Archive for the ‘Oil’ Category

Sorry. My heart doesn’t bleed for OPECs dilemma…

OPEC Split as Oil Prices Fall Sharply

Oil prices sank again on Monday, giving consumers more of a break and causing a split among OPEC leaders about what action should be taken, if any, to halt the slide.

The price drop has led to a near free fall in gasoline prices in the United States. On Monday, the national average price for regular gasoline was $3.20, 9 cents lower than it was a week ago and 14 cents below the price a year ago, according to the AAA motor club.

The price at the pump generally follows oil after a few days, leading energy experts to predict lower prices for the rest of the month at least.

“This is not your garden variety autumn price decline,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at GasBuddy.com, which reports fuel prices from filling stations across the country. “Clearly there is a rift in OPEC, and that means we are more likely to see a price war over the next six months. Crude oil is teetering on the brink of collapse.”

Most oil analysts say that the companies that have led the boom in drilling across North Dakota and Texas are insulated from the declines for the time being, with the break-even levels for investments around $60 a barrel — which is more than $20 below current levels.

With the number of rigs working in the United States at or near record levels, some oil executives are beginning to express concern about investment decisions next year.

Keystone Be Darned: Canada Finds Oil Route Around Obama

Bloomberg

n this period of national gloom comes an idea — a crazy-sounding notion, or maybe, actually, an epiphany. How about an all-Canadian route to liberate that oil sands crude from Alberta’s isolation and America’s fickleness? Canada’s own environmental and aboriginal politics are holding up a shorter and cheaper pipeline to the Pacific that would supply a shipping portal to oil-thirsty Asia.

Instead, go east, all the way to the Atlantic.

Thus was born Energy East, an improbable pipeline that its backers say has a high probability of being built. It will cost C$12 billion ($10.7 billion) and could be up and running by 2018. Its 4,600-kilometer (2,858-mile) path, taking advantage of a vast length of existing and underused natural gas pipeline, would wend through six provinces and four time zones. It would be Keystone on steroids, more than twice as long and carrying a third more crude.

“The best way to get Keystone XL built is to make it irrelevant,” said Frank McKenna, who served three terms as premier of New Brunswick and was ambassador to the U.S. before becoming a banker.

So confident is TransCanada Corp., the chief backer of both Keystone and Energy East, of success that Alex Pourbaix, the executive in charge, spoke of the cross-Canada line as virtually a done deal.

America About to Dethrone Saudi Arabia as Liquid Petroleum King

AmericanInterest

The U.S. shale boom is about to hit another big milestone, as it looks like fracking will propel American liquid petroleum production (that includes oil and natural gas liquids) past Saudi Arabia for the first time in nearly a quarter century. The FT reports:

US production of oil and related liquids such as ethane and propane was neck-and-neck with Saudi Arabia in June and again in August at about 11.5m barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency, the watchdog backed by rich countries.

With US production continuing to boom, its output is set to exceed Saudi Arabia’s this month or next for the first time since 1991. [...]

Rising oil and gas production has caused the US trade deficit in energy to shrink, and prompted a wave of investment in petrochemicals and other related industries. [...] It is also having an impact on global security. Imports are expected to provide just 21 per cent of US liquid fuel consumption next year, down from 60 per cent in 2005.

The natural gas liquids portion is largely a byproduct of drilling for shale gas, and are used as a feedstock for petrochemical companies (like BASF, which recently decided to move more of its operations into the United States). Take those NGLs out of the equation, and Saudi Arabia and Russia both edge out the United States on crude production. But American oil output is expected to break 9 million barrels per day sometime this year, edging closer to Russia’s 10.1 million b/d and Saudi’s 9.7 million b/d.

With productivity continuing to rise, the United States has a chance to become the single biggest producer of crude oil sometime in the near future. If you had said that a decade ago, you would’ve been laughed at and called a fool. What a difference fracking makes.

Would a midterm loss crack the Dems’ stonewall on the Keystone pipeline?

WashingtonExaminer

The federal government recently began its seventh year of considering whether to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Nearly all that time has passed under the administration of President Obama, who seems content never to decide the pipeline’s fate. That way, it wouldn’t be built, which would please the president’s supporters on the liberal environmental fringe, but would never be explicitly rejected, which could offend everybody else.

It’s striking to see an administration stonewalling an issue with so much popular support on the other side. A Washington Post-ABC News poll in March found that 65 percent favor building the pipeline, versus 22 who oppose. On how many other issues is the White House standing up against a three-to-one majority of opinion?

Nearly all types of people support building the pipeline. A few months ago, a Pew Research Center study divided the public into seven political categories — not just the usual liberal-conservative binary division. Pew found strong support for the pipeline in six of its seven categories, ranging from mostly conservative to mostly liberal.

For example, among a group labeled “next generation left,” that is, young people who are liberal in outlook but skeptical about whether government can accomplish much, there was 62 percent to 28 percent support of the pipeline.

Only the group labeled “solid liberals,” the most doctrinaire of those on the Left, opposed the pipeline, 57 percent 30 percent. Although they are passionate about their views, they are in a distinct minority; according to Pew, “solid liberals” make up just 17 percent of all registered voters.

So the Obama administration has solidly aligned itself with the 17 percent against the other 83 percent. Perhaps that’s a sustainable position for a president who won’t face voters again. It’s a tougher job for Democrats running for office in an already-tough year.

Saudi prince and Emirate’s first female fighter pilot take part in Syria air strikes

Killed by a woman. A fitting end…

Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the United States, confirmed on Thursday that the country’s first female fighter pilot, Major Mariam Al Mansouri, 35, took part in her own kingdom’s military action.

Mansouri graduated from Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa bin Zayed Air College in 2007 and is veteran pilot of F-16 warplanes.

