Posted July 23, 2013
Over the nearly five years the administration has been reviewing the Keystone XL pipeline, a strong case has been made that the project is in the U.S. national interest – in terms of jobs and strengthening our country’s energy security through safe and responsible development and transportation of oil sands from Canada. To those points that echo throughout the long Keystone XL public debate, it’s extremely valuable to add unique perspective. Retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones, former national security advisor in the Obama administration, adds such perspective – from one who both fought for this country and later helped direct its military defense.
Posted July 17, 2013
The Associated Press reports the 430-mile Vantage Pipeline will supply about 60,000 barrels of ethane (a natural gas liquid) per day from the Bakken to Alberta’s petrochemical industry later this year. Ethane has a number of uses including the manufacture of plastics. The project’s approval is a good and welcome development.
Posted July 8, 2013
Reason - The Top Five Lies About Fracking
Science writer Ronald Bailey highlights five falsehoods about hydraulic fracturing, from flaming faucets to water contamination. “Over 500,000 gas wells are currently operating in the United States,” Bailey writes. “Most of them manage to avoid blowing up houses, poisoning drinking water, making it hard to breathe, causing cancer...”
Fuel Fix Blog – Oil to Flow Through Keystone XL’s Southern Leg This Year
While the northern leg of the pipeline is going on five years waiting on approval from the Obama administration, the southern portion of the project is nearing completion. By the end of the year, the pipeline is expected to carry up to 700,000 barrels of oil per day from Cushing, Okla., to the coast of Texas.
Posted June 28, 2013
Raise your hand if you’ve played “Whack-A-Mole,” the old staple of arcades and carnivals, where the object is bopping the heads of mechanical varmints with a padded mallet as they rapidly and randomly pop up through multiple holes in the game table.
The concept pretty well captures tactics Keystone XL pipeline and Canadian oil sands opponents have used to help delay the Keystone XL, a shovel-ready project that would create tens of thousands of U.S. jobs, help grow our economy and make the U.S. more energy secure.
Posted June 25, 2013
An article of faith with the anti-oil sands crowd is that the crude from Canada is dangerous because it’s more corrosive to pipelines than other crudes and therefore more prone to cause pipeline failures, leaks, spills and … you know the rest. You can sample some of that rhetoric here and here. But then consider something so much more authoritative than rhetoric: science.
A new study finds that Alberta oil sands crude is, well, oil and just as safe to transport via pipeline as other types of crudes. From the report of an expert panel formed by the National Research Council (an arm of the National Academy of Sciences):
The committee does not find any causes of pipeline failure unique to the transportation of diluted bitumen. Furthermore, the committee does not find evidence of chemical or physical properties of diluted bitumen that are outside the range of other crude oils or any other aspect of its transportation by transmission pipeline that would make diluted bitumen more likely than other crude oils to cause releases.
Posted June 25, 2013
Wall Street Journal - Texas' Next Big Oil Rush
Refineries in Texas are seeing a much-needed boost as pipelines begin to carry landlocked crude oil from U.S. shale plays to the Gulf Coast. This increase in domestic crude oil is due to increased hydraulic fracturing and shale development across the country. (Subscription publication)
USA Today – Report: Oil Sands No More Corrosive Than Average Crude
A new report from the National Research Council found “no evidence … that Alberta’s pipeline contents are more corrosive than average crude oil.”
Posted June 21, 2013
U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, explaining in a Washington Post op-ed why a self-identified “pro-pipeline senator” opposes the Keystone XL pipeline:
As a former mayor of Richmond, a city with a gas utility, I think it makes no sense to be anti-pipeline. But I oppose the Keystone XL project. Although the president’s decision is technically over whether to allow a pipeline to deliver oil from Alberta to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the real issue isn’t the pipeline. It’s the wisdom of using tar sands oil. … By most accounts, oil from tar sands is 15 to 20 percent dirtier than conventional petroleum, and the process of extracting and refining it is more difficult and resource-intensive. With so many cleaner alternatives, there is no reason to embrace the use of a dirtier fuel source. Approving the pipeline would send a clear signal to the markets to expand the development of tar sands oil. Such an expansion would hurt our nation’s work to reduce carbon emissions. We have to make energy cleaner tomorrow than it is today. That’s why the president should block Keystone. … Tar sands oil is the opposite of an innovative, make-it-cleaner approach. It represents a major backslide.
Sen. Kaine is right on a number of energy issues – supporting more offshore drilling for oil and natural gas as well as more natural gas development from hydraulic fracturing – but on the Keystone XL he’s just wrong. Let’s take a closer look.
Posted June 20, 2013
One hundred forty-five of the president’s 2012 campaign staffers have written a letter to their former boss urging him to reject the Keystone XL pipeline:
“We trust you to make the right decision after you weigh all arguments, but one thing you taught us as organizers is that nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change. … You can help cement your legacy as a climate champion by rejecting this pipeline. You already know all the reasons we can’t afford this pipeline – that it will lock in gigatons of carbon pollution over the next four decades and that it could spill into our nation’s most valuable water sources – we’re just asking you to think of us as you make up your mind.”
Posted June 20, 2013
Fuel Fix Blog – IEA: U.S. Natural Gas Output to Accelerate Next Year
A new estimate from the International Energy Agency says that 2014-2018 domestic natural gas production will increase thanks to expanded hydraulic fracturing. U.S. shale production increased six-fold to 265 billion cubic meters last year from 45 billion in 2007.
CNBC’s top states for business ranking reflects a reordering because of a U.S. energy surge that “has literally transformed the financial landscape of the central corridor; creating jobs and rising incomes." According to CNBC, this points to the importance of policies that encourage more energy development. "The reality is, California could reap the same shale-oil and shale-gas bounties now benefiting North Dakota. Politicians simply choose not to."
Posted May 15, 2013
Lots to like in President Obama’s remarks earlier this week from New York:
“When it comes to energy, not only have we been able to double our production of clean energy, but even in terms of traditional energy, we will probably be a net exporter of natural gas in somewhere between five and ten years. And so the idea of the United States being energy independent – which seemed far-fetched as recently as 10 years ago – now is actually a possibility.”
As well as those from Texas earlier this month, where he talked about job creation and driving economic momentum:
“… we've got to make America a magnet for good jobs. … And even as we’re working to reverse the trend of communities that have been hard hit with old manufacturing leaving, we’ve got to propose partnerships with local leaders in manufacturing communities to help attract new investment in the infrastructure and the research that will attract new jobs and new businesses, so that communities that have been knocked down can get back up and get back on their feet. And we’re poised for a time of progress – if we’re willing to seize it. … American energy is booming. But we’ve got to keep moving forward, and we’ve got to make sure that Washington is not administering self-inflicted wounds when we’re making progress.”