Posted August 17, 2017
In 2017, it would be hard to find very many people who don’t know about Monday’s big solar outage. Here’s hoping everyone safely enjoys the eclipse in all its wonder – while also absorbing what this dramatic sun interruption teaches about the need for reliable energy in our daily lives. And that lesson is that natural gas is the every-day essential partner – partner, not backup – to intermittent energy sources like solar because, as will be underscored on Eclipse Monday, the sun doesn’t always shine.
Posted August 17, 2017
The list of names of American Automobiles Past is as long as your arm – the inaugural era of U.S. auto manufacturing was a burst of entrepreneurship that included more than 1,800 carmakers, almost all of them defunct today. Brands like Hudson (1909-1954), Packard (1899-1956), Pierce Arrow (1901-1938) and others are the car ghosts of the past – though not completely gone and hardly forgotten.
These iconic brands and many more that helped define the golden age of car travel will be the stars this weekend in one of the country’s biggest classic car shows, the Woodward Dream Cruise, scheduled to roll down Woodward Avenue from suburban Pontiac, Mich., to downtown Detroit. Some 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars are expected. Energy will be there as well – in the fuel, lubrication and rubber need to keep the wheels turning.
Posted August 16, 2017
Energy infrastructure projects need the public’s support – which in many ways is tied to industry’s ability to safely develop and deliver natural gas, oil and finished products while protecting communities and the environment. This is the focus and core commitment of the more than 10 million women and men who work directly, indirectly or in jobs supported by the natural gas, oil and refined products industry. Industry-created standards form the bedrock of industry’s safety commitment.
Posted August 15, 2017
We’ve posted quite a bit recently about the need for streamlining the federal permitting process for energy infrastructure (see here and here). An API study earlier this year estimated investments in needed natural gas and oil infrastructure could total more than a trillion dollars and potentially generate more than 1 million jobs through 2035. That’s a lot of economic potential linked to infrastructure – and in that context, President Trump’s new executive order modernizing and bringing greater accountability to the federal permitting process certainly is welcome. It coincides with release of a new study, for North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), detailing the jobs and economic impacts of energy infrastructure construction.
Posted August 15, 2017
The last lines of Frank X. Gaspar’s poem, “Quahogs,” which appeared in New Yorker magazine last year, suggest a savory meal. Imagine a deep, stainless steel kettle, contents bubbling lazily on the stove in the kitchen – natural gas, preferably. In the next room friends seat themselves around a table as the sound of waves tumbling onto the beach pours through doors that open to the Atlantic Ocean.
Wait – What the heck’s a “quahog?”
In Rhode Island places like Quonochontaug, Weekapaug and Narragansett, it’s pronounced “co-hogs,” and they’re clams – the stars in a New England staple: clam chowder. Indeed, ask a Rhode Islander what their state is known for, and there’s a good chance they’ll say “quahogs” (or “coffee milk”). Clamming – the actual foraging for clams in the sand just as the waves retreat from the beach – and eating them is a pastime for both locals and summer visitors. Energy makes it better – both the clamming and the eating.
Rhode Island’s clam chowder simply is a must for travelers to the nation’s smallest state. If you’re asked whether Rhode Island chowder is the red or the white, say neither. It’s a mixture of quahogs, potatoes, onions, butter, clam juice, water and spices – cooked over a natural gas stove indoors or an outdoor cooker at a clambake. It’s the quintessential summer dish in homes and restaurants across the state. For many in the Newport area, it’s the annual Great Chowder Cook-Off in early June that kicks off the season for this delicious treat.
Posted August 14, 2017
A couple of new data points from the government show the importance of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to America’s trading posture and to its global energy security role, as a growing supplier of natural gas. First, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that the U.S. exported more natural gas than it imported in three of the first five months of this year – February, April and May – which is historic since the U.S. has been a net importer (on an average annual basis) for nearly 60 years.
Posted August 10, 2017
Posted August 10, 2017
Don’t know about you, but if I’m anywhere near Des Moines the next couple of weeks, I’m headed to the Iowa State Fair – mainly, to gawk at the famed Butter Cow. Just have to. Imagine 600 pounds of low-moisture, pure-cream Iowa butter, slathered on an internal frame and sculpted, with precision, into a life-size, yellowy cow.
Six hundred pounds is lot of pats of butter – enough for 19,200 slices of toast, which, according to the fair’s website, would take a person two lifetimes to consume. (There are probably a couple of guys down at the pie-eating contest who might try to prove that false.) The Iowa State Fair has an official butter sculptor, Sarah Pratt, who has been at it the past nine years. The Butter Cow might not be Michelangelo, but in Iowa, it’ll do just fine – a big part of the sights and sounds of America’s quintessential state fair, right?
Sounds like a “yes.”
We mention the Butter Cow and all of the other attractions and activities at the fair to make the point that this piece of Americana and others like it are big energy events. The fair’s foods, displays, contests, rides and more – all use energy to bring off an event that continues to thrive long after it got the star treatment in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1945 film musical, “State Fair.” The Iowa State Fair is the largest annual event in the state, drawing about 1 million visitors.
Posted August 9, 2017
Total up industry’s economic contributions to Pennsylvania – helping to support its schools, first-responders, local infrastructure and jobs, lots of them – and it’s a pretty fair amount. But not fair enough for some. Last month a narrow majority in Pennsylvania’s state Senate voted for a $600 million tax increase that would hit natural gas producers and natural gas and electric users while also hiking taxes on communications services – all of which could significantly impact Pennsylvania consumers.
Posted August 8, 2017
If you’re a fan of competitive cycling – on display this week at the first-ever Colorado Classic cycling race – it’s hard to miss the point we’ve been making all summer, that natural gas and oil not only make lots of entertainment and activities possible, they make them better – and our lives along with them. Energy fuels, yes. At the same time, natural gas and oil and the chemicals and products derived from them are interwoven in modern life: making things lighter, yet stronger; durable, yet more comfortable. And more. Cycling illustrates – whether it’s a big-time event like the Colorado Classic or a summer family ride in the park.
In Colorado, there are plenty of outdoor activities that get the blood pumping. In winter, there’s skiing and snowboarding at any number of resorts in the Rockies. In the summer, with the sun warming the peaks and the valleys, many love to hit the road on bicycles. From the bicycle’s tires and frame to the bicyclist’s helmet, oil and natural gas make the ride smooth, comfortable and as safe as possible.