Posted March 24, 2017
Posted January 24, 2017
President Trump’s executive orders clearing the way to restart the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines are welcome indeed. Both projects represent great opportunity for U.S. jobs, consumer benefits, economic growth and strengthened energy security. At the same time, the significance of the White House’s action goes beyond a pair of important energy projects. It’s a signal that long-needed energy infrastructure will once again be able to advance in this country – under regular-order reviews and approval processes – providing broad benefits to millions of Americans.
Posted January 8, 2016
The United States is overdue for a fact-based conversation about energy infrastructure. The needs are great. IHS estimates that needed energy infrastructure through the middle of the next decade could spur $1.15 trillion in private capital investment and support more than 1 million jobs. But there are roadblocks.
The long fight over the Keystone XL pipeline has anti-progress, anti-fossil fuel advocates targeting other needed projects. During his State of American Energy 2016 remarks this week, API President and CEO Jack Gerard warned that ideological opposition to infrastructure will hurt the United States:
“The demonization of the Keystone XL pipeline remains a powerful cautionary tale of the dangers of energy policy driven by ideology rather than economic reality and has a chilling effect on expansion efforts for our nation’s energy infrastructure. That’s not just bad national energy policy. It is also bad news for our nation’s economy.”
Thus the need for a rational conversation about the country’s infrastructure needs that’s based on fact. Such as: America’s more than 199,000 miles of liquid pipelines deliver about 16 billion barrels of crude oil and petroleum products a year, with a safety rate of 99.999 percent. And another: Industry keeps working toward a goal of zero incidents by continually improving safety in the infrastructure sector.
Posted November 12, 2015
Another postscript to the president’s unfortunate and shortsighted rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline last week: The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that as total U.S. crude oil imports decline, Canada’s share of the imports total is rising.
The data shows that in August 1995 the U.S. imported a total of 7.43 million barrels per day (bb/d), including a little over 1 million bb/d from Canada, about 13 percent of the total. In August this year U.S. oil imports were 7.63 million bb/d (down from a high of 10.7 million bb/d in June 2005), including 3.4 million bb/d from Canada, about 45 percent of the total. (At the same time imports from Venezuela, which produces a heavy crude similar to oil sands crude, have declined from 1.29 million bb/d in 2004 to 849,000 bb/d in August – no doubt, a result of increasing supply from Canada.)
What we see here is a snapshot of the strategically important growth in the United States’ energy partnership with Canada. Our neighbor and ally is our No. 1 source of imported oil – almost three times larger than imports from Persian Gulf countries.
Posted November 10, 2015
It’s too bad that when President Obama finally announced his decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, he turned his back on American jobs, economic growth and increased energy security – each of them compelling, “national interest” reasons for building the pipeline. Also unfortunate is that the president also turned his back on science and fact.
Read the State Department’s final word on Keystone XL, and you see that State, as it said in its previous environmental reviews, acknowledges that the pipeline would have little to no climate impact.
The Keystone XL rejection was about perceptions and appearances – perceptions the president and his administration created, detached from science and fact set forth in State’s analysis, to help cultivate the appearances of climate change leadership.
Throughout Keystone XL’s tortuous, seven-year slog at the White House, the pipeline – this pipeline – was a symbol, a foil the administration used to help keep the professional activist class activated and the world climate community applauding.
Posted September 17, 2015
This Saturday marks a dubious anniversary: seven years since the first permit application was filed to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
Given the typical process for a federal cross-border pipeline approval, Keystone XL should have started pumping oil from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region years ago. For purely political reasons, Keystone XL has languished with the Obama administration for seven years now – denying significant energy, economic and national security benefits to the United States.
The months and years come and go, and yet American public support for Keystone XL has remained a constant – underscoring the political nature of the White House’s mishandling of the project. A new poll of registered voters found 68 percent of Americans want the pipeline built – compared to 21 percent opposed. The result is similar to this poll last fall as well as polls in April 2014, December 2013, April 2013, February 2012 and others. This is consensus. With the American people, Keystone XL is a settled issue.
Posted July 28, 2015
As a pending energy issue whose lack of resolution is penalizing U.S. consumers and U.S. energy security, the Keystone XL pipeline may be unsurpassed in its importance.
It’s a $5.4 billion piece of strategic energy infrastructure that unfortunately has become a political football during nearly seven years of White House delay. It’s delay not based on Keystone XL’s energy and economic merits or its climate impacts – all exhaustively analyzed by five U.S. State Department reviews (latest one here). Rather, the project has been delayed because of an extreme, off-oil agenda whose proponents made a privately financed infrastructure project that this country needs into a political symbol.
Posted July 10, 2015
Here’s one takeaway from IHS’ new research report on Canadian oil sands: Thank goodness for Canada and its oil sands.
Along with our own domestic energy renaissance, oil sands imports from our northern neighbor and ally are growing America’s energy security. Oil sands crude is critically important now and will be into the future, IHS says – which is why we here in the United States should be ever so grateful for our energy partnership with Canada and attentive to ways that relationship can be strengthened.
Yes, that’s a reference to the long-languishing Keystone XL pipeline. If we’re serious about oil sands development – and IHS’ report strongly suggests Americans should be – then we should quit politicking to death the single biggest infrastructure project at hand that would facilitate oil sands transportation to the U.S.
Posted July 6, 2015
Another sign of the times on the Keystone XL pipeline: South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is weighing pipeline builder TransCanada’s request for a reissued construction permit because the company’s original permit died of old age – victimized by the White House’s failure to decide on Keystone XL despite nearly seven years of review.
That’s right. TransCanada’s first construction permit for the 314 miles of the pipeline that would cross South Dakota expired last summer. You could say the cause of death was neglect – neglect by the White House, with its Keystone XL review approaching the seven-year mark this fall.
So, TransCanada seeks a reissued permit. The PUC is scheduled to hold a public input session Monday night, followed by evidentiary hearings July 27 and Aug. 4.
A couple of points. The first is to underscore again the absurd and unfair way the White House has kept Keystone XL in suspended animation, causing a state construction permit that’s good for four years to lapse. The second is to point out that the economic and energy merits of building Keystone XL – for South Dakota and the U.S. – remain unchanged, basically unchallenged by pipeline opponents.
Posted July 6, 2015
USA Today (editorial) – Fracking — the practice of cracking open underground oil and gas formations with water, sand and chemicals — has rescued U.S. energy production from a dangerous decline. Any debate about banning it should take a hard look at what that would cost the nation and at facts that aren't always part of the discussion.
Those facts are spelled out in a recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency on fracking and groundwater. One of the harshest charges against fracking, often leveled with apocalyptic intensity by its foes, is that it indiscriminately contaminates vital drinking water supplies.
The EPA's timely report essentially said that's overblown.