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The Global Energy Game Changer @ Work

USEnergy Boom Infographic McClatchy

The Global Energy Game Changer @ Work The US oil and gas business is booming because of the shale revolution at work, but in many parts of the industry there are growing pains.  The super majors face rising costs for finding and developing new reserves.  The midstream players face infrastructure bottlenecks.  Refineries face a glut of light crude or condensate that does not fit the refining process demand for heavy crude and thus must be pre-processed out.  Even the shale pioneers who struck …Continue Reading »

Shale Gas Supply Growth Shakes Up Everything

EIA World Shale Resources

SOURCE:  US EIA Data and Reuters graphic The shale revolution is a full reversal of energy fortunes in the United States.  It might have similar potential in other parts of the world if as projected global LNG prices decline over the decade ahead and indexing gas prices to oil erodes from competitive pressures on existing oil-indexed LNG suppliers. Large volumes of global gas supplies are expected come to market at prices below oil price parity (assuming oil prices at or above $90/bbl). …Continue Reading »

Should the US Lift the Ban on Crude Oil Exports?

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There is a growing debate over lifting the US ban on crude oil exports.  Recently US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said he thought it time to review the prudence of the exports ban during the 2014 quadrennial review of US energy policies.  Not everyone has responded favorably to the calls to ease the ban so expect a loud debate over the year ahead. For more than thirty years, the United States has banned crude oil exports.  The logic at the time was energy security concern both from sending oil …Continue Reading »

Light Sweet Crude Displacement

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I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and despite its well-deserved ‘tree hugger’ image the inland part of the Bay is home to a concentration of refineries essential to California’s economic vitality.  These refineries produce the boutique blend of gasoline not available anywhere else.  The EPA’s insistence on these unique regional gasoline blends is one reason fuel prices are higher here in California than elsewhere in the country.  When one of our California refineries burps or has any type …Continue Reading »

Doha was a Dud!

The Doha climate change conference concluded this week with what has become a familiar ring.  Nothing much of import happened and increasingly fewer people noticed.  Oh, the issues at the surface are still the same as they have been since they first flamed out in 2009 at Copenhagen.  These events have become a global debate over wealth redistribution with the poorer countries trying to guilt the richer ones into paying them not to pollute their own backyards----and if that is not silly enough …Continue Reading »

Common Sense Kiss of Death for Climate Change Lawsuits

The decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp., No. 09-17490, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 19870 (9th Cir. Sept. 21, 2012) if left standing has the practical effect of ending the way environmental law claims are decided.  In a unanimous decision, the Appeals Court dismissed the case against XOM and other oil, energy and utilities companies alleging that their greenhouse gas emissions threaten the defendants’ property and other …Continue Reading »

The Dirty Little Secret of Economic Impacts of Federal Rules

“We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (collectively referred to as the ‘‘Services’’ or ‘‘we’’), propose to revise our regulations pertaining to impact analyses conducted for designations of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (the Act). These changes are being proposed as directed by the President’s February 28, 2012, memorandum, which directed us to take prompt steps to revise our regulations to provide …Continue Reading »

The Revenge of Competitive Markets and the Big Shift in Energy Economics

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The economy, jobs and the debate over the direction of the country dominate 2012 political campaigns.  Nowhere is the political rhetoric fiercer than on energy issues. Today there is wave after wave of new Federal regulation designed to favor clean energy strategies at the expense of fossil fuels that still provide most of our energy resources.  There is broad public support for environmental quality but we see Federal energy industrial policy as hugely expensive, highly disruptive with spotty …Continue Reading »

Too Much of Two Good Things

The Pacific Northwest is experiencing too much of two good things.  The region is blessed with high quality, low cost hydropower generation which serves as the backbone of the power generation system.  Over the past decade, the Colombia River corridor has sprouted a sizable fleet of wind generation. So what’s the problem, you ask? The forces of nature do not always choreograph their energy dance.   Power generation happens in a run of the river system when the winter snow pack begins to melt.  …Continue Reading »

Natural Gas is Cleaner, Cheaper, Easier and Riskier

There is much to like in the growth of natural gas as the marginal fuel of choice for power generation.  Clean, cheap, easier to site, quicker to build, fewer regulatory or environmental hassles----and it cuts emissions 40% compared to coal. A new study by Professor Lawrence M. Cathles, Cornell University, recently published in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics and Geosystems calls natural gas a transition step to a low-carbon energy future of wind, solar and nuclear energy.  He says …Continue Reading »