Archive for the ‘Washington watch’ Category

US oil exports seen as key to security: Regulation and Environment

There’s an economic argument to be made for lifting US crude oil export restrictions, and then there’s the argument that American oil could go a long way toward providing security to the US and its allies. Brian Scheid explains in this week’s Oilgram News column, Regulation and Environment.

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OTC 2015, Day 4: Coming clean about offshore safety systems for US oil and gas

Thursday at the Offshore Technology Conference is traditionally the “safety day,” with sessions and panels bringing together regulators as well as industry professionals to talk about the sometimes uneasy interaction between the two in the offshore oil and gas industry.

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US Quadrennial Energy Report shows the will – but not the way – to modernizing the SPR

Ever since US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz acknowledged at a Platts forum in December 2013 that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve merited a “re-look” at how it is structured, given the boom in US production and the resulting declines in imports and changes in crude flows, US officials have said they were studying the issue and would soon make recommendations on what to do about the 1970s era storage facilities.

So, last week’s much anticipated release of the Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Energy Review must have been a disappointment, then, for people who closely follow the SPR, as the report, which included a whole chapter devoted to the reserve, merely recommended … additional study.

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As Capitol Hill erupts over Iran letter, Senator Corker holds fire

The jaw-dropping letter that 47 Republican senators drafted to Iranian leaders as a warning shot over nuclear negotiations has some prominent signatories — the party’s entire Senate leadership team and a few possible presidential contenders in Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.

But the letter, first reported by Bloomberg, is missing the signature of one significant senator: Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who chairs the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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Will crude prices weigh on the US export debate?

There’s relatively widespread consensus among analysts and academics that the White House is unlikely to do anything on crude exports in the near term, and many believe President Obama may not touch the issue before he leaves office in January 2017.

What’s less clear is how the newly-Republican controlled Congress will deal with the issue and how crude prices will influence the possible debate.

Will the recent plunge in crude oil prices bolster the case for an end to restrictions on US exports or could relatively low prices deflate the argument for loosening the long-standing US crude export regime?

On the other hand, will crude prices have little to no impact on domestic export policy?

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Regulation and Environment: A whole lot of factors in the Keystone XL decision

Beyond the politics, there are a lot of legal reasons that President Obama can–or can not–deny the application to build the Keystone XL pipeline. Gary Gentile discusses some of them in today’s Oilgram News column, Regulation & Environment.

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Pop quiz: What factors can President Obama consider when deciding whether to issue a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline?

a) Environmental issues, including the impact of oil sands development on the climate.

b) The relative safety of transporting heavy crude by rail versus pipeline.

c) Maintaining good relations with Canada, one of our most important trading partners.

d) The odds of the New York Mets making the baseball playoffs this year.

The surprising answer is “all of the above.” Surprise again: the correct answer could also be “none of the above.”

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Keystone XL was theater, but it was good theater

This week’s Keystone XL drama in the US Senate was flush with the political party infighting, partisan sniping and naked political theater that critics of Washington, DC tend to hate most.

It also included the political party infighting, partisan sniping and naked political theater that Beltway media and cable news junkies tend to love most.

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Did crude oil export supporters rush to crow about EIA report?

Shortly after the US Energy Information Administration released a report last week on what drives US gasoline prices, the American Petroleum Institute declared its findings a significant argument in favor of dropping all restrictions on US crude oil exports.

The EIA report “confirms that lifting trade restrictions on U.S. crude oil could benefit U.S. consumers and promote America’s economic growth,” the oil and gas industry’s key trade association said in a statement.

That same day, the Producers for American Crude Oil Exports, a lobbying group backed by independent oil companies including Anadarko Petroleum, ConocoPhillips and Hess, said the EIA report backed the group’s calls for liberalizing the crude export restrictions which have been in place for nearly 40 years.

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Oil and the elections, through the eyes of a DC analyst

Kevin Book, Christi Tezak and the other partners at ClearView Energy Partners always have some unique perspectives on the intersection of politics and energy.

So here are a few nuggets from their post-Election Day wrap-up:

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Regulation & Environment: Alaska mining battle and its impact on oil and gas

Regulations between mining and oil and gas often spill over. That’s what the industry is worried about in Alaska, as Tim Bradner discusses in this week’s Oilgram News column, Regulation & Environment.

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