Posted November 5, 2014
Wall Street Journal: Next year’s GOP-controlled Senate is expected to come out strongly against President Barack Obama ’s most consequential energy and environment policies, with the likely majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, vowing to hold votes on the Keystone XL pipeline and legislation to pare back the administration’s proposed carbon emissions rules.
It is an open question how much headway Republicans can make, given the Senate’s 60-vote procedural threshold and the threat of a presidential veto. But centrist Democrats with home-state energy interests could align with Republicans to create bipartisan majorities on bills that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) didn’t want to bring to the floor, including approving the Keystone XL pipeline, curtailing Environmental Protection Agency rules to cut carbon emissions and expediting federal reviews of natural-gas exports. The votes would put senators on the record in a way Mr. Reid often avoided.
Posted November 4, 2014
Forbes (Alex Epstein): Six years ago, a sure path for a politician to get praise—and votes—was to call for massive restrictions on fossil fuel use.
In 2008, Barack Obama campaigned on a platform of ending “the tyranny of oil” and bankrupting coal companies, whose energy production would be replaced by promising green companies likeSolyndra—a “true engine of economic growth” that was “leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.” An imminent “Peak Oil” disaster was viewed as a certainty.
Democrats ran successfully on a platform of cap and trade, bolstered by the apocalyptic and unchallenged predictions of movies and media like Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.
Things have certainly changed. Today, Democrats in contentious races are not only lessening their opposition to fossil fuels, they are competing to take positions that are more pro-fossil fuels than Republicans.
Posted November 3, 2014
The Hill (Jack Gerard): With zero precincts reporting, we can confidently project American energy is a landslide winner in the 2014 midterm elections.
In many races, both Republican and Democratic candidates have gone out of their way this year to embrace pro-energy policies – to the point that it’s been almost impossible to tell who’s wearing red or blue on the campaign trail.
“When I disagree with the president, I stand up to him. Whether it is on oil or support for the Keystone XL pipeline.” That’s Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner. In North Carolina’s Senate race, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan made a point of saying “I disagree with the president. I think we need to build the Keystone pipeline.” That’s one thing she has in common with her Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, who states, “I strongly support the construction of the Keystone pipeline and favor expanding offshore drilling to make our nation less dependent on foreign oil.
Posted October 30, 2014
Reuters: U.S. chocolate demand may get an extra boost from an unlikely source this Halloween: the U.S. shale revolution.
With an abundance of crude oil due to the country's fracking boom pushing average U.S. retail gasoline prices to their lowest in four years, consumers have spare change to buy sweets at gas station stores, Hershey President and Chief Executive Officer John Bilbrey said on Wednesday.
"You could say that we benefit because people aren't spending as much at the pump and they're going inside," Bilbrey said in a conference call with investors to discuss quarterly earnings.
Posted October 29, 2014
The Wall Street Journal: A planned Trans- Canada Corp. oil pipeline designed to ship crude from Western Canada to Eastern Canadian refineries could also be used to access the Gulf Coast, creating an end-run around U.S. permitting delays for the Keystone XL pipeline, according to the company’s chief executive.
TransCanada’s proposed 1.1 million-barrel-a-day Energy East pipeline has been positioned in Canada as a nation-building project to connect Alberta’s landlocked oil sands with refineries in Quebec and coastal New Brunswick. But Chief Executive Russ Girling said it would also open up a new route to ship heavy crude by tanker to refineries on the Gulf Coast without requiring U.S. approval, unlike the more direct Keystone XL route from Alberta to Texas.
“We can actually go all the way to the Gulf Coast without a presidential permit,” he said in an interview. “Once we’re on the water, we’ll show up just like any other crude oil in the world in the Houston ship channel.”
Posted October 29, 2014
October marks a birthday for our friends at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Forty years ago, October 1974, EIA issued its first Monthly Energy Review (MER) – a report loaded with energy-related data and charts that’s a must-read for folks who follow energy issues. EIA Chief Adam Sieminski:
That first MER was under 50 pages and featured 3 years of data focused on fossil fuels. Today, the MER is four times as large, features data extending back 65 years, and contains information on renewable energy, emissions, energy consumption by sector, and a host of other critical subjects. In a vastly more complex energy environment, the MER continues to integrate many kinds of energy data from a wide variety of sources into one product that provides policymakers, journalists, analysts, and other concerned citizens with a comprehensive look at integrated energy data in the United States.
Certainly, much has changed over four decades. America’s energy outlook has pivoted almost 180 degrees. Check out this snippet from that October 1974 inaugural issue of MER:
Posted October 28, 2014
Real Clear Politics: Few policy objectives over the last half-century have proven as tantalizing for presidents as the call to achieve energy independence.
In 1973 -- as a gasoline shortage consumed the nation -- President Richard Nixon outlined Project Independence 1980, “a series of plans and goals set to insure that by the end of this decade, Americans will not have to rely on any source of energy beyond our own.” Gerald Ford, in his 1975 State of the Union address, called for “a massive program” to ease demand and increase supply “to achieve the independence we want by 1985.” Jimmy Carter, more modestly, aimed for the United States to cut its dependence on foreign oil by half by the end of the 1980s.
Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all set similar goals at different points in their presidential campaigns or presidencies. Typically, their political opponents did too. Little serious progress toward those goals was achieved during most of their terms in office.
Posted October 27, 2014
Rigzone: The economic benefits to the United States from the energy industry have more than doubled in just the past ten years, even after accounting for inflation, according to a new study by The Perryman Group. The growth in the industry is worth about $1.2 trillion in gross product each year, the study noted, adding that the growth in the oil and gas industry since the economic recession has been “dramatic.” In fact, since the start of the economic recovery, the energy industry has contributed about 30 percent of the total job growth for the nation, Dr. Ray Perryman, president and CEO of The Perryman Group, said.
While it is generally recognized that a thriving oil and gas sector helps to create new jobs within and outside of the energy sector, it is less well-recognized just how important the industry is to overall employment. However, the study shows just how large a role the energy industry plays in the number of new jobs in the country.
Posted October 24, 2014
Friends of U.S. Chamber of Commerce Blog: American free enterprise can achieve almost anything. But, only if we allow it to work properly (this requires a nimble regulatory environment and a streamlined permitting process). One stark example of this gone wrong is the increasingly evergreen example of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that is projected to create 42,000 new jobs and generate 4 billion in economic activity. So far, we've waited 6 years for a response on the permit request.
Studies have been conducted. Talking heads and scientists have hashed out all the pros and cons. And despite broad affirmation and support, the American people are stuck waiting for Washington to act. Six years is a disgrace; bigger things can be done in far less time.
Posted October 23, 2014
Bloomberg: U.S. companies will export more energy than they import by 2025 as shale oil and gas production keeps climbing and the transportation sector becomes more efficient, Wood Mackenzie Ltd. said in a note today.
Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in hydrocarbon-rich layers of shale rock have boosted U.S. oil and gas production by 42 percent in the past seven years. The U.S. vehicle fleet will become 40 percent more energy-efficient by 2030, said James Brick, a senior analyst at the Edinburgh-based research firm.
“A country can achieve energy independence through two channels,” Brick said in the note. “It can either produce more or consume less, and the U.S. is doing both.”