Yes, Fareed, but you are leaving out point “C” which is actually ‘why’ “B” and “A” matter — oil is a finite resource, and peak oil (the point where we reach zenith of production capacities) is upon us. There is ever-more demand, and ever-less supply. Yes, there is a lot of politicizing going on about who can do what, but where is the person who is going to start talking reality about the world’s (and US’s) energy situation. Why does it remain such an unmentionable situation?
(I’ll also use this opportunity to announce the development of a new “Politicization of Energy Discussion in the USA” Case Study. It’s not just about this election year, either, it’s a long-standing trend, and this post is just one piece of a larger puzzle).
API has been calling on Obama to act for some time now…
WASHINGTON, March 9 (UPI) — The United States can shield itself against upheavals in the Middle East by tapping into domestic oil and natural gas reserves, a trade group said.
Oil prices are hovering near 9-month highs in part because of unrest in the Middle East. Crude oil prices spiked when Iran announced it was stopping oil deliveries to some European countries and shipping services are wary of delivering Iranian crude because of European sanctions.
Jack Gerard, president and chief executive officer at the American Petroleum Institute, called on U.S. President Barack Obama to send a “powerful signal” to the international markets that U.S. oil and natural gas was ready for swift development.
“The U.S. cannot control unrest in the Middle East, international supply disruptions, or rising worldwide demand, but it can increase world supply of crude oil by developing more of our own ample oil resources,” he said during a conference call with reporters.
The Obama administration said oil production is at historic highs, though Obama’s say that’s because of policies enacted by the previous administration. Gerard said Obama’s “all-of-the-above” energy policy is actually slowing oil and natural gas production.
“We urge him to truly do all of the above to help immediately create downward pressure on crude prices that will benefit American consumers,” said Gerard.
This will be interesting to watch…
WASHINGTON — The oil giant Shell filed suit in federal court in Alaska last week against a dozen environmental groups, employing a rare — and rarely successful — legal gambit in an effort to pre-empt anticipated legal challenges to its plans to begin exploration in the Arctic Ocean this summer.
Was the unusual maneuver an act of bravado, even desperation, by a company fearful that it might be thwarted again in its efforts to begin drilling in the seabed off Alaska’s North Slope?
Or was it, as Shell contends, a mark of confidence that the company had finally put in place a plan that could satisfy all the legal, regulatory and environmental requirements to start exploiting one of the last great untapped oil and gas reservoirs in North America?
Marvin E. Odum, Shell’s president for the United States, said in an interview that he was “highly confident” that the company’s plan for preventing and responding to an oil spill would survive any legal scrutiny. He said the company had filed the suit in the hopes of speeding up the judicial review of the plan that will come if and when the environmental groups — who have challenged Shell at every step of the process — file suit.
Wow, the strongest stance against in favor of new fuels I’ve ever seen from recent administrations. I’m impressed such strong words are used.
NASHUA, N.H. — With his re-election fate increasingly tied to the price Americans are paying at the gas pump, President Obama asked Congress on Thursday to end $4 billion in subsidies for oil and gas companies and vowed to tackle the country’s long-term energy issues while shunning “phony election-year promises about lower gas prices.”
Mr. Obama, in an appearance at Nashua Community College here, took a page out of his jobs strategy of last year, calling on Americans to contact their Congressional representatives and demand a vote on the oil subsidies in the next few weeks.
“You can either stand up for the oil companies, or you can stand up for the American people,” Mr. Obama said. “You can keep subsidizing a fossil fuel that’s been getting taxpayer dollars for a century, or you can place your bets on a clean-energy future.”
The president criticized Republicans who have called for the country to increase its own oil production, declaring that “anyone who tells you we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about.” With the United States consuming more than 20 percent of the world’s oil while having only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, Mr. Obama said “we can’t rely on fossil fuels from the last century.”
The trial to decide who should pay for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been delayed by a week, to allow BP Plc to try to cut a deal with tens of thousands of businesses and individuals affected by the disaster.
Less than 24 hours before the case was set to start in a New Orleans federal court, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier pushed back the date to March 5 from February 27.
The delay allows further talks between BP and the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC), which represents condominium owners, fishermen, hoteliers, restaurateurs and others who say their livelihoods were damaged by the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and subsequent oil spill.
Eleven people were killed, and 4.9 million barrels of oil spewed from the mile-deep Macondo oil well, in by far the worst offshore U.S. oil spill.
A curious perspective
So … what is this really saying? That there is nothing risky ‘outside of the ordinary’ for hydraulic fracturing compared to other drilling operations? “Many reports of contamination can be traced to above-ground spills or other mishandling of wastewater produced from shale drilling and not from hydraulic fracturing”.
I feel like this conclusion is somewhat misleading, or could potentially be misleading, if it is not explained properly. Hydraulic fracturing is the process by which the shale rock holding the natural gas is ‘fractured’, such that the gas can be extracted (compare this to conventional gas extraction, where the gas is contained within a permeable rock that doesn’t need to be fractured for gas extraction). I’m not sure that the ‘drilling’ or ‘fracturing’ problem itself is what people are concerned about, so declaring that the act of fracturing is ‘safe’ seems somewhat irrelevant.
Hydraulic fracturing in shale formations “has no direct connection” to groundwater contamination, a study released Thursday concluded.
The study, conducted by the Energy Institute at the
University of Texas at Austin, found that many problems attributed to hydraulic fracturing “are related to processes common to all oil and gas drilling operations,” such as drilling pipe inadequately cased in concrete.
Many reports of contamination can be traced to above-ground spills or other mishandling of wastewater produced from shale drilling and not from hydraulic fracturing, Charles “Chip” Groat, an Energy Institute associate director who led the project, said in a statement.
“These problems are not unique to hydraulic fracturing,” Groat said.…
The UT Energy Institute’s report stands in stark contrast to a draft report released in December from the Environmental Protection Agency, which said its examination of a hydraulic fracturing site in Pavillion, Wyo., found hydraulic fracturing fluids and chemicals associated with natural gas production in deep water wells.
New York: a hydraulic fracturing battleground state.
A state judge’s decision this week supporting the rights of individual towns to determine whether to allow hydraulic fracturing has added a new wrinkle to the fight over the natural gas drilling process in New York.
Parties on all sides are trying to figure out what the ruling will mean, but a consensus emerged on Wednesday that there will be further court challenges and delays over when, how and where the process, known as hydrofracking, will be allowed in the state, and by whom.
Officials of natural gas companies voiced concern that such local restrictions could render more areas of the Marcellus Shale off-limits to drillers in a state that is already proposing strict regulation of where the industry will be allowed to operate.
For more of my thoughts throughout the week and see what news I’m following, I invite you to join the conversation via Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr. Or visit my main website, INFLUENCE with Jesse Parent to view Case Studies, Reports, Editorials and more.
The real problem on U.S. energy policy is that we can’t seem to make fundamental decisions. There is no perfect energy source. Bureaucrats may issue licenses, but the Congress, the Administration, and the public at large will make the choices. Until they’re all making choices that recognize and accept the real-world consequences, we’ll barely make a dent in the problem.
I know I keep whining about the same “problem”, but I’m working on it, I promise. Just gathering more data….