Posted December 9, 2014
The Hill: Methane leaks from natural gas drilling and production have fallen from the last estimate more than a year ago, according to a study sponsored by the industry and an environmental group.
Leaks of methane, the main component of natural gas, now represent 0.38 percent of production volumes, according to the study released Tuesday.
That is 10 percent lower than what the same University of Texas research team found in September 2013. Methane is a greenhouse has about 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
“Study after study shows that industry-led efforts to reduce emissions through investments in new technologies and equipment are paying off,” Howard Feldman, director of regulatory and scientific affairs at the American Petroleum Institute, said in a statement.
“This latest study shows that methane emissions are a fraction of estimates from just a few years ago,” he said.
Posted December 8, 2014
Chicago Tribune Editorial: Last summer the Chicago City Council briefly considered an ordinance that would require gas stations in the city to sell a blend of fuel called E15, which has the potential to damage your car engine.
An E15 mandate is a patently bad idea. Changing pumps to sell a fuel blend of 15 percent ethanol — what you buy now has 10 percent — would be a big expense for gas stations. And E15 isn't safe for use in many older engines, from cars to trucks to boats to lawn mowers.
The idea seemed to die last summer. You might think the aldermen decided to put their constituents before the ethanol industry lobbyists who are pushing this fuel mandate. If you did, chalk that up to a triumph of hope over experience. This is, after all, the Chicago City Council.
Posted December 5, 2014
U.S. News: Proved reserves of crude and lease condensate in the U.S. rose 9.3 percent in 2013 as drillers showed they could extract more oil than previously thought from shale formations in places like Texas and North Dakota.
Reserves increased 3.1 billion barrels to 36.5 billion, the Energy Information Administration said today in its annual U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves report. It was the fifth year in a row that proved reserves increased. They also exceeded 36 billion barrels for the first time since 1975.
Proved reserves, or resources that can be recovered under existing economic and operating conditions, grew after U.S. oil output surged to the highest level in 31 years. Companies used horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to extract oil from underground shale rock layers that sat untouched a decade ago.
Posted December 1, 2014
U.S. News: After two decades changing diapers, nanny Shelly Alexander was ready for a change herself.
“I wanted a job I could use my brain for,” says Alexander, who lives in Spring Valley in northeast Pennsylvania. “I had a great job, but I had no retirement, I had no benefits. It was just time.”
She tried working for a local gym. She made meal plans for friends, flirting with the idea of becoming a dietitian. But at age 40, four years of college to get the degree she'd need for that job held little appeal. Plus, in the past decade, a far more lucrative opportunity had moved into the area: hydraulic fracturing.
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 25, 2014
CNBC: America's unexpected transformation into the world's biggest natural gas producer and one of the globe's largest oil producers will give the U.S. more geopolitical clout on the world stage—including in key relationships with China, Russia and the Middle East.
By 2020, the U.S. is likely to be energy independent, along with Canada, its biggest import and export partner. Add to that a new boom expected from a reforming energy industry in Mexico, and North America will more than hold its own as a powerhouse in the global energy market.
The ripple, however, will be increasingly felt across the world. In the next several years, the European Union could be importing U.S. gas—and possibly even oil, if current laws change—lessening Russia's stranglehold on the European economy.
Posted November 24, 2014
After decades of declining domestic oil production, the country is in the middle of an unexpected boom. Driven by new technology that reaches previously inaccessible reserves, production has soared by millions of barrels a day. This surge has been a key factor driving oil prices down.
So, should U.S. oil companies be allowed to sell that oil overseas?
Because of a restriction dating back to the oil scares of the 1970s, producers for the most part can’t export their oil. The export ban was part of a series of laws passed to ease supply concerns and prevent U.S. producers from skirting price controls by selling crude into the world market at higher prices.
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.
Posted November 19, 2014
Tapping the energy resources off America’s coasts could improve our economy, our energy security and create thousands of jobs. Two new studies highlight the remarkable boost to job creation, U.S. energy security, domestic investment, and revenue to the government that lies within the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
API’s Group Director Erik Milito and the National Ocean Industries Association’s Randall Luthi outlined the studies for reporters during a conference call today. Milito:
“The oil and natural gas industry is a rare bright spot in our economy, and the ability to safely develop new offshore resources is critical to America’s continued energy security and job growth.”
Posted November 19, 2014
WYTV (ABC, Ohio): The Utica Shale Academy, located inside Southern Local Schools, held a special demonstration Tuesday for students and board members.
Austin Sadler, 17, is the only senior in the academy. He hasn’t wasted any time obtaining three certifications needed to get a job in the oil and gas industry after graduation.
Sadler said he has learned how to case a well, install pipe and tubing and understands how gas and oil is extracted from the ground. The first certification he received was for safety, called the Rig Pass.
“It allows me to be safely on any rig. I can be on a rig and know what I am doing and what not to do,” Sadler said.