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Energy News

The Shale Boom’s New Winner: Propane

Wall Street Journal | Posted on July 14, 2016

The U.S. is exporting record volumes of propane, another way in which the shale boom has made the nation a more dominant force in the global energy trade. Foreign sales are surging as U.S. producers capitalize on higher prices overseas. That in turn is causing U.S. prices to rise, making Fourth of July barbecues a bit more expensive than cookouts a few months ago.

In a first, U.S. oil-and-gas companies are on track this year to export more propane than the next four largest exporting countries combined—OPEC members Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Nigeria, which have long dominated the trade—according to analytics provider IHS Inc. U.S. exports already account for more than a third of the overall market for waterborne shipments

How America could go dark

Wall Street Journal | Posted on July 14, 2016

The U.S. electric system is in danger of widespread blackouts lasting days, weeks or longer through the destruction of sensitive, hard-to-replace equipment. Yet records are so spotty that no government agency can offer an accurate tally of substation attacks, whether for vandalism, theft or more nefarious purposes.  Most substations are unmanned and often protected chiefly by chain-link fences. Many have no electronic security, leaving attacks unnoticed until after the damage is done. Even if there are security cameras, they often prove worthless. In some cases, alarms are simply ignored.

Retail Partnerships, New Technologies Will Help to Ensure U.S. Energy Independence

Agri-Pulse | Posted on July 14, 2016

According to the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 34 percent in comparison to gasoline. Moreover, advanced biofuels have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 100 percent. July 10th is U.S. Energy Independence Day, a time to celebrate Earth-friendly American ethanol. Since the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, ethanol has become an important success story and is helping America reduce its dependence on foreign oil, lowering prices at the pump, improving the environment with lower emissions, and growing the economy with jobs that can't be outsourced. And, from an agricultural perspective, ethanol helps to ensure a more stable corn market and support rural communities.

US has more oil reserves than Saudi Arabia, says study

Irish Times | Posted on July 11, 2016

The US holds more oil reserves thanSaudi Arabia and Russia, the first time it has surpassed those held by the world’s biggest exporting nations, according to a new study. Rystad Energy estimates recoverable oil in the US from existing fields, discoveries and yet undiscovered areas amounts to 264 billion barrels. The figure surpasses Saudi Arabia’s 212 billion and Russia’s 256 billion in reserves.

The analysis of 60,000 fields worldwide, conducted over a three-year period by the Oslo-based group, shows total global oil reserves at 2.1 trillion barrels. This is 70 times the current production rate of about 30 billion barrels of crude oil a year

Agriculture community also affected by oil and gas slowdown

Greeley Tribune | Posted on July 7, 2016

The 2013 floods in Weld County caused significant damage to Sylvester’s property. If it weren’t for the oil and gas wells on his land — and the monthly checks he receives from the leases — Sylvester said his family never would have been able to make the necessary repairs to keep their house livable.  Farmers and ranchers often use oil and gas royalties as fallback money when things go wrong, like during natural disasters or when commodity prices fall. But when the royalties are low and commodity prices are low, like now, when they’re both at their lowest in 10 years, that can cause significant struggles. 

Farmers aren’t new to volatile markets. Commodity prices are always sliding up and down, and Colorado Farm Bureau President Don Shawcroft said farmers were expecting the oil and gas bubble to burst, though how quickly and severely it did came as a surprise.  Even now, almost three years after the floods, Sylvester is still working to undo the damage done by one week of weather. The difference is the checks coming from the oil and gas companies are smaller these days.

Sioux County landowners win appeal

Scottsbluff Star Herald | Posted on July 7, 2016

District court judge rules against Nebraska Oil and Gas Commission in fracking wastewater case

TCU lab tries to save bats from death by wind turbine

Star Telegram | Posted on July 7, 2016

Texas may be known for oil, but it is also the nation’s largest producer of wind energy. And while renewable energy is generally a good thing to most people, it’s not great for bats. Those towering wind turbines that harness the wind’s power kill a lot of bats every year.


Energy developer again seeks Missouri approval for transmission line from Kansas wind farms

St Louis Post Dispatch | Posted on July 7, 2016

Buoyed by recent high-profile endorsements from the public and private sector, Clean Line Energy, developers of the Grain Belt Express transmission line from Kansas wind farms, submitted a new application for the project’s approval. The fate of the project now rests in the hands of the Missouri Public Service Commission, which scuttled the project's original application last year amid concerns from farmers and other landowners in the project’s path.

Maine retiree fueling governor’s questions about ethanol

Portland Press Herald | Posted on July 7, 2016

A retired mechanic from South Berwick who believes ethanol in gas may be to blame for Maine’s opioid crisis was a driving force behind Gov. Paul LePage’s decision to study the corn-derived gasoline additive. The mechanic, Ralph Stevens, 77, said in an interview that he believes emissions from the additive have prompted the state’s ongoing drug crisis and may be responsible for a host of other health problems. State Rep. Beth O’Connor, R-Berwick, seized on Stevens’ concerns, and has worked with him to study the issue for over six years. A letter she sent to LePage urging him to take action included written testimony that Stevens submitted to the Legislature outlining his concerns about ethanol.

O’Connor believes the additive is causing health and even public safety problems.  “It has caused increased allergies, increased asthma. I believe it exacerbates the condition that a lot of our veterans have with PTSD. I believe that it causes depression, anger,” said O’Connor, who also asserted a link to higher crime rates in urban areas, where more ethanol is burned. To better get LePage’s attention, she had 85 members of the Legislature sign a letter she had drafted urging him to take action. LePage’s order requires the state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention and its Department of Environmental Protection to collect the available studies on the health and environmental impacts of burning gasoline that’s mixed with ethanol, review that information and report back on what should be done

Oil Rally Threatened as Gasoline Supply Surge Swamps U.S. Demand

Bloomberg | Posted on July 5, 2016

Refineries across the nation are operating full-out and imports are pouring into the East Coast, boosting gasoline supplies to a record. At the same time, consumption has turned out to be less robust than thought. That’s weighed on prices, threatening to stem oil’s rebound from a 12-year low. The Energy Information Administration said in a monthly report on June 30 that demand in April was 9.21 million barrels a day, down from 9.49 million seen in weekly data. "The monthly data for April raises doubts about the idea that we have reliably robust gasoline demand to support the entire complex," said Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York. Gasoline stockpiles along the East Coast, which includes New York Harbor, the delivery point for U.S. futures contracts, surged to a record 72.5 million barrels in week ended June 24, EIA data show. Imports to the region jumped to a six-year seasonal high. Production climbed to a record in the previous week, as refiners typically run harder in the second quarter to meet summer peak driving season.