Expert witnesses testifying during Tuesday’s House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing agreed that the United States has plentiful supplies of natural gas, underscoring the ability and need to expand domestic use and move forward with exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Here’s what they had to say:
Daniel Yergin, IHS: “While markets and economics will eventually determine the realistic scale of U.S. exports, one also has to take into account wider considerations in assessing policy regarding future LNG exports. For decades, the United States has made the free flow of energy supplies one of the cornerstones of foreign policy. It is a principle we have urged on many other nations. How can the United States, on one hand, say to a close ally like Japan, suffering energy shortages from Fukushima, please reduce your oil imports from Iran, and yet turn around and, on the other, say new natural gas exports to Japan are prohibited?”
Adam Sieminski, Energy Information Administration (EIA): “Cumulative production of dry natural gas from 2011 through 2035 in the AEO2013 Reference case is about 8 percent higher than in AEO2012, primarily reflecting continued increases in shale gas production that result from the dual application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.”
Mary Hutzler, Institute for Energy Research and former energy analyst at EIA : “The outlook for natural gas production in the United States has dramatically changed over the last decade. Just a few years ago, U.S. manufacturing facilities were moving abroad to pursue more affordable gas. At the time, the U.S. had relatively high natural gas prices. Now … energy companies are considering building liquefied natural gas terminals to export natural gas and new manufacturing plants are springing up around the country. The boom in natural gas production has completely changed the natural gas landscape and has greatly lowered natural gas prices for consumers and industrial users.”
- Japan’s TEPCO gears up for US shale gas imports (utsandiego.com)
- Canada gives OK to LNG exports (upi.com)
- US Department of Energy Grants Pangea LNG Export Authorization [REPORT] (gcaptain.com)
US oil production grew more in 2012 than in any year in the history of the domestic oil industry back to the Civil War
From Saturday’s WSJ:
U.S. oil production grew more in 2012 than in any year in the history of the domestic industry, which began in 1859, and is set to surge even more in 2013. Daily crude output averaged 6.4 million barrels a day last year, up a record 779,000 barrels a day from 2011 and hitting a 15-year high, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API), a trade group. It is the biggest annual jump in production since Edwin Drake drilled the first commercial oil well in Titusville, Pa., two years before the Civil War began (see chart above).
The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts 2013 will be an even bigger year, with average daily production expected to jump by 900,000 barrels a day. The surge comes thanks to a relatively recent combination of technologies—horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves pumping water, chemicals and sand at high pressures to break apart underground rock formations.
Together, they have unlocked deposits of oil and gas trapped in formations previously thought to be unreachable.
That has meant a resurgence of activity in well-established oil regions, such as West Texas’s Permian basin, as well as huge expansions in areas that had been lightly tapped in the past, such as North Dakota’s Bakken shale region. The Bakken has gone from producing just 125,000 barrels of oil a day five years ago to nearly 750,000 barrels a day today.
The benefits of the surge in domestic energy production include improving employment in some regions and a rebound in U.S.-based manufacturing.
MP: Actually, the API’s estimate of a 779,000 barrel per day (bpd) increase in domestic oil last year is pretty conservative compared to year-end comparisons of EIA data for weekly US oil production. Compared to oil output at the end of 2011 (5.846 million bpd), US oil production increased by 1.139 million bpd last year to almost 7 million bpd during the last week of December 2012. Alternatively, using the EIA’s four-week production averages show an increase of 1.063 million bpd from December of 2011 to December 2012. The reason that the yearend comparison shows a much higher annual increase in US oil production (about 1 million bpd vs. 779,000 bpd) is that domestic oil production accelerated during the second of last year – crude oil output increased 14.6% during the second half of 2012 compared to the 4.2% increase during the first six months.
The record increase in oil output last year reminds us the US oil and gas industry continues to be at the forefront of the otherwise sub-par economic recovery, and without that sector’s strong growth in output and jobs, the economy’s sub-par performance would be even more lackluster. The 1 million bpd increase in domestic oil production last year has delivered a powerful energy-based economic stimulus to the economy, creating thousands of new direct, shovel-ready jobs in oil and gas activities, and igniting many spinoff business and indirect jobs throughout the oil and gas supply chain like the “oil-by-rail shipping boom.” The future of the US economy over the next few years looks a lot brighter because of America’s surging domestic energy production.
