Archive

Archive for the ‘energy’ Category

CRS — U.S. Crude Oil Export Policy: Background and Considerations

April 17, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Crude Oil Export Policy: Background and Considerations (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via National Agricultural Law Center)

During an era of oil price controls and following the 1973 Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries oil embargo, Congress passed the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975 (EPCA), which directs the President “to promulgate a rule prohibiting the export of crude oil” produced in the United States. Crude oil export restrictions are codified in the Export Administration Regulations administered by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)—a Commerce Department agency. The President has some powers to allow certain crude oil exports if an exemption is determined to be in the national interest.

About these ads

Offshore Oil and Gas Governance in the Arctic: A Leadership Role for the U.S.

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Offshore Oil and Gas Governance in the Arctic: A Leadership Role for the U.S.
Source: Brookings Institution

The Arctic is changing and increasingly drawing the world’s interest, with the potential for vast reserves of offshore oil and gas constituting arguably the most attractive, yet challenging prospect in the region.

As the U.S. prepares to assume chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015, this policy brief is designed to inform the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government of the current state of oil and gas governance in the Arctic, and to address the following questions:

  • How can the U.S. elevate the Arctic region as a priority national interest?
  • How can the U.S. lead in strengthening offshore oil and gas governance in the Arctic?

Are you ready for the resource revolution?

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Are you ready for the resource revolution?
Source: McKinsey & Company

Meeting increasing global demand requires dramatically improving resource productivity. Yet technological advances mean companies have an extraordinary opportunity not only to meet that challenge but to spark the next industrial revolution as well.

Emerging Arctic Explored in New CFR InfoGuide

April 14, 2014 Comments off

Emerging Arctic Explored in New CFR InfoGuide
Source: Council on Foreign Relations

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has released a new interactive guide examining the economic opportunities and environmental risks emerging in the Arctic. Climate change, technological advances, and a growing demand for natural resources are driving a new era of development in the Arctic region. Many experts assert that Arctic summers could be free of sea ice in a matter of decades, opening the region up to hundreds of billions of dollars in investment, most notably in energy production and shipping.

New From the GAO

April 14, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Report
Source: Government Accountability Office

Petroleum Refining: Industry’s Outlook Depends on Market Changes and Key Environmental Regulations. GAO-14-249, March 14.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-249
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/661714.pdf

Secretary of Energy Advisory Board — Task Force Report on FracFocus 2.0 (March 28, 2014)

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Secretary of Energy Advisory Board — Task Force Report on FracFocus 2.0 (March 28, 2014) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Energy (Energy Advisory Board)

This report presents the findings and recommendations for the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) Task Force on FracFocus. This Task Force report builds upon and extends the 2011 SEAB Subcommittee report on the environmental impacts of unconventional gas production.

The Task Force believes that the FracFocus experience to date demonstrates the ease of disclosure of chemicals added to fracturing fluid for companies, the value of this disclosure for the public, and the importance of public confidence in the quality and accessibility of the FracFocus chemical registry data. It has accomplished a good deal and shows the capacity to make improvements at modest additional cost. FracFocus has greatly improved public disclosure quickly and with a significant degree of uniformity.

The Task Force recommends a number of actions that will further improve the effectiveness of the FracFocus disclosure of chemical additives and improve transparency for regulators, operating companies, and the public. Recommendations are made for improving the accuracy and completeness of registry submissions. In addition, the Task Force believes that an independent audit to assess the accuracy and compliance of the process will be useful for all stakeholders.

U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves (With Data for 2012)

April 10, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves
Source: Energy Information Administration

Proved reserves are volumes of oil and natural gas that geological and engineering data demonstrate with reasonable certainty to be recoverable in future years from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions. In 2012, oil and gas exploration and production companies operating in the United States added 4.5 billion barrels of crude oil and lease condensate proved reserves, an increase of 15.4% from 2011—the largest annual increase since 1970.1 U.S. proved reserves of crude oil and lease condensate have now risen for four consecutive years. Also, proved reserves of oil exceeded 33.4 billion barrels for the first time since 1976.

Proved reserves of U.S. wet natural gas2 decreased 7.5% (a loss of 26 trillion cubic feet) to 323 trillion cubic feet in 2012(Table 1). Total discoveries of oil and natural gas proved reserves both exceeded U.S. production in 2012, with the largest discoveries occurring onshore within the Lower 48 states. The 2012 decline interrupted a 14-year trend of consecutive increases in natural gas proved reserves (Figure 1).

Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran: Requirements for a Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement

April 9, 2014 Comments off

Preventing a Nuclear-Armed Iran: Requirements for a Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement
Source: Brookings Institution

After a dozen-year standoff between Iran and the international community over the Iranian nuclear program, negotiations are underway between representatives of Iran, on the one hand, and the P5+1 countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China) and the European Union, on the other, on a comprehensive agreement aimed at ensuring that an Iranian nuclear program declared to be devoted to peaceful purposes will not be turned into a program for producing nuclear weapons.

However, key differences exist on the requirements of an acceptable deal, not just among negotiators at the table but also among key players outside the negotiations. Israeli officials and a number of members of Congress are demanding the elimination of key elements of Iran’s nuclear program, and the Obama administration and its supporters counter that several of those demands are neither achievable nor necessary for a sound agreement.

Annual Energy Outlook 2014

April 8, 2014 Comments off

Annual Energy Outlook 2014
Source: Energy Information Administration

We begin the staged release of the full Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014), expanding on the AEO2014 Reference case tables and highlights that were issued in December 2013. The April 7 release will include the first of eight Issues in Focus articles which will be released according to the schedule at right. The final components of the full AEO2014 will be released on April 30, 2014.

The disruptive potential of solar power

April 4, 2014 Comments off

The disruptive potential of solar power
Source: McKinsey & Company

The economics of solar power are improving. It is a far more cost-competitive power source today than it was in the mid-2000s, when installations and manufacturing were taking off, subsidies were generous, and investors were piling in. Consumption continued rising even as the MAC Global Solar Energy Index fell by 50 percent between 2011 and the end of 2013, a period when dozens of solar companies went bankrupt, shut down, or changed hands at fire-sale prices.

The bottom line: the financial crisis, cheap natural gas, subsidy cuts by cash-strapped governments, and a flood of imports from Chinese solar-panel manufacturers have profoundly challenged the industry’s short-term performance. But they haven’t undermined its potential; indeed, global installations have continued to rise—by over 50 percent a year, on average, since 2006. The industry is poised to assume a bigger role in global energy markets; as it evolves, its impact on businesses and consumers will be significant and widespread. Utilities will probably be the first, but far from the only, major sector to feel solar’s disruptive potential.

Wind Power Can Be Cost-Comparable, New Analysis Reveals

April 3, 2014 Comments off

Wind Power Can Be Cost-Comparable, New Analysis Reveals
Source: Syracuse University School of Information Studies

The costs of using wind energy and natural gas for electricity are virtually equal when accounting for the full private and social costs of each, making wind a competitive energy source for the United States, according to a new study on the federal tax credit for wind energy.

Just released by researchers at Syracuse University and the University of California, the analysis shows that wind energy comes within .35 cents per kWh when levelized over the 20-year life of a typical wind contract, compared on an equivalent basis to the full costs for natural gas-fired energy, according to Jason Dedrick, associate professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies (iSchool).

2013-2014 Winter Heating Costs for Older and Low-Income Households

April 2, 2014 Comments off

2013-2014 Winter Heating Costs for Older and Low-Income Households
Source: AARP Research

Record breaking cold weather this heating season will leave many older American households facing higher heating costs than last year. While heating costs continue to be higher for households heating with fuel oil than those heating with natural gas or electricity, costs to heat with natural gas, electricity, and propane have risen for many households across the United States.

This report analyzes data from the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Surveys and the February 2014 Short-Term Energy Outlook. It examines heating-related energy consumption and expenditures among consumers age 65 and older based on income, heating fuel used, and geographic location. Winter heating costs are likely to be a greater burden on older low-income households than on similarly aged higher-income households, even though low-income households tend to use less heating fuel than other groups. This report will be updated monthly through March 2014 as new data are released.

Country Analysis Brief: South Korea

April 2, 2014 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: South Korea
Source: Energy Information Administration

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that South Korea was the world’s ninth-largest energy consumer in 2011. Korea is one of the top energy importers in the world and relies on fuel imports for about 97% of its primary energy demand because the country lacks domestic energy reserves. In 2013, the country was the second-largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the fourth-largest importer of coal, and the fifth-largest net importer of total petroleum and other liquids. South Korea has no international oil or natural gas pipelines and relies exclusively on tanker shipments of LNG and crude oil. Despite its lack of domestic energy resources, South Korea is home to some of the largest and most advanced oil refineries in the world. In an effort to improve the nation’s energy security, oil and gas companies are aggressively seeking overseas exploration and production opportunities.

