Topic A: Energy - Analysis, discussion & commentary on energy exploration, development and innovation
Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 31, 2014

Poll Shows Generation Gap in Views on Energy

Fuel Fix reports that “a University of Texas at Austin poll has revealed that there is a growing generation gap between older and younger Americans on issues relating to energy and the environment.”

“Renewable energy, hydraulic fracturing and fossil fuel use divided the 2,105 respondents depending on their age, comparing those 35 and under with those 65 and older.”

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U.S. Crude Output Highest Since 1980s

Bloomberg reports that “U.S. crude production climbed to the highest level in at least three decades last week as the shale boom moved the country closer to energy independence.”

“Output rose 0.4 percent to 8.97 million barrels a day, according to weekly Energy Information Administration estimates that began in January 1983. The EIA’s monthly data, which goes back to 1920 and is based on data collected by state and federal agencies, shows production at the highest since 1986.”

“‘U.S. crude production continues to grow strongly,’ Katherine Spector, a commodities strategist at CIBC World Markets Inc. in New York, said by phone.”

With Keystone XL Blocked, Oil-Sands Industry Looks East

National Geographic reports that “the oil-sands industry in Alberta has a problem: It’s capable of producing more oil than it can get to market. It has tried building new pipelines south into the United States—the famous Keystone XL project—and west to British Columbia. But both projects are stalled and face stiff opposition. Now a battle is heating up over the latest proposal: a 2,858-mile-long pipeline to Canada’s east coast.”

“TransCanada, the same company that wants to build Keystone XL, says it plans to seek Canadian government approval of the Energy East project in early November. “This is largest regulatory application in our company’s history,” said TransCanada spokesperson Shawn Howard. “It’s tens of thousands of pages.” The company announced last year that it had ‘confirmed strong market support.’”

Oman Oil and Gas Minister: Support for Fracking

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “even as his home region captures headlines for the ongoing conflict in Syria and Iraq, a long-serving energy minister in the Middle East said Tuesday that he wants U.S. businesses to know that his country has a ‘competitive advantage’ of peace and stability.”

“’We don’t advertise ourselves,’ said Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy, oil and gas minister in Oman, where he has served since 1997. ‘But we are serious in friendship, we are serious in peace, and we are serious in tolerance and understanding others … and that includes the United States.’”

“Oman also has a wealth of hard-to-get oil and gas that was recently unlocked by hydraulic fracturing.”

The piece further reports that “fracking technology has loosened ‘tight’ natural gas reserves and brought in a number of investors who have historically shied away from development, Mr. Al Rumhy said.”

China Focuses on Energy Opportunity in South China Sea

The New York Times reports that “there is another reason for China’s interest in the South China Sea: the large quantities of oil and natural gas that might lie below these waters. In May, Beijing made its interest in those resources clear when it sent a drilling rig called Haiyang Shiyou 981 into waters claimed by Vietnam. The rig is owned by China National Offshore Oil Corporation, or Cnooc, the country’s biggest offshore energy producer.”

“After the move provoked a standoff with Vietnam, the drilling rig was sent to undisputed waters near China’s island province of Hainan. In September, Cnooc said the rig had discovered a large gas field, which suggested that China had become more proficient at offshore drilling.”

“The United States Energy Information Administration has estimated that 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lie below the seabed, including both proven and probable reserves. If those estimates prove correct, the South China Sea would be in the same league as Mexico, a midsize producer, and in the global top 10 in terms of gas.”

Denver Launches Energy Efficiency Plan for Commercial Buildings

The Denver Post reports on a new city energy efficiency program: “The Denver City Energy Project is targeting Denver’s 6,045 commercial and multifamily buildings of more than 10,000 square feet. The city estimates there are $1.3 billion in energy savings to be harvested from the buildings.”

“‘Addressing climate change is one of the city’s goals, and buildings account for 64 percent of the city’s greenhouse gases,’ said Doug Linkhart, executive director of the Denver Department of Environmental Health. ‘But there are multiple benefits.’”

“The energy project is kicking off with 57 buildings joining the voluntary program.”

Senate Report: Global Oil Production Outages Point to Political Unrest

Fuel Fix reports that “oil production around the globe is a canary in the coal mine, with major disruptions providing a strategic warning about growing instability and persistent violence around the world, according to a new report.”

“While oil supply interruptions can be traced to natural disasters, production problems and other relatively benign causes, in many cases they ‘reflect growing or at least ongoing turmoil,’ says the paper, issued by Republicans on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.”

“’Losses in oil production often reflect instability,’ said the panel’s top Republican member, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. ‘Energy reporting clearly pointed to Iraq’s deteriorating security years before the current collapse and provides us strategic warning of violence in other countries and regions.’”

