Posted July 1, 2016
When you see the significant economic, consumer and climate benefits to the U.S. from increased use of natural gas, it’s quite a puzzle when some won’t take “yes” for an answer – yes to lower energy costs, yes to infrastructure jobs, yes to carbon emissions reductions. Unfortunately for Massachusetts residents, that’s the path the state legislature appears to be taking. More below. First, a review of how clean-burning natural gas is making life better across the rest of the country.
Let’s start with reduced household energy costs, which are helping to lower Americans’ cost of living, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). In constant 2015 dollars, EIA says average annual energy costs per household peaked at about $5,300 in 2008 then declined 14.1 percent in 2014.
Posted June 16, 2016
When it comes to making actual progress on climate through the reduction of carbon emissions, basically there are two groups: talkers and doers.
Talkers spend much of their time filibustering on the need to reduce emissions through central government planning – bureaucratic programs, new layers of regulation, onerous pricing mechanisms and more – while criticizing those who don’t rush to embrace Washington climate think.
As for the doers, they’re already reducing emissions. Our industry is part of this second group.
Posted June 14, 2016
Advanced hydraulic fracturing – the foundation of America’s historic, game-changing energy revolution – is under attack. On the presidential campaign trail, in conversations in Washington and other places, fracking faces ideologically motivated challenges from those who ignore its science and misrepresent its safety record.
It’s critically important that we have an honest conversation about hydraulic fracturing because it is responsible for at least 2 million wells and up to 95 percent of new wells being drilled – accounting for more than 43 percent of oil and 67 percent of natural gas production. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that fracking, which now accounts for about half of U.S. dry natural gas production (14 trillion cubic feet or Tcf), will account for 69 percent of production in 2040 (29 Tcf).
This is significant because increased use of clean-burning natural gas is the primary reason the United States is leading the world in reducing energy-associated carbon emissions. Without fracking and the natural gas produced by it, the United States would be with the other nations of the world who’re in search of climate solutions.
Posted May 10, 2016
We’ve written a number of posts recently on U.S. climate gains from increased use of clean-burning natural gas (see here, here and here). Domestic natural gas is the main reason the U.S. is leading the world in reducing carbon emissions – underscored by government data this week showing that energy-associated emissions in 2015 were 12 percent lower than 2005 levels.
Yet, some continue to miss the role natural gas is playing in U.S. climate progress. Instead of declaring victory, some continue to rally, protest and campaign against natural gas and its infrastructure – opposing the very thing that is achieving what they want. Unfortunately, they’re impacting public policy along the way.
Nowhere is there a better illustration of this negative impact than in New York state.
Posted May 9, 2016
With new government data showing that U.S. carbon emissions in 2015 were 12 percent below 2005 levels, it might be time for some to take “yes” for an answer – that yes, on reducing carbon emissions, the United States is showing the way for the rest of the world with abundant, clean-burning natural gas.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says despite the fact the U.S. economy was 15 percent larger in 2015 than it was in 2005 (inflation-adjusted numbers), energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were lower last year than they were 11 years ago.
Posted May 4, 2016
The progress the United States is making toward its climate goals starts with clean-burning natural gas.
Increased domestic natural gas production and its use is the primary reason the United States leads the world in reducing carbon emissions. It’s the keystone for a workable strategy to advance climate goals while sustaining economic growth and prosperity – the U.S. model. The U.S. Energy Department’s Christopher Smith, last week in Houston:
“A big part of the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that we’ve been able to manage in the United States is due to the fact … we’ve got trillions of cubic feet of natural gas that we are going to be able to produce safely, and our domestic supply has gone from one of scarcity to one that has enabled us to use more natural gas in baseload power consumption.”
Posted May 3, 2016
Two more data sets underscore the positive economic impact of America’s energy revolution and the relevance of the U.S. model of concurrent energy and economic growth, consumer benefits and climate progress.
First the consumer benefits part. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that Americans’ cost of living is lower since June 2014, thanks to reduced household energy costs because of decreases in crude oil and natural gas prices. (Right here we’ll add that increased U.S. oil and gas production is a key driver in these declines that are benefiting consumers.)
Posted April 25, 2016
During a speech last week to labor union officials, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo talked big about the need for big infrastructure in this country. Gov. Cuomo mentioned the building of the Erie Canal in the 1800s, the interstate highway system that was launched in the 1950s and the construction of big bridges. The North America’s Building Trades Unions audience cheered and clapped warmly when Cuomo called for the vision and leadership needed for America to once again build big infrastructure:
“We built this nation into the greatest nation on the globe with our hands and sweat. That was the American way. We were tough, we were gutsy, we were daring, and there was no challenge that we wouldn’t take on, and we built this country and we regained that spirit of energy and positivity and ambition. … We can do these big projects. We did do these big projects … The George Washington Bridge, the Verrazano Bridge, hundreds of miles of subway system under New York, an 80-mile aqueduct built in the 1800s just to get water to New York City. We never said no …”
The next day, Cuomo’s administration said no – to the proposed $683 million Constitution natural gas pipeline. No to infrastructure – privately financed at that. No to the construction jobs wanted by the folks who cheered the governor the day before. No to consumers in New York state, who’d benefit from abundant, clean-burning natural gas, piped into a number of the state’s southern counties from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale.
And some wonder why so many Americans are cynical about politicians.
Posted April 8, 2016
Great discussion this week at a program focused on the role of natural gas in America’s future economy, hosted by the Hudson Institute. The discussion couldn’t have been timelier, given surging U.S. natural gas production and the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s recent projection that for the first time ever, natural gas will be the United States’ No. 1 fuel source for electricity generation this year.
Yet, the natural gas discussion quickly, necessarily, turns into a conversation about building new gas infrastructure – needed to serve areas that for lack of infrastructure are either isolated from the resource or the supply is significantly constrained, impacting utilities, consumers and businesses.
Posted April 5, 2016
Last week EPA launched a new program it hopes will encourage U.S. oil and natural gas companies to voluntarily focus on reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations. EPA:
The Methane Challenge Program will provide partner companies with a platform to make company-wide commitments to cut emissions from sources within their operations by implementing a suite of best management practices within five years. Transparency is a fundamental part of the program, and partner achievements will be tracked by submitting annual data directly to EPA.
Two points: First, our industry is already on it, deploying technologies, innovation and yes, best management practices, effectively capturing methane from energy operations. And it’s succeeding. EPA data shows that since 2005 methane emissions from field production of natural gas have dropped 38 percent, and emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells have dropped 79 percent – at a time of surging natural gas production.
It’s happening because energy companies are working hard to collect methane, the main component of natural gas, for the market. Indeed, the abundance of domestic natural gas is helping lower consumer energy costs for U.S. consumers – including those in the Northeast, which historically has paid more for electricity than other parts of the country – and increasing average annual household disposable income by $1,200.