CRS — U.S.-Vietnam Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: Issues for Congress

March 31, 2014 Comments off

U.S.-Vietnam Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

U.S.-Vietnamese cooperation on nuclear energy and nonproliferation has grown in recent years along with closer bilateral economic, military, and diplomatic ties. In 2010, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding that Obama Administration officials said would be a “stepping stone” to a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement. This agreement was signed by the two countries in December 2013.

Under section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (as amended), this agreement is subject to congressional review. The nuclear cooperation agreement is expected to comply with all the terms of the Atomic Energy Act as amended and therefore will be a “non-exempt” agreement. This means that it will enter into force upon the 90th day of continuous session after its submittal to Congress (a period of 30 plus 60 days of review) unless Congress enacts a Joint Resolution disapproving the agreement.

Vietnam would be the first country in Southeast Asia to operate a nuclear power plant. Vietnam has announced a nuclear energy plan that envisions installing several nuclear plants, capable of producing up to 14,800 megawatts of electric power (MWe), by 2030. Nuclear power is projected to provide 20%-30% of the country’s electricity by 2050. Significant work remains, however, to develop Vietnam’s nuclear energy infrastructure and regulatory framework.

CRS — In Brief: U.S. Nuclear Weapon “Pit” Production: Background and Options

March 31, 2014 Comments off

In Brief: U.S. Nuclear Weapon “Pit” Production: Background and Options (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Congress is involved in the long-running and costly decision regarding the future production of “pits”; a pit is a nuclear weapon’s plutonium core. Rocky Flats Plant (CO) mass-produced pits during the Cold War; production ceased in 1989. The Department of Energy (DOE), which maintains U.S. nuclear weapons, then established a small pit manufacturing capability at PF-4, a building at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) (NM). PF-4 has made at most 11 pits per year (ppy). DOE also proposed higher-capacity facilities; none came to fruition.

U.S. policy is to maintain existing nuclear weapons. To do this, the Department of Defense has stated that it needs DOE to have the capacity to produce 50-80 ppy by 2030. This report focuses on options to reach 80 ppy. A separate debate, not discussed here, is the validity of the requirement; a lower capacity would be simpler and less costly to attain.

Mining, Quarrying, Oil and Gas Extraction Booming, According to First Results from the Census Bureau’s 2012 Economic Census

March 27, 2014 Comments off

Mining, Quarrying, Oil and Gas Extraction Booming, According to First Results from the Census Bureau’s 2012 Economic Census
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector of the economy showed tremendous growth from 2007 to 2012 as the number of establishments rose by 26.4 percent, according to the 2012 Economic Census Advance Report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.

First Look: 2012 Economic Census Advance Report Shows Changes

These results provide the first comprehensive look at the U.S. economy since the 2007 recession. The economic census is the most authoritative and comprehensive source of information about U.S. businesses from the national to the local level. It provides the foundation and benchmark for gross domestic product, monthly retail sales, as well as other indicators of economic performance.

“The economic census is one of the Commerce Department’s most valuable data resources,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said. “By providing a close-up look at millions of U.S. companies in thousands of industries, the economic census is an important tool that informs policy at the local, state and national level, and helps businesses make critical decisions that drive economic growth and job creation. At the Department of Commerce, one of the top priorities of our ‘Open for Business Agenda’ is to make our data easier to access and understand so that it can continue enabling startups, moving markets, protecting life and property, and powering both small and large businesses across the country.”

Revenue for mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction grew 34.2 percent to $555.2 billion from 2007 to 2012. It also was among the fastest growers in employment as the number of employees rose 23.3 percent to 903,641.

Energy Boom Fuels Rapid Population Growth in Parts of Great Plains; Gulf Coast Also Has High Growth Areas, Says Census Bureau

March 27, 2014 Comments off

Energy Boom Fuels Rapid Population Growth in Parts of Great Plains; Gulf Coast Also Has High Growth Areas, Says Census Bureau
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Oil- and gas-rich areas in and near the Great Plains contained many of the fastest-growing areas in the U.S. last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates released today. Areas along and near the Gulf Coast were also home to several high-growth communities.

County and Metro Population

Of the nation’s 10 fastest-growing metropolitan statistical areas in the year ending July 1, 2013, six were within or near the Great Plains, including Odessa, Texas; Midland, Texas; Fargo, N.D.-Minn.; Bismarck, N.D.; Casper, Wyo.; and Austin-Round Rock, Texas.