- US oil production grew more in 2012 than in any year in the history of the domestic oil industry back to the Civil War (aei-ideas.org)
- Energy facts of the week: oil production highest since 1994, oil imports lowest since 1992, and oil jobs highest since 1988 (aei-ideas.org)
- Eagle Ford Shale helps boost U.S. oil production to 15-year high (transwestern-sa.typepad.com)
- Oil Industry Beats Buffett in Railroad Investments Surge: Energy (bloomberg.com)
EIA issued its Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (AEO2013) Reference case, which highlights a growth in total U.S. energy production that exceeds growth in total U.S. energy consumption through 2040.
“EIA’s updated Reference case shows how evolving consumer preferences, improved technology, and economic changes are pushing the nation toward more domestic energy production, greater vehicle efficiency, greater use of clean energy, and reduced energy imports,” said EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski.
“This combination has markedly reduced projected energy-related carbon dioxide emissions,” said Mr. Sieminski.
AEO2013 offers a number of key findings, including:
Crude oil production, especially from tight oil plays, rises sharply over the next decade. Domestic oil production will rise to 7.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2019, up from less than 6 million bpd in 2011.
Motor gasoline consumption will be less than previously estimated. Compared with the last AEO, the AEO2013 shows lower gasoline use, reflecting the introduction of more stringent corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. Growth in diesel fuel consumption will be moderated by the increased use of natural gas in heavy-duty vehicles.
The United States becomes a net exporter of natural gas earlier than estimated a year ago. Because quickly rising natural gas production outpaces domestic consumption, the United States will become a net exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2016 and a net exporter of total natural gas (including via pipelines) in 2020.
Renewable fuel use grows at a much faster rate than fossil fuel use. The share of electricity generation from renewables grows to 16 percent in 2040 from 13 percent in 2011.
Net imports of energy decline. The decline reflects increased domestic production of both petroleum and natural gas, increased use of biofuels, and lower demand resulting from the adoption of new vehicle fuel efficiency standards and rising energy prices. The net import share of total U.S. energy consumption falls to 9 percent in 2040 from 19 percent in 2011.
The AEO2013 Reference case focuses on the drivers that shape U.S. energy markets under the assumption that current laws and regulations remain generally unchanged throughout the projection period. The complete AEO2013, to be released in early 2013, will include many alternative cases in recognition of the uncertainty inherent in making projections about energy markets, which in part arises from assumptions about policies and other market drivers such as trends in prices and economic growth.
- Key updates made for the AEO2013 Reference case include the following:
- Extension of the projection period through 2040, an additional 5 years beyond AEO2012.
- A revised outlook for industrial production to reflect the impacts of increased shale gas production and lower natural gas prices, which result in faster growth for industrial production and energy consumption. The industries affected include, in particular, bulk chemicals and primary metals.
- Adoption of final model year 2017 to 2025 greenhouse gas emissions and CAFE standards for light-duty vehicles (LDVs), which increases the projected combined fuel economy of new LDVs to 47.3 mpg in 2025.
- Updated modeling of LNG export potential.
- Updated power generation unit costs that capture recent cost declines for some renewable technologies, which tend to lead to greater use of renewable generation, particularly solar technologies.
- The Future Of US Energy In 4 Charts (businessinsider.com)
- EIA: Here’s What Oil Prices Will Do For The Next 30 Years (businessinsider.com)
- US Energy Mix to 2040 per EIA (simplerna.com)
By Alan Caruba
I suspect that most people think the Earth is running out of oil or that the U.S. and the rest of the world are “addicted” to its use.
Both beliefs are wrong, but in different ways. First because the Earth produces oil in abundance deep within its mantel in ways that have nothing to do with dead dinosaurs and gives no indication of ever stopping this natural process and, second, because the use of oil for fuel and for thousands of other applications, not the least of which is plastics, is one of the great blessings of modern technology and life.
