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Keystone XL Loses Another Round

The image that will stick with me from the recent failed attempt by Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana to avoid a filibuster on her bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline is that of her Senate colleague, Barbara Boxer (D-CA) standing next to a...

Posted November 24, 2014    

How Good Is The New Emissions Deal with China?

President Obama's emissions deal with China sets an ambitious target for US CO2 cuts while leaving substantial headroom for emissions growth in China. It will likely compound his problems, domestically, but could have significant influence...

Posted November 17, 2014    

Will Falling Prices Shift Oil Industry's Focus to Cost Reduction?

Lower oil prices may have less impact on US oil production from shale than competitors in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere appear to assume. The cost of  producing tight oil is not static, and US producers have various options for cost reduction,...

Posted November 10, 2014    

China Seizes Opportunity to Fill Its Petroleum Reserve. Should Others?

China is apparently snapping up cheap oil cargoes to fill its strategic petroleum reserve.That might make sense for the US, too, if earmarked for new regional SPRs, rather than refilling the existing one on the Gulf.The Wall St. Journal has...

Posted November 3, 2014    

How Would We Provide Enough Energy For 11 Billion People?

Reconciling energy and environmental concerns was challenging enough when global population seemed headed for a plateau around 9 billion.A new forecast of up to 12 billion people by 2100 raises large questions about the capacity of current energy...

Posted October 29, 2014    

The Impact of the Global 'Sweet' Crude Bulge

The recent slide in global oil prices has been compounded by the pressure that rising US shale oil production is putting on the price of sweet crude benchmarks like Brent.OPEC's producers may suffer as much as those in the US, while consumers...

Posted October 20, 2014    

Calibrating Solar Energy's Growth Potential

A new report from the International Energy Agency suggests the possibility of solar power becoming the world's largest electricity source by 2050.It is noteworthy that IEA thinks this could happen, but the growth rates required, let alone the...

Posted October 6, 2014    

The Two Energy Revolutions Are Progressing in Tandem

Last year I wrote about the two major energy revolutions happening globally, the shale revolution--mainly in the US--and the renewable energy revolution, focused more on technologies than geography but with big concentrations in Europe and...

Posted September 22, 2014    

Exporting US Oil to Mexico

Mexico could become a major export destination for surplus US light crude oil, despite being one of the largest oil suppliers to the US, mainly of heavy oil.If structured as an exchange for other barrels, such exports might not require re-writing...

Posted September 15, 2014    

The Missing Oil Crisis of 2014

While the full impact of the surge in US "tight oil" may be masked by problems elsewhere, it is on the same scale--but opposite direction--as key factors that led to the 2007-8 oil price spike.In that light it does not seem like hyperbole to credit...

Posted August 7, 2014    

Bakken Shale Gas Flaring Highlights Global Problem

High rates of natural gas flaring in the Bakken shale formation are symptomatic of infrastructure limitations that prevent this gas from reaching a market.Although various technical options could reduce flaring from high-output well sites, none...

Posted August 4, 2014    

Condensate Pries Open the Oil Export Lid

A US ruling to allow limited exports of condensate, a light hydrocarbon mix similar to light crude oil, has implications for both producers and refiners, though not consumers.Whether or not it leads to wider US exports of condensate and crude, it...

Posted July 21, 2014