Posted August 5, 2014
Wall Street Journal (Thomas Tunstall): The unexpected increase in the production of shale oil, a light oil called condensate and natural gas in the U.S. has upended many assumptions about the U.S. energy market. As the oil and gas bonanza continues, the U.S. ban on crude-oil exports looks increasingly outdated, arbitrary and economically damaging. With Europe poised to endanger its gas supply by imposing more sanctions on its major supplier Russia, the possibility of energy exports from America takes on an important security dimension too.
Thanks to fracking and other unconventional shale-extraction technology, natural gas is the biggest energy story in the U.S. now. In the early 2000s, natural-gas pipeline companies—such as Cheniere and Freeport LNG—spent billions on import facilities as U.S. production decreased, to less than 19 trillion cubic feet in 2005 from roughly 22 trillion cubic feet in 1970.
Since 2006, however, natural-gas production in the U.S. has soared. The U.S. now produces more than 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas a year, the most in the country's more than 100-year history of gas exploration and production. As a result, billions of dollars are now being invested to convert many of the facilities designed to receive imported gas into export facilities.
Posted August 4, 2014
USA Today: The U.S. energy industry is booming. As new technologies make oil easier and more affordable to extract, the United States is poised to become the world's leading oil producer as soon as 2015, according to a 2013 study by the International Energy Agency. At the same time, proven oil reserves — the estimated quantities of oil that can be extracted under existing conditions — have also risen. In 2012, the U.S. had more than 30.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, up 15% from the year before.
Ten states accounted for nearly 80% of the U.S. proven oil reserves as of the end of 2012. Texas was the state with the most proven reserves, totaling more than 9.6 billion barrels of oil, or close to a third of all U.S. reserves. Based on the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) data on proved oil reserves, these are the most oil-rich states in the country.
Unsurprisingly, the states with the highest totals of proven reserves are also among the states producing most oil. Of the 10 most oil-rich states, all but one were also among the states with the most production activity as of 2013. Together, these 10 states accounted for more than 2 billion of the 2.7 billion barrels of oil produced last year. Offshore drilling, not attributable to any state, accounted for much of the production not coming from these states.
Posted August 1, 2014
Wall Street Journal (Merrill Matthews Opinion): The growing efforts by state and local governments to stop hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to extract natural gas could end up in the Supreme Court. These efforts may unconstitutionally limit property owners' ability to profit from their mineral rights.
More than 170 New York towns and cities have used zoning laws to restrict or prohibit fracking, and in June New York's Supreme Court turned back a challenge to this practice. Pennsylvania allows local municipalities to restrict fracking. Colorado and California are struggling with the issue.
Even in pro-energy Texas, the relatively small town of Denton, about 30 miles north of Dallas, has a fracking moratorium while the city considers whether to impose a permanent ban. At a recent contentious Denton city council meeting in which 500 people attended, the council moved to let voters decide in November.
Nevertheless, landowners and drillers are threatening to sue Denton if a ban is implemented. They may have a case.
Posted July 31, 2014
Houston Chronicle (Editorial): Fracking is more effective than bullets when it comes to containing Russian President Vladimir Putin's Soviet-era ambitions.
Empowered by oil funds and a gas pipeline yoke on Europe, Putin has resuscitated a Cold War ethos of nationalism and expansionism. Yet after the invasion of Crimea and Russian militias seizing sections of eastern Ukraine, it seemed as if Europe's red line was located somewhere a few miles east of the Brandenburg Gate. It took the attack on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to finally shock Europe back to reality, where Russia stands as a legitimate threat to a peaceful continent.
These aggressive moves have gained Russia few friends, but as Tsar Alexander III once said, Russia's only allies are its army and its navy. For the 21st century, pipelines should be added to that list. And that is where the United States must focus containment efforts.
Our allies are far too reliant on Russian pipelines to truly oppose Putin's aggression - there's a reason why the new technology sanctions against Russia don't apply to natural gas.
Posted July 3, 2014
Forbes (David Blackmon) – As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s Declaration of Independence on Friday, it would also be appropriate to take a moment to celebrate those states who are currently leading our nation down the path towards energy independence. No issue facing America today is more important than where we will continue to access sources of abundant and affordable energy.
Energy heats and cools our homes and office buildings, fuels the automobiles that get us to work, facilitates the growing and transport of the food that sustains us, serves as the feed stock for thousands of products that make our daily lives more convenient and raise our standard of living. It is literally the life blood of our economy, and has been for more than 150 years.
Posted June 26, 2014
It’s good to see the U.S. House of Representatives advancing a true all-of-the-above energy strategy with legislation that would help increase access to domestic reserves, promote common-sense regulation and reasonable permitting policies, foster development of key energy infrastructure and capitalize on America’s energy superpower status.
All are elements in a working, all-of-the-above approach to energy. Combined with energy from coal, nuclear and renewables, increased development of American oil and natural gas and associated infrastructure will keep our economy and country running – today and tomorrow.
Posted June 26, 2014
Washington Post: Even Democrats who prefer to develop alternate energy sources before expanding the use of fossil fuels say they want the Keystone XL pipeline built.
The new Pew "Political Typology" report shows huge majorities of all four Democratic-leaning groups support the development of wind, solar and hydrogen alternatives to oil, coal and natural gas. But of those same four groups, the Keystone XL pipeline is still overwhelmingly popular in three of them.
Among "hard-pressed skeptics," "next generation left" and "faith and family left," support for Keystone is two-to-one. So even as a group like the "next generation left" group supports alternate energy over fossil fuels 83-11, it still backs Keystone 62-28.
Posted June 25, 2014
Coloradoan: Loveland voters on Tuesday struck down a proposed moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial oil and gas extraction process that has been restricted in several cities along Colorado’s Front Range.
More than 20,000 ballots were cast, but ultimately the moratorium failed by about 900 votes, said city spokesman Tom Hacker. Results came in just after 10 p.m., making the Loveland election one of the last Colorado races to be decided Tuesday .
“Fortunately that means the Loveland citizens have spoken and that common sense prevailed,” said BJ Nikkel, director of the Loveland Energy Action Project, a group that campaigned against the moratorium.
Posted June 20, 2014
Houston Chronicle: Oil, natural gas and coal have boosted living conditions around the globe, but policies to replace those fossil fuels "with inferior energy sources" could undermine those improvements, a former Texas environmental regulator argues.
In a 36-page paper - "Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case" - Kathleen Hartnett White, former chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, insists that access to oil, natural gas and coal are inextricably linked with prosperity and well-being.
Policies targeting heat-trapping greenhouse gases - including the Environmental Protection Agency's new plan for throttling carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants - overlook "the inestimable human benefits of fossil fuels," White says.
"Energy-dense, abundant, versatile, reliable, portable, and affordable, fossil fuels provide over 80 percent of the world's energy because they are superior to the current alternatives," White writes.
Posted June 19, 2014
Bloomberg: North Dakota, which yesterday became just the fourth state to record oil production above 1 million barrels a day, could see even stronger growth over the summer as improved weather makes life easier for drilling crews.
Output increased to 1,001,149 barrels a day in April, the state’s Department of Mineral Resources reported yesterday. Texas, California and Alaska have crossed the million-barrel mark. Only Texas remains above the state, at almost 3 million barrels a day.
April oilfield work was hampered by heavy rain that shut roads and strong winds that closed down operations. Crews completed 200 wells during the month, and another 600 are already drilled and just waiting on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Better weather in the summer months should allow more new wells to start gushing oil.