Monday, March 30, 2015

Slow Saturday Special: Arctic Acceleration

Then drill, baby, drill!

"US oil advisory panel says Arctic drilling needed now" by Jonathan Fahey, Associated Press  March 28, 2015

WASHINGTON — The United States should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off Alaska or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future, an Energy Department advisory council said in a study submitted Friday.

Meaning more wars (although one imagines how there can be any more at this point. US is covertly or overtly attacking the entire planet right now).

The nation has drastically cut imports and transformed itself into the world’s biggest producer of oil and natural gas by tapping huge reserves in shale rock formations. But the government predicts that the shale boom won’t last much beyond the next decade.

WHAT?!!!!?? BLOGGERS BEEN SAYING THAT FOR MONTHS if not YEARS!!! And this is now reported as a Saturday morning special located at the bottom of back page B10, lower right corner!!?

In order for the United States to keep domestic production high and imports low, oil companies should start probing the Artic now because it takes decades of preparation and drilling to bring oil to market, according to a draft of the study’s executive summary.

‘‘There will come a time when all the resources that are supplying the world’s economies today are going to go in decline,’’ said Rex Tillerson, chief executive of Exxon Mobil and chairman of the study’s committee. ‘‘This is will be what’s needed next. If we start today it’ll take 20, 30, 40 years for those to come on.’’

We were told that 40 years ago!!

When was the last time you talked to Bill, Rex? 

And what if there is a Gulf Gusher (long forgotten now) up there? Will that help the polar bear?

The study, produced by the National Petroleum Council at the request of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, comes at a time when many argue the world needs less oil, not more. US oil storage facilities are filling up, the price of oil has collapsed from over $100 a barrel to around $50, and prices are expected to stay low for years.

Funny how his connections don't call him into que$tion.

At the same time, scientists say the world needs to drastically reduce the amount of fossil fuels it is burning in order to avoid catastrophic changes to the Earth’s climate.


Like what, cold (as the snow flurries fly outside!)

The council, which is made up of energy company executives, government officials, analysts, and nonprofit organizations, said the technology to operate safely in the region is available now.


It's a $elf-$erving report and a confirmation of the fal$e energy-environemnt "debate" in my paper -- which is now exposed as nothing but agenda-pushing for a carbon tax while the same old intere$ts benefit, some tax loot is stolen, and the world keeps getting colder.

Actually, we may yet need that oil.


Or not:

"United States running out of room to store oil; Are prices headed lower?" by Jonathan Fahey, Associated Press  March 04, 2015

NEW YORK — The US has so much crude that it is running out of places to put it, and that could drive oil and gasoline prices even lower in the coming months.

For the past eight weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1.1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. 


Preparation for sanctions after WWIII officially breaks out?

That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country’s main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing US supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, according to the Energy Department.

If this keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits, known in the industry as ‘‘tank tops,’’ by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline, too — plummeting.

The supply growth may even be speeding up.


‘‘The fact of the matter is we are running out of storage capacity in the US,’’ Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citibank, said at a recent symposium at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Morse has suggested oil could fall all the way to $20 a barrel from the current $50. 

Maybe that is behind the recent flair ups in Yemen, Libya, Nigeria, and the like.

At that rock-bottom price, oil companies, faced with mounting losses, would stop pumping oil until the glut eased. Gasoline prices would fall along with crude, though lower refinery production, because of seasonal factors and unexpected outages, could prevent a sharp decline.

The national average price of gasoline is $2.44 a gallon. That’s $1.02 cheaper than last year at this time, but up 37 cents over the past month.

Yeah, what gives with the rising prices in the midst of plenty?

Other analysts agree that crude is poised to fall sharply — if not all the way to $20 — because it continues to flood into storage for a number of reasons:

— US oil production continues to rise. Companies are cutting back on new drilling, but that won’t reduce supplies until later this year.

— The new oil being produced is light, sweet crude, which is a type many US refineries are not designed to process. Oil companies can’t just get rid of it by sending it abroad, because crude exports are restricted by federal law.

— Foreign oil continues to flow into the US, both because of economic weakness in other countries and to feed refineries designed to process heavy, sour crude.

— This is the slowest time of year for gasoline demand, so refiners typically reduce or stop production to perform maintenance. As refiners process less crude, supplies build up.