Commentary: Only Some U.S. States Win with Shale

John Kemp, a Reuters market analyst, writes: “Thanks to shale, energy-producing states have been the strongest economic performers in the United States over the past decade, sharply improving their position compared with the energy-consuming states.”

“Only 13 of the 50 states produced more energy than they consumed in 2010, the latest year for which comprehensive data is available, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).”

“The other 37 were all net energy consumers, relying on some combination of interstate commerce or imports to meet the shortfall.”

PA: Criticism of DEP’s Well Inspection Proposal

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that “the Department of Environmental Protection is proposing a new policy to standardize the way it handles oil and gas well site inspections, enforcement actions and complaints that drilling has damaged water supplies.”

“Some of the provisions might give people ‘heartburn,’ a DEP official said.”

“The proposal lowers expectations for how frequently well sites will be inspected and requires, rather than requests, drilling companies to temporarily replace potentially disrupted water supplies within the radius of their wells where the law presumes the company is to blame.”

Blackfoot Tribes Call on Government to Cancel Energy Leases

The Associated Press reports that “Blackfoot tribal leaders from Canada and Montana are calling on the U.S. government to cancel oil and gas leases on sacred land near Glacier National Park, as a lawsuit works its way through the federal courts.”

“Representatives from the three tribes in Canada and one in Montana that make up the Blackfoot Confederacy sent a letter Friday to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging them to cancel 18 leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area.”

“They are backed by a resolution of support from the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council, which represents the Native American tribes in those states.”

Bakken Natural Gas Flares Reduced

Rigzone reports that “a month after implementing new rules regarding the flaring of natural gas, the state of North Dakota was near compliance with the new limits as oil and gas production companies in the Bakken work to reduce flaring, according to the United States Department of Energy (DOE).”

“In August, 28 percent of North Dakota’s natural gas was flared, the state reported. That was near North Dakota’s flare-rate goal of 26 percent in 4Q 2014, despite an increase in oil production in the Bakken in August, according to the website”

“Following criticism from royalty holders regarding extensive flaring that made North Dakota shine as brightly in satellite photos as large metropolitan areas, the North Dakota Industrial Commission – the state’s regulatory agency for oil and gas – approved new flaring goals on July 1, 2014. The commission’s goal for 4Q 2014 is 26 percent; this drops to 23 percent in 1Q 2015 and 15 percent in 1Q 2016.”

Oklahoma Oil Production to Pass Alaska?

The Tulsa World reports that “Oklahoma is set to surpass Alaska as the country’s fourth-largest oil producer early next year, according to projections by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources Inc.”

“If current trends continue, Oklahoma in early 2017 will move ahead of California as the No. 3 oil producer, Continental CEO Harold Hamm said.”

“’Oklahoma was known as a gas state,’ Hamm said. ‘People thought all the oil was found. But new technology has led to new investment.’”

Report: U.S. Energy Independence 10 Years Away

Natural Gas Intel reports that “the road to energy independence has two lanes: produce more and consume less. Thanks to growing output from shale plays and increasing energy efficiency, the United States is driving in both lanes and is estimated to reach energy independence by 2025, according to consultancy Wood Mackenzie.”

“When the country does reach energy independence, it will be the first time since 1952 that the United States exports more energy than it imports, according to the firm’s analysts.”

Producers Lobby for Oil Exports

Fuel Fix reports that “the nation’s largest independent oil companies are banding together to lobby for the right to export crude around the world.”

“The new venture, dubbed ‘Producers for American Crude Oil Exports,’ is the first formal lobbying effort solely designed to take down the 39-year-old ban on selling most U.S. oil overseas. With more than a dozen independent oil companies on board, the venture is a sign that the industry is revving up for a big, coordinated push to dismantle those trade restrictions next year, when a new Congress is sworn in and the Obama administration may have more political freedom to tackle the issue.”

Sen. Wyden: DOE Should Study Strategic Petroleum Reserve

A press release states: “Sen. Ron Wyden, D- Ore., asked the Department of Energy to follow through on a recommendation from the Government Accountability Office to study the size and make-up of the United States Strategic Petroleum Reserve – the largest emergency supply of crude oil in the world.”

“In a report released Monday, the GAO noted that increased domestic crude oil production, combined with decreasing net oil imports as well as industry developments and related public policies implemented over the last 40 years raise serious questions about the necessary size of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Given these changes, the GAO recommended the DOE, which is responsible for maintaining the reserve, initiate an evaluation.”

“’The recent shale boom is having a profound effect on United States energy policy,’ Wyden wrote in the letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. ‘In fact, some policy provisions put in place as recently as 2007 are now at best irrelevant, or at worst detrimental, to national environmental and economic goals, while much of our law in relation to oil and gas conservation and reserves comes from the 1970s.’”

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