Micropolitan statistical areas, which contain an urban cluster of between 10,000 and 49,999 people, followed a similar pattern, with seven located in or adjacent to the Great Plains among the fastest-growing between 2012 and 2013. Williston, N.D., ranked first in growth (10.7 percent), followed by Dickinson, N.D. Andrews, Texas; Minot, N.D.; and two areas in western Oklahoma (Weatherford and Woodward) also made the top 10, as did Hobbs, N.M.

“The data released in today’s population estimates report provide an important look at the fastest-growing counties and metro areas,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “Coupled with yesterday’s Economic Census report results, the Census Bureau’s population report provides a bigger picture of why certain areas may be growing or shrinking, which is critical for business and government decision-making. The Commerce Department’s ‘Open for Business Agenda’ supports making our data easier to access and understand, so that it can continue enabling startups, moving markets, protecting life and property, and powering both small and large businesses across the country.”

“As the first results from the 2012 Economic Census revealed yesterday, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction industries were the most rapidly growing part of our nation’s economy over the last several years,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “A major reason was the energy boom on the Plains, which attracted job seekers from around the country. Combining data about America’s people, places and economy gives businesses and government the information they need for good investment and policy decisions.”

Where the Jobs Are: Small Businesses Unleash Energy Employment Boom

March 26, 2014 Comments off

Where the Jobs Are: Small Businesses Unleash Energy Employment Boom
Source: Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

Key Findings

America continues to suffer from a post–World War II record slow recovery in employment as well as record worker anxiety. Meanwhile, the brightest corner of the economy, the oil & gas sector, has seen stunning growth in creating jobs across the nation and in dozens of domains. With the right policies, much more is possible to encourage and accelerate the small-business-centric oil & gas revolution.

  • Overall U.S. employment has yet to return to its prerecession level, but the number of oil & gas jobs has grown 40 percent since then.
  • In the 10 states at the epicenter of oil & gas growth, overall statewide employment gains have greatly outpaced the national average.
  • A broad array of small and midsize oil & gas companies are propelling record economic and jobs gains—not just in the oil fields but across the economy.
  • America’s hydrocarbon revolution and its associated job creation are almost entirely the result of drilling & production by more than 20,000 small and midsize businesses, not a handful of “Big Oil” companies. In fact, the typical firm in the oil & gas industry employs fewer than 15 people.
  • The shale oil & gas revolution has been the nation’s biggest single creator of solid, middle-class jobs—throughout the economy, from construction to services to information technology.
  • Overall, nearly 1 million Americans work directly in the oil & gas industry, and a total of 10 million jobs are associated with that industry.
  • Oil & gas jobs are widely geographically dispersed and have already had a significant impact in more than a dozen states: 16 states have more than 150,000 jobs directly in the oil & gas sector and hundreds of thousands more jobs due to growth in that sector.
  • In recent years, America’s oil & gas boom has added $300–$400 billion annually to the economy—without this contribution, GDP growth would have been negative and the nation would have continued to be in recession.
  • The resources, technology, infrastructure, and thousands of small and midsize businesses are capable of producing even more growth and many more jobs, so long as policymakers do not obstruct progress in the oil & gas sector.

CRS — Nuclear Energy: Overview of Congressional Issues

March 26, 2014 Comments off

Nuclear Energy: Overview of Congressional Issues (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The policy debate over the role of nuclear power in the nation’s energy mix is rooted in the technology’s fundamental characteristics. Nuclear reactors can produce potentially vast amounts of energy with relatively low consumption of natural resources and emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. However, facilities that produce nuclear fuel for civilian power reactors can also produce materials for nuclear weapons. The process of nuclear fission (splitting of atomic nuclei) to generate power also results in the production of radioactive material that must be contained and can remain hazardous for thousands of years. How to manage the weapons proliferation and safety risks of nuclear power, or whether the benefits of nuclear power are worth those risks, are issues that have long been debated in Congress.

CRS — Keystone XL: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Assessments in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS)

March 26, 2014 Comments off

Keystone XL: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Assessments in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

On June 25, 2013, President Obama announced a national “Climate Action Plan” to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHG), as well as to encourage adaptation to climate change. During his speech, the President made reference to the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project—a pipeline that would transport crude oil derived from Canadian oil sands deposits in Alberta to a market hub in Nebraska for further delivery to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. He stated that an evaluation of the proposed pipeline’s impacts on climate change would be “critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 775 other followers