Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oil Drilling News


'Drill, baby, drill' won't do it

"Right now, the best way to control oil prices is lowered demand, in the form of conservation; in the last couple of weeks, the used-car market for gas-thrifty vehicles has become hot again (though motorists will no doubt flock back to gas guzzlers as soon as prices drop). Corporations are only beginning to learn about the money they can save by reducing energy use in their buildings. In Washington, legislators should be talking about tax benefits for companies that permit telecommuting and flexible schedules that reduce car travel."


As Gas Prices Rise, Public Seeks Alternatives to Oil

U.S. relies less on oil imports to meet fuel demand: government

"U.S. dependence on imported oil fell below 50 percent in 2010 for the first time in more than a decade, thanks in part to the weak economy and more fuel efficient vehicles, the Energy Department said on Wednesday. 

The department's Energy Information Administration said it expected the moderating trend in U.S. oil-import dependency to continue through the next decade due to improvements in energy efficiency and even higher fuel economy standards."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Oil Drilling News Supplement and Notice

One more item:

Ken Salazar to drill-baby-drill crowd: Stop whining and get cracking

""Last year, America produced more oil than at any time since 2003," Salazar told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday. (See the full text of his opening comments here.) "The Department continues to facilitate domestic production by issuing permits." 

One of the problems, Salazar suggested, is that companies simply aren't moving forward on properties they've already leased. Drawing on a report his agency released a few weeks ago, Salazar noted that more than two-thirds of the offshore acres under lease are inactive, and production has yet to occur on more than half the leases on federal lands. [...] 

The notion that a ramp-up of oil permits today will do anything to ease the average American's pain at the pump in three months, or even three years, is more than slightly delusional. But perhaps Salazar is the delusional one to think the public, or lawmakers, care about the facts of actual domestic production."

Also, please note that Oil Drilling News will be going on vacation starting tomorrow.  Publication will resume Tuesday, May 30.

Oil Drilling News


Democratic bill to end oil subsidies is defeated in the Senate

It's important to note that "defeated" means it received less than a filibuster-proof majority of 60 votes, although a majority of senators (52 of 100) did approve this legislation.  See below for a different spin on this.

League of Conservation Voters Statement on Oil Subsidy Vote
"Today, a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate voted to repeal billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to the nation's most profitable oil companies. Repealing these tax breaks would result in $21 billion in revenue over the next decade that this legislation aimed to use to cut the deficit. League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski issued the following statement in response:
"As American families struggle with high gas prices and Big Oil continues to reap record profits, a bipartisan majority in the Senate voted to repeal billions in taxpayer handouts to the most profitable oil companies. But unfortunately, enough Senators beholden to Big Oil were able to block eliminating these superfluous subsidies, even though those savings would have been directed to cutting the national deficit. Their record profits as well as previous statements by their CEOs don't lie: the most profitable oil companies don't need to be subsidized. Congress must once and for all end these taxpayer-funded giveaways that allow oil companies to profit off consumers twice: once at the pump and again from our federal taxes."
The 48 senators who voted to maintain oil industry handouts received, on average, more than four times more campaign cash
http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/summary.php?ind=E01&cycle=All&recipdetail=S&sortorder=A&mem=Y&page=1  from oil and gas interests during their careers than the 52 senators who sided with American families. Additionally, all 12 senators who have received more than $500,000 in campaign cash from oil and gas interests during their careers voted to protect Big Oil's giveaways."

