Posted October 9, 2014
Columbus Dispatch: Consumers are starting to catch a serious break for a change on energy costs.
Gasoline prices in central Ohio are at their lowest level in nearly four years, while the outlook for home-heating costs this winter is better than a year ago.
“There’s definitely more money in my pocket,” said Kathy Bury, 58, of Blacklick, in eastern Franklin County.
She tends to buy gasoline $20 at a time. At current prices, that’s three-fourths of a tank, which is much more than a month ago, a contrast that “makes me happy,” she said.
Posted October 7, 2014
Reuters: As oil production swells, demand falters and prices slide, the global oil market appears on the verge of a pivotal shift from an era of scarcity to one of abundance.
Oil prices have fallen as much as 20 percent since June, despite a host of rising supply risks, leading more investors and traders to consider whether 2015 is the year in which the U.S. shale oil boom finally tips the world into surplus.
While the plunge has rekindled speculation that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) may need to cut output for the first time in six years when it meets next month, some analysts are looking much further ahead.
They say a long-anticipated fundamental shift in the market may now be under way, ending a four-year stretch when $100-plus prices were the norm, and opening a new era in which OPEC restraint once again becomes paramount.
Posted October 6, 2014
CNBC (Chevron Chairman and CEO John Watson): Over the last 150 years, we've seen the greatest advancements in living standards in recorded history — advances enabled by affordable and reliable energy that have brought light, heat, mobility, modern communications and other benefits to billions of people around the world. The United States has helped lead many of these advancements — by spreading our ideals of free markets, open trade, rule-of-law and limited state involvement. In doing so, we've allowed private initiative to innovate and drive progress.
As more of the world seeks to capitalize on these advancements, the ensuing spread of wealth is helping to lift more people into the middle class and realize these same benefits. In the past 10 years, the world has added three-quarters of a billion people to the middle class.
And despite some struggles of our own, America's business and economic system remains the envy of much of the world. Yet it's a system that continues to evolve … and change.
Perhaps the most dramatic changes have been in the U.S. oil and natural gas sector, where we've launched an energy revolution, fueled by technology and innovation, that's allowing us to produce more from oil and gas fields and develop new geographic frontiers. In the last decade, we've rewritten the U.S. energy story — from one focused on scarcity to one focused on abundance.
Posted October 3, 2014
The Hill Congress Blog (Dan Eberhart): America’s boom in shale oil and gas has given us a new tool to counter aggressive nations without firing a shot. That tool is energy abundance. With increased production and new techniques of extracting energy from shale, it’s time to break free from outdated shackles on U.S. crude oil exports.
In the 1970s, we were hogtied by energy scarcity. The U.S. suffered a devastating oil embargo during the mid-1970s courtesy of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), and at the end of the six-month embargo, oil prices had quadrupled from $3 a barrel to nearly $12. Our country’s economy was crippled, and we faced the prospect of “stagflation” and wage and price controls.
By December 1975, President Gerald Ford signed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), a ban on most U.S. energy exports that remains in place today. At the time, export bans made sense; they preserved the resources we did have.
That was then, this is now.
Today, the ban is hurting our economy and global competitiveness. Lifting the crude export ban would tilt global markets, benefit the American consumer and bolster the US economy, restoring the US to the status of energy superpower.
Posted October 1, 2014
The Washington Post: Is a four-year college degree worth it? Generally yes, but the results vary quite a bit across majors — and can even vary widely within majors.
That’s the takeaway from new research by Brad Hershbein and Melissa Kearney at The Hamilton Project. The authors analyzed Census Bureau data to find out which college majors earned the most and the least. Topping the list are the engineering fields, to no one’s surprise. Some of the least-earning majors are related to education, theater and art. Over a lifetime, the median expected earnings for a drama or theater arts major is lower than that of someone with a two-year associate’s degree.
But the report found that regardless of major, “median earnings of bachelor’s degree graduates are higher than median earnings of high school graduates for all 80 majors studied. This is true at career entry, mid-career and end of career,” the authors write.
Posted September 29, 2014
Washington Post (Robert J. Samuelson): One of the economy’s good-news stories is the oil boom, a derivative of the natural gas boom. When the drilling techniques used to tap vast new reservoirs of natural gas were applied to oil, they yielded similarly astounding results. Since 2008, U.S. oil production has increased from 5 million barrels a day (mbd) to 8.3 mbd in 2014. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says it could go to 9.6 mbd by 2019.
By all logic, we should be working to sustain the boom. We aren’t, and therein lies a classic example of how good policy is held hostage to bad politics and public relations. What would promote continued exploration is a lifting of the current U.S. ban on exporting crude oil. Let producers sell into the world market. But that seems (wrongly) an unjustified giveaway to industry. The public perceptions are atrocious.
Posted September 25, 2014
Observer-Reporter: For nearly an hour, Stephen Moore expended a lot of energy speaking about energy and the economy – and their inextricable link.
“You cannot understand economics unless you understand energy,” he said in his opening. “The industry is carrying the rest of the U.S. on its shoulders. Without the energy boom going on, there would be no economic recovery at all.”
Moore is a chief economist for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research think tank from Washington, D.C. And his thoughts made an audience in the hundreds think Tuesday morning, as Shale Insight 2014 kicked off its two-day conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
This is the fourth annual Insight, and first conducted outside Philadelphia. It is organized by North Fayette Township-based Marcellus Shale Coalition, which supports oil and gas exploration companies and their supply chain partners in Marcellus Shale, the world’s largest natural gas deposit.
Posted September 24, 2014
The Washington Post: The crude oil boom in the western United States has changed the way states do business. North Dakota is growing so rapidly that the legislature is considering returning to special session to make big investments in new infrastructure. Wyoming now receives more than half its tax dollars from oil and gas companies paying to extract fuel. And big parts of Colorado, California, Texas, Oklahoma and a handful of other states increasingly rely on the energy industry for jobs.
Domestic production peaked in 1986, at 283 million barrels per month, according to the Energy Information Administration. In September 2005, domestic production hit a nadir of just 126 million barrels a month. In the last decade, technological advances, including the increasing production from hydraulic fracturing, has reversed that 20-year decline in crude oil production.
Today, production is back up to 256 million barrels a month, according to the latest EIA figures.
Posted September 23, 2014
FuelFix Blog: From steel pipe manufacturers to companies that produce sand and gravel, the U.S. shale boom is buoying businesses far removed from the oil and gas fields, a new study finds.
These companies are benefiting from the huge investments needed to explore, produce, process and transport oil and gas unlocked from previously inaccessible dense rock formations through advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, according to the findings by Houston-based energy analyst firm IHS.
The boom has been most generous to companies working in states with the most oil and gas activity, but the economic boost has also trickled down to steel-makers and machine tool manufacturers based in regions with no production, the report said.
Posted September 22, 2014
Washington Examiner op-ed (Karen Harbert): America's economic recovery is being fueled by energy. Increased natural gas production is at the center of our energy revolution, creating new opportunities at home and abroad.
Not long ago, conventional wisdom was that America’s natural gas production would decline over time. Terminals were planned and built in anticipation of the need to import natural gas from overseas. Now, these facilities are either being converted to export terminals or are idle.
Obviously, things have changed — and for the better. The combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling made accessing unconventional oil and gas much easier, safer, and cost effective. More and more formations were discovered, and now, natural gas extracted from shale makes up over one-third of total U.S. natural gas production. Over time, this trend will continue to increase to about half of our natural gas production by 2030.