Posts Tagged ‘energy’

Previewing his speech at a New York City fundraiser last night, Obama said he wants to break “the pattern of being shocked at high prices and then, as prices go down, being lulled into a trance.”

“Let’s actually have a plan,” he said. “Let’s, yes, increase domestic oil production, but let’s also invest in solar and wind and geothermal and bio-fuels and let’s make our buildings more efficient and our cars more efficient.” USA Today


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Speakers list and link to live streaming

The Subcommittee on Energy and Power announces a multi-day hearing on “The American Energy Initiative.”  The first day of the hearing will be on Thursday, March 17, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.  It will focus on oil supplies, gasoline prices, and jobs in the Gulf of Mexico.


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The tragedy in Japan has added yet more uncertainty to nervous energy markets:
Japan will likely need more imported oil and natural gas due to closures of nuclear reactors caused by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami, but volumes can’t be calculated accurately as it is unclear how much industrial output has been affected by the disaster and how long power nuclear and thermal power plants will remain closed. Wall Street Journal
It’s much too early to gauge how the nuclear power industry, which some have touted as a model for safety achievement, will be affected.
    Standards news and discussion:
    Offshore Safety Institute?
    The CEOs of major oil and gascompanies will meet March 18 to decide how to proceed with the formation of a US offshore drilling safety institute, William Reilly, the co-chair of the National Oil Spill Commission, said March 8. Platts Oilgram News
    New twist in Cuban drilling drama – Petrobras relinquishes interest
    Marco Aurelio Garcia, foreign policy adviser to President Dilma Rousseff, told reporters in Havana exploratory work off Cuba’s northern coast had not shown good results and that Brazil wanted to concentrate on its own oil fields.
    Since BP’s disastrous Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico last April, the risks of offshore oil drilling have been a hot topic. One place it isn’t questioned much is Brazil, whose oil production industry is one of the fastest-growing in the world because of vast new deepwater oil reservoirs discovered in the past five years.
    Mexican Deepwater Update (Platts Oilgram News)
    Pemex has just begun to explore in Mexico’s Gulf of Mexico waters deeper than 1,000 feet, but 28 billion undiscovered barrels of oilequivalent are thought to exist in that area, some of which borders US territorial waters. Pemex officials said the company is forging a development plan for its first deepwater field, Lakach, located northeast of the state of Veracruz in about 3,200 feet of water. First production is expected in 2015.
    Environmentalists are furious at a proposal by the petroleum company Shell to start exploration drilling off one of Western Australia’s most treasured reefs. Ningaloo Reef off the north-west coast, has been nominated for World Heritage listing.

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Diamond Offshore Workers Receiving SAFE Award Recognition

On Labor Day 2010, BOE is proud to salute the thousands of dedicated offshore professionals, in the US and around the world, who work in remote locations under challenging conditions to provide energy for our economy and our way of life. Regardless of one’s opinion about oil and gas operations, wind projects, and other sources of offshore energy, we should all appreciate the important contributions made by offshore workers.

While investigations and enforcement actions are necessary, positive recognition is even more important, especially at times like these.  The overwhelming majority of offshore workers do their jobs conscientiously and carefully, and make every effort to protect their colleagues and the environment.  It is these workers who are most at risk when an accident occurs, not those of us who are sitting behind a desk philosophizing and pontificating. Their lives and the lives of their friends and colleagues are threatened when accidents occur, their “back yard” is polluted when oil is spilled, and their jobs are at stake if offshore exploration and development are curtailed.

Fortunately for us, energy exploration and production doesn’t stop on holidays. Whether they are working or enjoying the day with their friends and families, BOE wants offshore workers to know that we appreciate their important contributions.  Happy Labor Day!

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Offshore Energy Awakening?

When you wake up after a long nap (in this case 25 years), you don’t just leap out of bed.  You first squint at the light, yawn, flex an arm, stretch your legs, and prepare to rise and actually do something.  The President’s decision to open a small slice of the Atlantic to  exploration and consider new areas in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf of Mexico in the new 5- Year Program may seem modest, but it demonstrates that the nation is waking up to the importance of our offshore energy resources.  After 25 years of neglect, almost everyone agrees that US energy policy has been an economic and national security disaster.  More and more Americans are also recognizing that denying access to offshore resources is not in the best interest of the environment – regionally, nationally, and globally.

Some political leaders remain in dreamland as evidenced by the large blue areas in the map below.  When you have cried “wolf” about offshore drilling for your entire political career, you either believe what you have been preaching or are concerned about the political implications of changing your position.  However, demonizing offshore energy development is no longer a smart political strategy, and the views of these anti-energy stalwarts may finally be challenged, even in their own states and districts.

We operations, safety, pollution prevention, and regulatory professionals have to hold up our end.  Safety disasters or pollution spectaculars are not acceptable.  We need to examine our programs, operations, and incidents openly and honestly, and anticipate what might go wrong.  When an accident occurs, we need to learn what happened and why, and make sure it doesn’t happen again – anywhere in the world.

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In 1973, while a graduate student at Penn State, I wrote a paper entitled “The Use of Natural Gas in Improving Air Quality.”  My professor, Richard Gordon, a terrific economist who greatly influenced my thinking about energy, liked the paper but thought I was too optimistic about the availability of natural gas.  The sense at the time was that natural gas was a premium energy source in short supply.

Fast forward to 2010.  Another Penn State professor, Terry Englander, estimates recoverable natural gas resources of 500 tcf for the Marcellus shale alone.  Annual gas consumption for the entire US is only about 23 tcf.  The whole world consumed about 113 tcf in 2008.

Dan Yergin is calling it the natural gas revolution.   Boone Pickens has called the US the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas.”  In addition to the shale gas, we have huge Alaskan gas reserves awaiting a pipeline (the economic viability of which may be threatened by the major discoveries in the lower 48). Prospects for ultra-deep gas in the Gulf of Mexico are also looking brighter in the wake of McMoRans major deep gas discovery.  There is excellent natural gas potential in the eastern Gulf near major gas markets, and at least one Atlantic state (Virginia) has expressed interest in renewed exploration in the Atlantic.

Given the dearth of good economic news, why isn’t more attention being given to this natural gas bonanza?  Boone Pickens and others are doing their part, but there should be a national dialogue on how we can use these resources to improve our economy, energy security, and the environment.

How about a parade down Constitution Avenue to celebrate our good fortune?

Celebrating the Natural Gas Revolution?

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