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Category Archives: Energy

What Drives U.S. Gasoline Prices?

EIA, October 30, 2014: “U.S. oil production has grown rapidly in recent years. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, which reflect combined production of crude oil and lease condensate, show a rise from 5.6 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2011 to 7.4 million bbl/d in 2013. EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) projects continuing rapid production growth in 2014 and 2015, with forecast production in 2015 averaging 9.5 million bbl/d. While EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) projects further production growth, its pace and duration remain uncertain, as shown by the significant differences between Reference case and High Oil and Gas Resource case projections, which differ in both the timing and level of the highest volume of U.S. crude oil production. EIA’s next update to the AEO will raise projected production significantly in the Reference case. Recent and forecast increases in domestic crude production have sparked discussion on the topic of how rising crude oil volumes will be absorbed. Given the likelihood of continued growth in domestic crude production, and the recognition that some absorption options, such as like-for-like replacement of import streams, are inherently limited, the question of how a relaxation in current limitations on crude exports might affect domestic and international markets for both crude and products continues to hold great interest for policymakers, industry, and the public. In response to multiple requests, EIA is developing analyses that shed light on this question. A change in current limitations on crude oil exports could have implications for both domestic and international crude oil prices. To the extent that current limitations on exports cause domestic crudes to sell at lower prices than could occur if those limitations were relaxed, such a relaxation could raise the price of domestically produced oil. If higher prices for domestic crude were to spur additional U.S. production than might otherwise occur, the increase to global crude oil supply could reduce the global price of crude. The extent to which domestic crude prices might rise, and global crude prices might fall, depends on a host of factors, including the degree to which current export limitations affect prices received by domestic producers, the sensitivity of future domestic production to price changes, the ability of domestic refiners to absorb domestic production, and the reaction of key foreign producers to changes in the level of U.S. crude production.”

New GAO Reports – Disability Compensation, DOD Business Systems Modernization, DOD Space Systems, Energy Policy

DISABILITY COMPENSATION: Review of Concurrent Receipt of Department of Defense Retirement, Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation, and Social Security Disability Insurance, GAO-14-854R: Published: Sep 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 2014. DOD BUSINESS SYSTEMS MODERNIZATION: Additional Enhancements Are Needed for Army Business System Schedule and Cost Estimates to Fully Meet Best Practices, GAO-14-470: Published: Sep 30, 2014. Publicly Released: OctContinue Reading

Fallout plume of submerged oil from Deepwater Horizon

David L. Valentine, G. Burch Fisher, Sarah C. Bagby, Robert K. Nelson, Christopher M. Reddy, Sean P. Sylva, and Mary A. Woo. Fallout plume of submerged oil from Deepwater Horizon. PNAS 2014 : 1414873111v1-201414873. “Following the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico an unprecedented quantity of oil irrupted into the ocean at aContinue Reading

Customer Choice and the Power Industry of the Future

Customer Choice and the Power Industry of the Future. Richard J. Campbell Specialist in Energy Policy September 22, 2014 “Some observers argue that new technologies are leading to a distributed generation (DG) future for customers, supported by utility base load generation and infrastructure. Various states and jurisdictions have begun initiatives to look at what aContinue Reading

Big Data, Dumpster Diving and the New Ethics of Waste Management

New York Times: “Rubicon, based in Atlanta, isn’t in the business of hauling waste. It doesn’t own a single truck or landfill. Rather, companies hire it as a kind of waste consultant. It begins by holding an online bidding process for its clients’ waste contracts, fostering competition among waste management businesses and bringing down theirContinue Reading

Mapping Geothermal Heat Flow and Existing Plants

“Geothermal power is a growing part of our country’s energy mix. We want to take a moment to help you learn more about this clean, renewable energy source. Read on to learn how geothermal energy works. Then spend some time checking out the map above, which shows locations of existing and in-development geothermal plants, over aContinue Reading

U.S. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 2013

U.S. ENERGY-RELATED CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS INCREASED 2.5% IN 2013 “Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) increased from 5,267 million metric tons (MMmt) in 2012 to 5,396 MMmt in 2013 (2.5%). The 2013 increase was largely the result of colder weather leading to an increase in energy intensity (energy measured in Btu per dollar of gross domesticContinue Reading

New Environmental Report Documents Fracking’s Toxic Loophole

News release: “Despite a federal ban on the use of diesel fuel in hydraulic fracturing without a permit, several oil and gas companies are exploiting a Safe Drinking Water Act loophole pushed through by Halliburton to frack with petroleum-based products containing even more dangerous toxic chemicals than diesel. For example, a drilling company in West TexasContinue Reading

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges

Conflict Minerals and Resource Extraction: Dodd-Frank, SEC Regulations, and Legal Challenges. Michael V. Seitzinger, Legislative Attorney; Kathleen Ann Ruane, Legislative Attorney. October 15, 2014. “Two sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act (Dodd-Frank) require that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) issue regulations to make public the involvement of U.S. companies in conflict minerals and inContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Changing Crude Oil Markets, Federal Paid Admin Leave, Food Safety

CHANGING CRUDE OIL MARKETS: Allowing Exports Could Reduce Consumer Fuel Prices, and the Size of the Strategic Reserves Should Be Reexamined, GAO-14-807: Published: Sep 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 2014. FEDERAL PAID ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE: Additional Guidance Needed to Improve OPM Data, GAO-15-79: Published: Oct 17, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 2014. FOOD SAFETY: USDA Needs to Strengthen Its Approach toContinue Reading

NRC Staff Issues Volume 3 of Yucca Mountain Safety Evaluation Report

News release: “The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has published Volume 3 of its safety evaluation  report on the proposed underground geologic nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev. Volume 3 covers the period after a repository at Yucca Mountain would be permanently closed should NRC authorize construction following completion of the remaining steps in the licensing process.Continue Reading

Energy for growing and harvesting crops is a large component of farm operating costs

EIA: “The U.S. agriculture industry used nearly 800 trillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy in 2012, or about as much primary energy as the entire state of Utah. Agricultural energy consumption includes energy needed to grow and harvest crops and energy needed to grow livestock. Crop operations consume much more energy than livestock operations,Continue Reading