6, 2015
USA Today (editorial) – Fracking — the practice of cracking open underground oil and gas formations with water, sand and chemicals — has rescued U.S. energy production from a dangerous decline. Any debate about banning it should take a hard look at what that would cost the nation and at facts that aren't always part of the discussion.
Those facts are spelled out in a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency on fracking and groundwater. One of the harshest charges against fracking, often leveled with apocalyptic intensity by its foes, is that it indiscriminately contaminates vital drinking water supplies.
The EPA's timely report essentially said that's overblown.
Posted June 11, 2015
Nowhere in the United States is there more to learn from EPA’s recent water/fracking study than in the state of New York.
Six months ago Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned hydraulic fracturing as too hazardous. Though the Cuomo administration conducted no original research of its own, the governor said no to fracking, no to jobs and economic growth – especially in the state’s struggling Southern Tier. He all but extinguished the hopes of many upstaters for a home-grown economic miracle – like the one occurring next door in Pennsylvania, thanks to fracking – one that would help save family farms, let children and grandchildren live and prosper where they were raised and help ensure economic security for thousands.
Yet, EPA’s five-year, multi-million-dollar study says the governor’s concerns are basically baseless, that safe hydraulic fracturing doesn’t threaten the nation’s drinking water.