White House Statement on GOP Drilling Bill

"The Administration is committed to promoting safe and responsible domestic oil and gas production as part of a broad energy strategy that will protect consumers and reduce our dependence on oil.  Safety and environmental reforms that the Administration implemented in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are critical to achieving those objectives.  These reforms strengthen requirements for issues ranging from well design to workplace safety to corporate accountability, and they require operators to show that they can contain a subsea oil spill like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  S. 953 generally would undercut these critical reforms; therefore, the Administration opposes S. 953. 
S. 953 would undermine the Administration's work to ensure that environmental analysis required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is conducted in a rigorous manner.  S. 953 would hastily open areas of the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, and the Atlantic to leasing, and require the Department of the Interior (DOI) to hold multiple lease sales in the Gulf and Alaska using outdated NEPA analysis that was conducted before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.  The Administration has strengthened NEPA analysis in light of lessons learned from the spill and is committed to responsible development in the Gulf and the Arctic.  DOI intends to hold the Gulf lease sales referenced in the bill by mid-2012.  With respect to Alaska, DOI has committed to holding annual lease sales in the National Petroleum Reserve while respecting sensitive areas, encouraging development of existing leases by establishing a high-level interagency working group to coordinate the permitting process (including necessary environmental and safety reviews), and extending certain offshore leases. 
S. 953 would constrain the ability of DOI to ensure that permits meet safety standards by requiring permitting decisions to be made within 30 days of receiving an application, thereby curtailing the review period.  Two 15-day extensions would be possible, though DOI would be required to submit burdensome justifications.  The bill would grant permits automatically at the end of this 60-day window, regardless of whether the applicant satisfied safety standards.  These concerns also arise over environmental safeguards and reviews.  The Administration believes these statutory time constraints are unwarranted.  Fifty-three new shallow water permits have been issued since the Administration's stronger safety standards were put in place, and deepwater permit applications also are being processed in a timely manner.  Since the end of February, when industry first demonstrated to safety regulators the capability to contain a subsea spill, fourteen deepwater wells have been permitted.
S. 953 also would require the Secretary of the Interior to grant an automatic one-year suspension of leases (effectively extending the term of the leases) in the Gulf.  The Administration fully supports suspensions for Gulf leaseholders directly impacted by the drilling moratorium.  Ten such suspensions have already been granted using administrative procedures to leaseholders who demonstrated that they were affected by the moratoria."

The McConnell Bill S.953 was rejected today 42-57.  Here is the League of Conservation Voters Statement:

"We are encouraged that the Senate rejected this irresponsible drilling proposal that puts our economy and our environment at risk. However, it's time for Republican leadership to stop pushing their 'oil above all' energy strategy and start getting serious about addressing our nation's energy needs.
With gas prices high, now is the time to reduce our dangerous and expensive dependence on oil. We call on Congress to put an end to these blatant attempts to further Big Oil's record profits and instead work to achieve what a majority of Americans really want: eliminate the billions in unnecessary taxpayer subsidies that allow oil companies to profit off consumers twice—once at the pump and once on tax day."

Senate slams GOP drilling bill

Salazar outlines specific legislative priorities for oil, gas

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Senate to vote on bills repealing oil tax breaks, expanding offshore drilling

"The Senate will hold a test vote Tuesday night on a Democratic bill to slash billions of dollars in oil-industry tax breaks to the five largest oil companies. [...] Under a unanimous consent agreement, Senate leadership also agreed to hold a vote Wednesday on a Republican offshore drilling bill that mirrors legislation passed by House Republicans in recent weeks."

Menendez Leads Senate in Debate to End Tax Subsidies for Five Largest Oil Companies
"Today, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez took to the Senate floor to call for support of the "Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act," targeted legislation he introduced last week to end tax subsidies for the five largest oil companies and recoup billions of dollars to help address our nation's growing deficit." Below is an excerpt from his remarks and a video.
"Mr. President, my bill would close several loopholes for Big Oil. Loopholes that, given the current budget climate, would let Big Oil get away without making any sacrifices at the very time we're asking middle class families, the disabled, and the elderly to tighten their belts and help reduce the deficit. There simply is no common-sense explanation for balancing the budget on the backs of working families and letting multi-billion dollar oil companies keep billions in taxpayer dollars." VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmR_0EKQz-k

Leading Republicans Agree... Oil Companies Don't Need Taxpayer Handouts (Video)

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY - S. 940 – Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act  
"The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of S. 940, which would repeal tens of billions of dollars in special tax breaks for oil and gas companies over the next decade. While there is no single solution to addressing the effect of rising gas prices on American families in the short term, the Administration has put forth a long-term plan to cut the Nation's oil imports by one-third by 2025.  The plan includes increasing domestic production in the short term, while investing in domestic alternative fuels, and increasing efficiency in the vehicles Americans drive.  It is also clear that there are much more responsible ways to utilize the billions in taxpayer dollars provided to oil and gas companies through unwarranted tax breaks. The Nation's outdated tax laws currently provide the oil and gas industry billions of dollars per year in these subsidies, even though oil and gas prices are high and the industry is reporting outsized profits.  Furthermore, heads of the major oil and gas companies have in the past made it clear that high oil prices provide more than enough profit motive to invest in domestic exploration and production without special tax breaks.  The Administration believes that, at a time when it is working with the Congress on proposals to reduce Federal deficits, the Nation cannot afford to maintain these wasteful subsidies.  The President proposed eliminating these subsidies in his FY 2010, FY 2011, and FY 2012 Budgets.  The Administration believes these resources are better used for efforts that will help the American people, such as deficit reduction or investments in clean home-grown sources of energy.  The Administration considers this bill to be an important step toward more responsible fiscal and energy policies and looks forward to continuing to work with the Congress to end these subsidies."


