Archive for the ‘Washington watch’ Category

To get big results for energy in the US Congress, start small: Fuel for Thought

If you want to exercise big influence in Washington, think small.

There are hundreds of groups of US legislators huddled around special interests in the Congress, including several dozen organized around energy-related issues. These groups, sometimes called congressional caucuses, are often the first place an industry group will go to start the conversation on a key issue, whether it be protecting US refiners or promoting oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic coast.

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Everything you need to know about the US crude export vote (almost)

Congress is scheduled to vote Friday on a massive government spending package with a provision to lift all limits on crude oil exports, a potentially landmark policy change which would give US producers unfettered access to the world market for the first time in four decades.

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The Keystone XL saga: missed chances, shifting sands — Fuel for Thought

If Bill O’Reilly, author of such books as “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy” were to turn his attention to pipelines, his next book might be entitled “Killing Keystone.”

It would be a tale full of twists and turns, conspiracy theories, missed opportunities, miscalculations and bad timing surrounding TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline. It would not, however, be a book about whether the now-notorious project would have been good simply on its merits.

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Questioning the path of US crude oil exports through Congress

When Congress returns to Capitol Hill on September 8, the expectation is that lawmakers in the House and Senate will have just over three months to get current limits on US crude oil export repealed.

Many analysts feel crude export policy bills will need to be voted on this year, due to reluctance by lawmakers to take on such a controversial topic in 2016, an election year.

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Bumpy road ahead for US infrastructure and steelmakers who create it

Half a loaf is better than none, but what about 1/24 of a loaf? That’s a question the steel industry and other major stakeholders in US infrastructure projects may be asking themselves this week.

Last week Washington legislators rushed out of town after approving a mere three months of federal funding for transportation infrastructure projects — after giving up on a comprehensive six-year plan that authorized the spending of $350 billion.

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Major US oil trend left out of discussion of Iran deal

Secretary of State John Kerry held a question-and-answer session to a packed house Friday in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations to talk about the recently-concluded nuclear deal between Iran and several Western nations, including the US.  It didn’t matter that the breakfast was called on about 24 hours notice on a Friday in the summer; it was a true VIP audience. (For example, among those in attendance: Hess Oil CEO John Hess.)

John Kingston, president of the McGraw Hill Financial Institute and a long-time Platts editorial leader, was in attendance. And as he noted, there was one word that, amazingly, didn’t emanate from Secretary Kerry’s mouth, not even once. You can find out what that word was on the Institute’s blog here.

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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