— Oil investors are making money buying and storing oil because of the difference between the current price of oil and the price for delivery in far-off months. An investor can buy oil at $50 today and enter into a contract to sell it for $59 in December, locking in a profit even after paying for storage during those months.

I'm so glad the propaganda pre$$ can excuse, 'er, explain the manipulated and rigged oil markets to me without mentioning Saudi overproduction in the political attempt to punish Iran and Russia (must have failed given the recent flare-up in coverage of Yemen).

The delivery point for most of the oil traded in the US is Cushing, a city of about 8,000 people halfway between Oklahoma City and Tulsa at an intersection of several pipelines. The city is dotted with tanks that can, in theory, hold 85 million barrels of oil, according to the Energy Department, though some of those tanks are used for blending or feeding pipelines, not for storing oil. 

I suppose if a "terrorist" wanted to make a big bang.... good thing they are all government-sponsored false flags.

The market data provider Genscape, which flies helicopters equipped with infrared cameras and other technology over Cushing twice a week to measure storage levels, estimates Cushing is two-thirds full.

Hillary Stevenson, who manages storage, pipeline and refinery monitoring for Genscape, says Cushing could be full by mid-April. Supplies are increasing at ‘‘the highest rate we have ever seen at Cushing,’’ she says.

Full tanks — or super-low prices — are not a sure thing.

I knew there would some kind of catch to all this good news.


Also, drillers are cutting back fast because oil prices have plummeted from $107 a barrel in June. And demand is showing signs of rising.

Despite the enormous increase in crude stocks reported Wednesday, inventories of gasoline did not rise and diesel fuel inventories have fallen slightly over the past two weeks. That leads some to conclude that demand for crude could soon pick up, easing the surplus somewhat.

But many analysts believe oil prices will fall through the spring, before summer drivers start to relieve the glut.

They have started to slacken somewhat, a few cents worth is all (as usual).


About that fracking:

"Feds unveils fracking regulations for oil, gas drilling on public lands" by Coral Davenport, New York Times  March 21, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday unveiled the nation’s first major federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing, the controversial technique for oil and gas drilling that has led to a dramatic increase in US energy production but has also raised concerns about health and safety risks.

The Interior Department began drafting the rules in President Obama’s first term after breakthroughs in the technology, also known as fracking, led to a surge in the production of oil and gas.

The fracking boom has put the United States on track to soon become the world’s largest oil and gas producer.

Or not. 

But environmentalists fear the technique, which involves injecting a cocktail of chemicals deep underground to fracture the rocks around oil and gas deposits, could contaminate surrounding water supplies and wildlife. 

They are not worried about that in Washington.

The new rules will apply only to oil and gas wells drilled on public lands, even though the vast majority of fracking in the United States is done on private land. The rules will cover about 100,000 wells, according to the Interior Department.

“Current federal well-drilling regulations are more than 30 years old, and they simply have not kept pace with the technical complexities of today’s hydraulic fracturing operations,” said the interior secretary, Sally Jewell.

The regulations, which are to take effect in 90 days, will allow government workers to inspect and validate the safety and integrity of the cement barriers that line fracking wells. They will require companies to publicly disclose the chemicals used in the fracturing process within 30 days of completing fracking operations.

The rules will also set safety standards for how companies can store used fracking chemicals around well sites and will require companies to submit detailed information on well geology to the Bureau of Land Management, a part of the Interior Department.

Oil and gas companies have resisted the regulations, fearing that they could raise the cost of fracking and slow or freeze energy development. They have pressed the Obama administration to leave new regulations to the states.

“Despite the renaissance on state and private lands, energy production on federal lands has fallen, and this rule is just one more barrier to growth,” said Erik Milito, director of industry operations for the American Petroleum Institute. “A duplicative layer of new federal regulation is unnecessary.”

The Interior Department has spent more than three years developing the rules, in close consultation with oil and gas companies, states, and environmental groups. The agency also said it has reviewed more than 1.5 million public comments. 

(Blog editor's head slumps)

Friday’s regulations are expected to be the first in a series of new rules governing fracking safety — the Obama administration is also expected to issue rules designed to curb the release of methane, a planet-warming greenhouse gas, from fracking wells.

Oh, yeah, the way worse gas that doesn't come from you and thus can't be taxed!


I gotta pick up the pace of the blog.