Mansouri is reportedly the first female UAE pilot of a fighter jet. She graduated from Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa bin Zayed Air College in 2007 and is veteran pilot of F-16 warplanes. Washington has said the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan, took part in the strikes on the Islamic State, which has seized swaths of Iraq and northern Syria.

Mansouri’s participation in the raid stirred a debate on social media networks, with supporters posting her picture on Twitter and commending her service. “She is taking part in crushing the dens of Daesh,” wrote one woman on Twitter, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

Angry Islamist sympathisers, however, slammed Mansouri’s “criminal” act. The UAE is a largely conservative Gulf state, where women citizens wear the traditional Islamic head cover and black Abaya loose cloak. But authorities in the oil-rich state have made efforts to put pioneering women forward and many women have assumed top government positions.

Fears rise over oil tanker training of potential terrorists

WashingtonTimes

U.S. intelligence agencies last month reported that a group of 22 Yemeni-Americans were training in Houston to be seamen on oil tankers, raising terrorism concerns over the unusual activity.

The Department of Homeland Security issued an Aug. 26 report from its National Terrorism Advisory System about the case.

“Reporting revealed that 22 students of Middle Eastern descent from Michigan and California were enrolled in recent maritime training courses in Houston, TX to obtain training, licensing, and/or mariner ratings during calendar year 2014,” the report said. “All students were naturalized U.S. citizens from Yemen.”

The report said the U.S. government received confidential information from intelligence sources indicating suspicions about the Yemeni-Americans attending the seamanship classes. Most of the men were from Dearborn, Michigan, and their training in Texas was considered unusual because other marine training schools are located closer to Michigan.

An investigation revealed that all the students worked on oil carriers in the Great Lakes and came to Texas because similar schools in Michigan had closed. Twenty of the students were from Dearborn, and two were from Oakland, California.

The training they received allows them to qualify for work on ocean-going oil tankers and ships.

America’s Oil Boom Overwhelms Global Production Decline

Breitbart

The United States, sometime in the first quarter of 2014, passed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of petroleum liquids, with daily output exceeding eleven million barrels per day (bpd), according to the International Energy Agency. Growth from January 2011 to July 2014 included three million bpd of crude oil and another one million bpd of hydrocarbon gas liquids and biofuels. U.S. crude oil production growth more than offset the 2.8 million bpd of global “unplanned supply disruptions” associated with the “Arab Spring.”

Global “unplanned supply disruptions” averaged 3.2 million bpd during the first seven months of 2014 and peaked at 3.5 million bpd in May. The recent supply disruptions are the highest since the 1990-to-1991 Iraq/Kuwait War, when supply disruptions peaked at 4.3 million bpd according to the International Energy Agency data.

However, over the last thirteen months, from July 2013 to July 2014, the international standard price of crude oil, referred to as “Brent Crude,” stabilized in a narrow $5 per barrel range between $107 and $112 per barrel due to booming U.S. production. This compares to the $21 range for Brent Crude during the prior thirteen-month period from June 2012 to June 2013.

U.S. production gains have been geographically concentrated in Texas and North Dakota, which together accounted for 83% of U.S. production growth. Production in the South Texas Eagle Ford formation reached 1.22 million bpd in December 2013, and production from the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana reached one million bpd in November 2013. Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado saw smaller increases.

The U.S. average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.45 per gallon on August 25th, the lowest price on the Monday before Labor Day since 2010. The average price at the pump is also $0.25 per gallon lower than it was at the end of June.

Fuzzy Math Can’t Hide Shale Boom’s Green Credentials

AmericanInterest

Here’s the bottom line: natural gas is a cleaner fossil fuel than coal, and unlike renewables, it can supply power consistently (even on cloudy, windless days). We are well-served by unlocking new reserves of natural gas not just for the economic boost these plays provide, but also for their environmental benefits. One day, with the right technologies, we’ll be able to power society without relying on fossil fuels, but we’re not there yet. Until then, natural gas is one of our best options, and greens would do well to recognize the fracking boom for what it is: good news.

Shale gas displaces coal as a source of cheap baseload power, which this chart shows pretty handily, and it does so with just half the greenhouse gas emissions. There are other advantages that make natural gas—and the shale boom that’s supplying it here in the U.S.—a boon to Gaia, but its ability to help us wean ourselves off our dependence on dirty-burning coal is the reason why shale gas is fracking green.

Obama’s biting the hand that fed him in ’08…

Coal Miners Union In Full Revolt After Supporting Obama In 2008

Even though EPA regulations had lost Obama UMWA’s support in 2012, the president had still done little to tackle global warming — especially after the 2010 defeat of cap-and-trade in Congress.

But the EPA’s 2009 “endangerment finding” set them up for a huge regulatory once Obama began his second term. When he came into his second term Obama also made promises to issue more regulations to tackle global warming, which would inevitably impact the coal industry.

In June 2013, Obama put the full force of his administration behind fighting global warming. In a speech at Georgetown University he promised to use executive orders to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, including ordering the EPA to slap carbon dioxide emissions limits on power plants.

In September 2013, the EPA proposed a rule that would cap carbon emissions from new power plants, effectively banning the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they installed unproven carbon capture technology.

Good. It’s way past time…

Hunt for oil and gas to begin off East Coast

The Obama administration opened up the Atlantic to oil and gas exploration for the first time in nearly four decades on Friday.

The announcement from Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) allows the use of air guns and sonic sensors to search off of the East Coast.

It is a major step toward allowing future drilling in the Atlantic, which has remained off-limits for over 30 years.

While the decision doesn’t guarantee that lease sales for drilling in Atlantic waters will be included in the Interior Department’s five-year plan for 2017-2022, it is a step in that direction.

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