Put America’s 'Spare' Oil Productive Capacity to Work

Global oil prices are driven by a ‘rule of thumb’ that suggests prices will go up when the spare capacity of oil available on any given day is less than 5% of expected global demand.  In today’s high priced oil market that swing in spare capacity is about 2%. This a big deal because traders worry about risk such as events in the Middle East, or with Iran or any other places that supplies oil.  Spare capacity or swing productive capacity is the volume of oil than can be delivered as a percentage …Continue Reading »

The ‘Death Rattle’ of Carbon Policy

In both the EU and the US carbon policy correctness has run its course having been discredited by scandal, the persistence of scientific method, and public pressure to recognize market realities. The proponents of carbon policy changes are caught between panic and despair. They came so close to implementing their policy regimes, and cannot now accept that the world has said ‘No!’ The evidence of the death rattle of carbon policy has been presenting itself for a while but like a degenerative …Continue Reading »

EPA Plays ‘The Hunger Games’ with Coal

The US EPA proposed new rules March 27, 2012 that limit the amount of carbon dioxide that may be emitted at new US power plants.  The notice of proposed rulemaking was careful to point out that the proposed rules would not apply to existing power plants, modified plants or those under construction. The practical effect of the proposed rules on carbon emissions would be to ban new coal plant construction unless the new plant reduces its emissions output to the level of a natural gas fired …Continue Reading »

Sackett’s Sack US EPA at Supreme Court 9-0

This was a victory worth savoring. The US Supreme Court in a 9-0 ruling overturned a lower court decision denying judicial review of an enforcement action decision by the US EPA  assertion that their property was a wetland. You may have seen this story on TV. It is a classic David and Goliath story of the government seeking to use its regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act to force these Idaho property owners to stop construction of a new home and restore the land to its original …Continue Reading »

Solar Goldilocks Symbolism in Tariff Decision

Not too big.  Not too small.  It was just right! That seems to be the key takeaway from the decision by the US Government to impose import duties on China solar panels ranging from 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent to match the level of government subsidies received by the Chinese manufacturers.  The US International Trade Commission issued a preliminary ruling in December that the US PV manufacturing industry had been harmed by Chinese subsidy practices, but the decision issued March 20th quantified …Continue Reading »

Between FERC and a Hard Place

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is trying to avoid being drawn into the political battle over the regulatory agenda being pursued by the US EPA against fossil fuel emissions in the wave of new environmental regulations being issued by the agency.   US EPA knows it is only a few votes away from being overturned in the US Senate where even Democrats running for re-election want desperately to avoid having to take a stand on this issue. Industry trade groups, state regulators and industry …Continue Reading »

Is Bill Clinton in Hillary’s Doghouse over Keystone XL Pipeline?

Every husband has been there.  It is not a good place to be. But when you are the former President of the United States and your wife is the current Secretary of State charged with carrying water for her boss on the Keystone XL pipeline project, prudence suggests caution when exercising your First Amendment rights to ‘say whatever you please.’ As we all know, just because we have a right to our opinion does not mean we aren’t going to pay a price for privilege.  So why did Bill Clinton do …Continue Reading »

The Answer to Oil Price Spike Outrage is Right Before Our Eyes

Our world is in a ‘funk’---again over global oil price spikes caused by concerns about conflict between Iran and Israel drawing the US into a war, the continuing agony of Greek debt and its euro contagion, worries that China may have deeper economic problems than thought that will drag the global economy back into recession.  In other words, situation normal. But the situation is not normal in the US since we are in the midst of the primary election season and spiking oil prices is seen as a …Continue Reading »

Setting the Stage for Change: Big Picture Energy Trends

Technology and global competition are profoundly impacting our energy future.  The evidence is all around us in wind and solar energy advances, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing creating a new North American oil and gas boom market, and the technologies driving smart grid, microgrids, and constant energy management. What are the forces of change taking place in energy today? Global competition for energy resources from emerging economies like China Struggle over energy policy and …Continue Reading »

Proving Up Marcellus Shale is a Good News Story

While politicians debate North American energy policy the markets have chosen natural gas as the fuel of the future. The tremendous growth of unconventional shale gas is insuring that future will take place. This is not new news, the EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2011 estimated that the US has 2,543 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of potential natural gas resources.  That is about 100 years of gas supply at our average annual rate of consumption. As more drilling and unconventional natural gas E&P …Continue Reading »