A little more than a year ago, oil prices were above $100 a barrel. The national average for gasoline was in the $3.50 range. In late spring, oil was $60ish and the national average for gas was around $2.70. The price of a barrel of oil has plunged to $40 and below—yet, prices at the pump are just slightly less than they were when oil was almost double what it is today.
In a recent article promoting his Protect Our Public Lands Act, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) argues the government should ban hydraulic fracturing on public lands. Pocan cites concerns about potential environmental and economic impacts of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” and raises concerns about fracking in national parks. The article has critical shortcomings regarding the environmental and economic impacts of fracking, and it misrepresents oil and gas activity in national parks.
The solar industry is jubilant over President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, released in its final form on Monday, August 3. The same day, however, some other news reminded the public of what happens when government policy mandates and incentivizes a favored energy source: Taxpayer dollars are gobbled up and investors lose out.
The crude oil export ban was signed into law in 1975 in the wake of the Arab oil embargo that brought long lines for gasoline and high oil prices. Today, by contrast, hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has made the United States the world’s largest producer of crude oil. The outdated export ban puts U.S. oil producers at a competitive disadvantage with other countries, and may actually serve to increase gas prices at the pump.
Sand from the upper Midwest is coveted for hydraulic fracturing. It is the right size, shape and cleanness (almost pure quartz). It is also highly resistant to crushing under immense pressure, acting as a network of pillars (think of the Parthenon) keeping open the tiny fissures made in the rock in the process of hydraulic fracturing, allowing the oil and natural gas to flow up from the rock deep underground.
The wheels of reform move slowly, but on July 15, the first international investors put their toes in the shallow water of Mexico’s oil prize—which could be “as big as the proven reserves of Kuwait.” The Financial Times (FT) calls Mexico’s potential 107.5 billion barrels of oil: “quite a feast.” FT adds: “The country is viewed as one of the dwindling number of opportunities to add substantial reserves to portfolios after several years when the oil majors have struggled to make big discoveries.”
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Isaac Orr, research fellow for energy speaks with Wally Drangmeister. Drangmeister, from the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, joins Orr to talk about oil and gas production in New Mexico.
Congress concocted the mandates over fears that US gasoline demand would rise forever and keep the United States dependent on foreign oil, as America’s supposedly limited reserves were depleted. The mandates currently require that we blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol with gasoline every year, and produce over a billion gallons of biodiesel. They hammer us consumers every time we fill our tanks.
The fuel is now loaded into the reactor, following inspections, the switch will be flipped and, around August 10, the reactor will be fired up. Three days later, transmission of electricity is expected to start, ramping up to full power and commercial operation in September. The same process is expected to take place at a second reactor in September/October.
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, H. Sterling Burnett, managing editor of Environment & Climate News speaks with Amanda Maxham. Maxham, a writer and research associate at the Ayn Rand Institute, is a physicist who became a policy wonk. Maxham joins Burnett to discuss how alarmism regarding climate and science is preventing society from thriving.
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, Research Fellow Isaac Orr speaks with Holly Bellmund. Bellmund is president of Proppant Today LLC, a media, research and consulting company providing best-in-industry thought leadership into proppants and its effect within the unconventional oil and gas industries. Bellmund joins Orr dive into the workings of proppants and their uses in fracking.
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, H. Sterling Burnett, managing editor of Environment & Climate News speaks with Mark Mills. Mills, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has a background in science and actively works in economics and technology. Mills and Burnett discuss his Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-10) presentation: Shale 2.0.
Green zealots believe that we can and should run modern societies exclusively on “Green” energies, and they have embarked on a war on hydrocarbons. They need to be told that their green energy favourites are just stealing from the biosphere – they are not as green as they claim.
New polling emphasizes support for traditional energy concerns has become a partisan issue. Large majorities of Republicans favor key energy issues—but voters of every ideological stripe say energy will be an important part of their voting decisions.
Nearly 10 years have passed since the federal government imposed a national mandate requiring gasoline be blended with ethanol. At that time, President George W. Bush claimed the United States was addicted to oil and that biofuels, especially ethanol produced from corn, offered an important way to bring down gasoline prices while weaning the nation off of foreign sources of oil and supporting economic development in rural America.
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, H. Sterling Burnett, managing editor of Environment & Climate News speaks with Merrill Matthews, Jr. Matthews, Resident Scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation and a contributor at Forbes.com, also serves as Vice Chairman of the Texas Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Burnett and Matthews discuss the foolish policy decisions the Obama administration has undertaken on energy policy.
Alt-energy/transport-tech CEO Elon Musk and his trio of companies (Tesla, SolarCity and SpaceX) didn’t cooperate with the Los Angeles Times on its article that tabulated his businesses’ whopping sum of corporate welfare ($4.9 billion), and he was predictably miffed by the (accurate) portrayal.
Gazprom, the Russian state-owned energy giant, has traditionally used its position as the second-largest exporter of natural gas to the European Union (EU) (Norway is the largest) as a means of flexing its political muscle, especially under the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But it appears Russia’s days as the energy bully may be coming to an end, as years of using energy as a blunt political instrument to advance the Kremlin’s agenda and disruptive new technologies for oil and natural gas extraction threaten Gazprom’s bottom line much like Uber and other innovative ride sharing companies have usurped market share from traditional cab companies.
Early in the new millennium, oil prices began to rise and natural gas prices shot up. Doomsayers lacking an understanding of history and economics popped up, as they always do, to proclaim the end of cheap oil was nigh. “Peak oil” pundits ruled the airwaves and editorial pages.
In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, H. Sterling Burnett, managing editor of Environment & Climate News speaks with Gary Stone. Stone is vice-president of engineering at FiveStates Energy in Dallas. In this podcast, Stone discusses the economic and political challenges that face the modern oil and gas industry.