Posted July 21, 2014
Recent Improvements in Petroleum Trade Balance Mitigate U.S. Trade Deficit
EIA Today in Energy: Since the mid-1970s, the United States has run a deficit in merchandise trade, meaning that payments for imports exceeded receipts for exports. This large and growing deficit on the merchandise trade balance reached a maximum of $883 billion in the second quarter of 2008.
As a result of the recession, dramatic declines of imports in excess of exports during the fourth quarter of 2008 and the first quarter of 2009 reduced the merchandise trade deficit by 49%, to $449 billion in the second quarter of 2009. This trend of declining imports resulted in the lowest quarterly deficit level since early 2002. The merchandise trade deficit then increased to $686 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, with much of the difference from the 2008 level ($131 billion) attributable to a $158 billion increase in net exports of crude oil and petroleum products.
Posted June 30, 2014
Washington Post Editorial: Quietly but wisely, the Commerce Department has decided to allow the first exports of U.S. crude oil since Congress imposed a ban on such sales (except to Canada) in the 1970s. To be sure, the agency’s ruling amounts to redefining crude in a way that applies only to a form of ultralight oil that U.S. refineries are ill-equipped to process. The executive branch couldn’t do much more than that to expand crude exports without congressional permission. Still, Commerce’s move is a step in the right direction because resuming oil sales abroad could help the U.S. economy reap the full fruits of the shale revolution that has propelled this country back into the top ranks of global oil and gas production.
The origins of the ban lie in the long-gone political and economic issues of the Nixon era. Specifically, the United States banned oil exports in response to the declining domestic production and Middle East supply shocks of that time, which, together with the then-existing system of U.S. price controls, made it seem rational to keep U.S.-produced oil at home rather than let it flow to the highest bidder on the world market. The world has changed dramatically since then; with U.S. production booming, this country is in a position to move the world market. Yet some still defend the export ban on the grounds that it holds down the price of crude to U.S. refineries and, by extension, the price of gasoline at U.S. pumps.
A new report by IHS Global explains why that thinking is outmoded.
Posted May 22, 2014
Energy and economic prosperity go together – on that most Americans agree. New polling finds strong majorities ofregistered voters connect exporting natural gas and new job creation, trade deficit reduction and a stronger economy.
The results mirror findings in other recent surveys on energy infrastructure investment and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. All together, they tell decision makers to choose pro-energy development and investment policies to put more Americans to work and to make America stronger in the world today.
Posted May 16, 2014
Bloomberg: Dominion Resources (D) Inc.’s plan to export liquefied natural gas cleared a U.S. environmental review, a key step toward final approval as supporters in Congress seek to expedite overseas shipments of the fuel.
U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval of Dominion’s proposed Cove Point project on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay would have “no significant impact” on the environment, as long as proper measures are taken, the staff said today in an environmental assessment.
The full commission is scheduled to issue a final decision on Cove Point by Aug. 13. Cheniere Energy Inc. (LNG)’s Sabine Pass is the only U.S. project so far to win approval from the FERC and Energy Department.
Posted May 15, 2014
Another benefit of America’s energy renaissance is seen in the competitive edge North American refiners are gaining because of lower feedstock costs, resulting from surging domestic crude oil and natural gas production.
The latest “This Week in Petroleum” report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says that U.S. and Canadian refiners are in a stronger position relative to European counterparts because of lower costs for domestic crude oil and natural gas, from which they make a variety of value-added finished products.
Posted April 14, 2014
Posted April 10, 2014
Legislation that would accelerate U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) – by approving a backlog of more than 20 export permits pending with the Energy Department and expediting future permit requests for export to World Trade Organization members – cleared an important hurdle in the U.S. House this week.
“In the last few weeks, new proposals have won bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, and we are optimistic that members will come together on efforts to harness the full economic and strategic power of America’s energy exports. The U.S. is the world’s top producer of natural gas, and allies around the globe are looking to America for leadership on energy issues. Now is the time to tear down our own bureaucratic hurdles to trade, create thousands of new American jobs, and strengthen our position as an energy superpower.”
Posted March 31, 2014
A new study by ICF International makes the case for lifting trade restrictions that prevent the export of U.S. crude oil – consumer savings, job creation, domestic production growth and more:
- $5.8 billion in consumer savings a year, on average, between 2015 and 2035 due to falling costs of gasoline, heating oil and diesel fuel.
- Up to 300,000 additional jobs created in 2020, both due to higher oil production and U.S. consumers having more money to spend on goods and services.
- As much as a 500,000 barrels-per-day rise in domestic oil production in 2020.
- A $22 billion decrease in the U.S. trade deficit in 2020.
- Economic growth totaling as much as $38 billion in 2020, with an average GDP increase of up to $27 billion a year through 2035.
- An additional $15 billion to $17 billion invested in domestic exploration, development and production between 2015 and 2020.
- An increase of as much as $13.5 billion in federal, state and local government revenues in 2020.
Posted March 25, 2014
Because Lithuania has a front-row seat to the current Ukraine-Russia crisis, the appearance of the country’s energy minister at a Senate hearing on U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports was especially timely. Jaroslav Neverovič had a pretty simple message to the United States: We need U.S. natural gas.
Neverovič probably was the most anticipated of the witnesses at the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s hearing, the first led by Sen. Mary Landrieu, the panel’s new chairman. Neverovič:
“At present, we are completely – 100 percent – dependent upon single supplier of natural gas and, as a result, are forced to pay a political price for this vital energy resource. Lithuanian families and businesses pay 30 percent more for natural gas than citizens in other European countries. This is not just unfair. This is abuse of monopolist position.”
The minister said while Lithuania is taking steps to achieve energy independence, it needs help.
Posted March 25, 2014
U.S. to Become Top LNG Exporter, Experts Say
Fuel Fix.com: HOUSTON — The U.S. is poised to become the top exporter of liquefied petroleum gas — more commonly known as propane or butane — within just a few years, officials with research analyst IHS said Monday.
By the 2020s, the U.S. likely will displace top LPG exporters including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, said IHS Senior Director Walt Hart, during the IHS International LPG Seminar in Houston. The domestic supply of propane and butane is on the rise, produced along with the booming output of U.S. shale gas. But the domestic market for propane and butane is relatively flat, several experts said.
That’s not the case abroad. While most U.S. LPG exports go to Latin America today, a growing portion likely will go to Asia as demand there rises, in part due to its use as a fuel source for heating and cooking but also because of its role as a feedstock for the manufacture of petrochemicals.