All this is made dazzlingly clear in Dr. Jerome R. Corsi’s new book, “The Great Oil Conspiracy” ($22.95, Skyhorse Publishing). By way of explaining why there is so much oil within the planet Dr. Corsi tells the story of the Nazi regimes development of synthetic oil after German scientists “cracked the code God built into the heart of chemistry to form hydrocarbons in the first place.” Known as the “Fischer-Tropsch” process, it permitted the Nazis to pursue war even though Germany had no oil fields of its own.
The widespread use of the term “fossil fuels” is a deception created by anti-energy propagandists and earlier theorists to make people believe that oil is the result of countless dead dinosaurs and decaying vegetation. Oil, however, is “abiotic”, a term that means it is a natural product of the earth itself “manufactured at deep levels where there never were any plants or animals.”
Corsi writes of Thomas Gold, a professor of astronomy who taught at Cornell University. In 1998 he published a controversial book entitled “The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels” in which he applied his knowledge of the solar system, noting that carbon is the fourth more abundant element in the universe, right after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. Gold pointed out that “carbon is found mostly in compounds with hydrogen—hydrocarbons—which, at different temperatures and pressures, may be gaseous, liquid, or solid.”
Gold, who passed away in 2004, was way ahead of most other scientists with his assertion that the earth produces oil at very deep levels. While telling the story of how the U.S. went to great lengths to acquire the data regarding synthetic oil production as our military overran Germany and then took care not to let the public know about. It was, after all, our own oil industry that had provided the fuel that aided the war effort in both theatres.
Correspondingly, the oil industry had no reason to develop “relatively expensive synthetic oil when billions of dollars in profits could be made annually bringing to market naturally produced and reasonably priced hydrocarbon fuels, including crude oil and natural gas.”
This mirrors the efforts of “renewable” energy producers, wind, solar, and biofuels like ethanol, to profit at the cost of billions of dollars in subsidies and loan guarantees paid for by taxpayers along with higher electricity and gasoline bills paid for by consumers; all of which are mandated by the federal government. It is pure crony capitalism to enrich a few at the expense of all the rest of us. None of these alternative forms of power could exist or even compete without such government mandated support.
As Dr. Corsi points out, “Eliminating the fear that the world is running out of oil eliminates an urgency to experiment with or to implement alternative fuels including biofuels, wind energy, and solar energy as long as these energies remain less energy-efficient, less reliable, and more costly than using oil and natural gas.”
There are, in fact, “more proven petroleum reserves than ever before, despite the increasing rate at which we are consuming petroleum products worldwide” says Dr. Corsi, noting that the Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy, in on record that “there are more proven crude oil reserves worldwide than ever in recorded history, despite the fact that worldwide consumption of crude oil has doubled since the 1970s.”
So tell me why, since the Obama administration took over, have gas prices per gallon risen from $1.84 to $3.80 now, a rise of 105%? The American Energy Alliance compared costs between 2009 and 2012, publishing them to reveal that we are all paying more for energy. The average monthly residential electricity bill has increased 6% and annual household energy expenses have increased 31%.
At the same time, the Obama Department of Energy increased new rules whose implementation cost more than $100 million each 141%! The Environmental Protection Agency increase of such regulations increased 40%, the Department of the Interior, 13%.
Total regulatory costs (all sectors) went from $1,172 trillion in 2009 to $1,752 trillion today! If you were trying to bankrupt the energy sector and its consumers, this is a great way to do it.
You can access the AEA chart at: Click Here
The Obama administration came into office declaring a war on coal, further restricting oil and natural gas exploration on federal lands and offshore, and wasting billions on solar, wind, and biofuel companies. That in itself would be reason enough to turn them out of office.
The Earth is not running out of oil and likely never will.
© Alan Caruba, 2012
In response to Hurricane Isaac, EIA invoked its emergency-activation survey Form EIA-757B to collect daily data on the status of natural gas processing plant operations.
The survey, completed Friday, September 7, showed that Hurricane Isaac caused considerable disruption to processing infrastructure, although it had a negligible effect on natural gas prices because of ample onshore production and surplus storage.
