Posted December 31, 2014
Business Day: For years, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pulled the strings set the price of oil and controlled the supply. After dictating the course of oil prices for more than 50 years, OPEC is finding its influence diminished.
Right now, OPEC represents about 40 percent of global daily production. The organization still has a say in what the energy market looks like. But for OPEC, oil can no longer be used as either a weapon or as a lever. There is simply too much production arising beyond the control of OPEC.
For 2015, US will emerge as dominant player. OPEC member countries are gradually losing the largest energy market in the world and the irony is that they will soon be competing for the markets that used to be theirs for the taking. Projections from recent happenings reveal that in 2015 the US will start dictating to the market. With the advent in 2015 of large US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the effect is even larger, and with it comes the hastening of OPEC’s decline.
Posted December 30, 2014
UPI: House Republicans will work to create the "architecture of abundance" needed to take advantage of North American energy leadership, a lawmaker said.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee published a 105-page strategy document meant to highlight the agenda of the incoming Republican-led Congress. It says federal policies are ill-suited to develop the infrastructure needed to take advantage of the oil and gas production boost in the United States.
"Creating this architecture of abundance is slowed at every step by archaic federal rules that can cause years of delays and even block some pipeline and power line projects outright," the paper reads.
Rep. Fred Upton, the committee's chairman, said the new Congress would work to advance its blueprint when it comes into power in January.
Posted December 22, 2014
Posted December 17, 2014
Posted December 11, 2014
Near the end of his appearance on the “Colbert Report” earlier this week, President Obama tells host Stephen Colbert that getting things done is the real satisfaction he takes from his job:
“I love the job, and it’s an incredible privilege. But when you’re in it you’re not thinking about it in terms of titles. You’re thinking about how do you deliver for the American people?”
Ironically, the remark about delivering for the American people comes just a few minutes after the president offers up familiar excuses for failing to deliver for the American people on the Keystone XL pipeline. With Americans backing the pipeline by more than 3 to 1, it looks like President Obama isn’t listening to the people he’s supposed to serve – or is simply ignoring them.
The president’s Keystone XL rhetoric remains starkly at odds with the facts – including those proffered by his own State Department. State has completed five separate environmental reviews on Keystone XL over more than six years, all of which cleared by the pipeline. Whether President Obama is talking to business executives or cutting up with Colbert, he’s startlingly disconnected with fact on Keystone XL.
Posted December 10, 2014
Reuters: A surge of oil and gas production will drive the U.S. economy 1 percent higher in 2040 than it would have otherwise grown, and energy exports will only stoke the expansion, an independent study on energy policy concluded on Tuesday.
New drilling technologies such as 'fracking' have unlocked an abundance of fossil fuels from shale deposits and the bounty will both jolt the economy and increase tax receipts, according to the study from the Congressional Budget Office.
Officials estimate "real (inflation-adjusted) GDP product will be about two-thirds of 1 percent higher in 2020 and about 1 percent higher in 2040 than it would have been without the development of shale resources," the report finds.
Posted December 5, 2014
Speaking to business executives earlier this week, President Obama lamented how long it takes to make infrastructure improvements in the U.S.:
“The challenge for infrastructure has been that … it’s hard to pay for things if you don’t have some sort of revenue stream. And I’ve been exploring … to see how we can do more in attracting private investment into infrastructure construction – which is done fairly effectively in a lot of other countries …”
Later, he praised the Chinese for how quickly they tackle infrastructure needs:
“… the one thing I will say is that if they need to build some stuff, they can build it. And over time, that wears away our advantage competitively. It’s embarrassing – you drive down the roads, and you look at what they’re able to do.”
For more than six years one of the largest infrastructure projects to come along in some time has been staring back at President Obama, waiting for him to say “go”: the Keystone XL pipeline.
By now many Americans – who favor Keystone XL’s construction by more than a 3-to-1 margin – probably can tick off the points arguing for the project’s approval.
Posted December 2, 2014
U.S. News (Lamont Colucci): OPEC met on Nov. 27, and openly recognized that the United States' oil technological revolution – driven by enhanced oil recovery methods including hydraulic fracturing (known as fracking) and horizontal drilling – has undermined the cartel's economic and political power. This constitutes one of the major geopolitical and economic shifts of the 21st century in America’s favor. This meeting has been characterized as OPEC abandoning its role as a “swing producer” or simply the arbiter of oil supply and demand. Some are now suggesting that the new swing producer will be the United States.
Enhanced oil recovery technology was consistently denigrated as unworkable and unprofitable, and there will be many more articles restating this as the old wine in a new bottle. These technologies have made the U.S. the world's number one oil producer, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia. OPEC’s strategy of allowing the market to decide oil prices is designed to hurt American enhanced oil recovery activities, with the assumption that American producers need a higher profit margin per barrel than it does. This may be a horrible miscalculation on OPEC's part due to continual advances in technology and innovation.
According to a 2013 report, hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling have the potential to increase the global reserve of oil from 1.6 billion barrels to 10.2 billion barrels. Domestically, we are already witnessing the 21st century oil boom generate prosperity for states like Colorado, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming. Current estimates indicate that by 2020 the United States will be the dominant worldwide producer of both natural gas and oil and achieve energy independence.
However, this energy issue has been dominated by the wrong people: economists, businessmen, engineers and environmentalists. They all have their required expertise, but all of this is really an issue of foreign policy and national security. There are four ways that this new situation can be welcomed by conservatives, liberals, realists and environmentalists.
Posted November 26, 2014
EIA Today in Energy Blog: U.S. retail regular-grade gasoline prices continue to decline, averaging $2.82 per gallon (gal) as of November 24. This average is 47 cents lower than a year ago, and the lowest price heading into a Thanksgiving holiday since 2009.
Traditionally, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most traveled times of the year in the United States, and much of that travel is by car. AAA estimates that during this Thanksgiving holiday weekend (November 26-30), 41.3 million people in the United States will travel more than 50 miles from home by car. This level of travel, 4.3% higher than the same time last year, is the highest number of travelers by car for Thanksgiving in seven years and the third highest since AAA began publishing the data in 2000.
Posted November 21, 2014
USA Today (Manhattan Institute’s Mark Mills): When the newly elected Congress convenes in January, energy will be a priority. In fact energy is the "foundation" action item according to the just-released roadmap from Speaker of the House John Boehner. So this is a particularly good time to map out just how different the energy world is today, and will be in the future.
Four decades ago, when America's extant energy policy paradigm was forged, the U.S. was the world's fastest growing major energy user in an environment of resource dependency and depletion. The facts have since flipped: America is now the fastest growing energy producer, while nearly all net new demand takes place elsewhere.
In this context, consider the implications for America, and the world, of five key numbers.