The last time EIA invoked Form EIA-757B was for Hurricane Ike in September and October 2008. Hurricane Isaac made landfall on the evening of August 28, 2012, and ultimately disrupted natural gas processing operations for more than 10 of the 13.5 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day of total processing capacity in the affected area. The survey captured plants with capacities greater than 100 million cubic feet per day.
The bar chart shows five items:
- Operational capacity (green): Sum of capacity of natural gas processing plants in the path of Isaac that was operating at normal levels
- Reduced capacity (yellow): Capacity that was processing gas at a reduced rate relative to pre-Isaac levels
- Ready to resume capacity (orange): Capacity that was able to process natural gas but was not currently receiving adequate volumes of gas from upstream to justify starting up the plant, or did not have a downstream delivery point able to accept its products
- Shut-in capacity (red): Capacity that was unable to process gas because of damaged plant infrastructure or power outages
- Maintenance capacity (brown): Capacity that was shut down for maintenance because of reasons unrelated to Isaac
Data collected on this survey are compiled with other data and used to provide critical information on the status of energy infrastructure to policy makers, emergency response teams, media, individuals, and businesses in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Situation Report.
Just prior to Isaac making landfall, there were 25 natural gas processing plants in the affected area that were not undergoing maintenance, accounting for 12.6 billion cubic feet per day of available processing capacity. However, widespread power outages (affecting nearly 890,000 customers in Louisiana), reduced gas flows, and the potential for flooding reduced or curtailed operations at many of these plants. Plants most commonly attributed closures to a lack of upstream supply, although a few also cited damage to downstream infrastructure that would receive their dry gas or their natural gas liquids products.
Processing facilities play a key role in the overall natural gas supply chain because they purify and “dry out” raw natural gas from producing wells. This process results in pipeline-quality natural gas for delivery to end-users and a mix of natural gas liquids products to be separated by fractionators.
The Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s final update on the effects of Isaac on offshore oil and natural gas operations, released on September 11, 2012, indicated that less than 5% of Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas production remained shut in.
The Federal Gulf of Mexico has accounted for a progressively smaller share of U.S. natural gas production in recent years. This is because of steadily declining offshore production volumes in the Gulf, combined with growth of shale gas production in various onshore basins and improved pipeline infrastructure to deliver that gas to market.
In 2000, Federal GOM gross natural gas production accounted for more than 20% of total U.S. gross natural gas production; in 2011, Federal GOM represented only 6% of total U.S. gross natural gas production. As a result of these historically low levels of offshore production, increases in onshore production, and strong natural gas storage stocks, Isaac-related shut ins have had little effect on natural gas prices or on gas supply for areas outside the path of the hurricane.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a report that between 2009 and 2011, Pennsylvania’s natural gas production more than quadrupled due to expanded horizontal drilling combined with hydraulic fracturing.
Historically, natural gas exploration and development activity in Pennsylvania was relatively steady, with operators drilling a few thousand conventional (vertical) wells annually. Prior to 2009, these wells produced about 400 to 500 million cubic feet per day of natural gas. With the shift to and increase in horizontal wells, however, Pennsylvania’s natural gas production more than quadrupled since 2009, averaging nearly 3.5 billion cubic feet per day in 2011. Natural gas wells accounted for virtually all (99%) of the horizontal wells started over this period.
Drilling programs in Pennsylvania’s shale formations, like those in other, more established plays such as the Barnett and Eagle Ford in Texas, are migrating to more liquids-rich areas due to the price premium of crude oil and natural gas liquids. The effect of low natural gas prices is apparent in Pennsylvania’s 2012 well count for the first third of the year. From January through April, drilling began on 618 new natural gas wells; over 700 new natural gas wells were started over the same period in 2011. In contrast, 263 new oil and “combination” (oil and natural gas) wells were started in Pennsylvania from January through April 2012, well above the 164 new wells that began drilling during the corresponding period in 2011.
- Ohio considers rules that opponents say favor frackers (fuelfix.com)
- AP: Pa. gas drilling brought $3.5 billion in 2011 (news.yahoo.com)