Splitting Water to Create Renewable Energy Simpler Than First Thought? 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Obama Says He Will Seek to Lift U.S. Oil Output

"President Obama, in his weekly radio address, said his administration would expand drilling opportunities in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve, speed up continuing evaluation of oil resources in the Atlantic and provide incentives to oil companies to develop energy on the leases they currently own."

Obama announces steps to speed oil drilling

"The Obama administration will speed up the leasing process for the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve, give oil companies better financial incentives to use their leases and extend all drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico so oil companies have more time to implement safety measures after the devastating BP oil spill. 

He will also fast-forward the testing of areas off the east coast of the United States to see what oil resources are there and if it would be safe and commercially viable to drill."

A Big Whine From Big Oil

"Exxon's Rex Tillerson called the proposal "misinformed and discriminatory." ConocoPhillips's James Mulva, in a letter, called the idea "un-American" because it would supposedly cost American jobs, raise consumer prices and discourage investment — a position he reasserted during the hearings. 

The other three companies at the witness table, BP America, Shell and Chevron, raised similar complaints. How absurd are their claims? Utterly absurd. "       


Garrett Says 'Drill Baby, Drill' Off Jersey Shore, Other State Reps Opposed


Answer to cheap power is blowing in offshore wind

"The Atlantic Wind Connection could provide an entirely new model for connecting seaborne energy with land users. The Maryland-based transmission-line company Trans-Elect proposes to do just that with a $5 billion undersea power grid that would stretch some 350 miles from northern New Jersey to southern Virginia. The Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) would provide multiple transmission hubs for future wind farms, making the waters off the mid-Atlantic coast an attractive and economical place for developers to set up turbines. The AWC's lines could transmit as much as six gigawatts of low-carbon power from turbines back to the coast — the equivalent capacity of 10 average coal-fired power plants."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Oil Slick at Platform 23051 Site, Gulf of Mexico (Skytruth)

"today's MODIS/Terra satellite image shows what appears to be an 18-mile-long oil slick emanating from this location. We've been told the site leaks an average of only 14 gallons per day. Once again we see evidence suggesting a much larger leak."


House Passes Bill to Add U.S. Areas for Offshore Drilling

Interior drilling chief calls GOP oil bill a 'suicide pact'

""The one to accelerate lease sales ... would be, I think, struck down by the courts because the [bill] mandates us to rely on pre-Deepwater Horizon NEPA," he said in reference to National Environmental Policy Act analyses conducted before the BP oil spill. 

"Well, that's sort of a suicide pact, where we're going to go in, we're going to be forced to do lease sales with inadequate environmental analysis and we'll be enjoined from those lease sales. Who wins then? Nobody," he added of the bill that passed last week."


Senate Poised to Take Up Drilling Bills Passed by the House (NRDC blog)

Will GOP Rue Embrace of Big Oil?

"...taxpayer-funded subsidies for oil companies make voters furious -- which we have found in our research for some time. A massive 73 percent majority supports eliminating these giveaways, with 57 percent supporting this action strongly. "   

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Oil CEOs on the Hot Seat

ConocoPhillips CEO Refuses To Apologize For Saying It Is 'Un-American' To End Oil Subsidies

Let's see, I guess that means government subsidies to the 'Big 5' oil companies are 'American'.  Hmmmmm....never knew that.

House to mull oil drilling off California's coast

"H.R. 1231, the "Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act," would do just that, requiring the Interior Department to offer leases in every area with significant oil deposits three miles off the coast."
Update from Richard Charter of Defenders of Wildlife:
"The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the third bill in a series of three fast-track drilling pieces that favors Big Oil profits over safety of coastal communities and environments.
·         H.R. 1231, The Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act, is a massive handout to the oil and gas industry. This legislation forces the federal government to take on 50% of the cost of seismic testing for oil and would require the administration to open up coastal and Arctic offshore drilling areas regardless of economic or environmental consequences. These areas would include the coasts of California, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and the fragile Arctic marine ecosystem off the coast of Alaska.
·         H.R. 1231 does not solve our gas price problem, but it does put at risk hundreds of thousands of jobs that rely on clean coastal waters. It also threatens thousands of miles of coastal habitat and exposes countless bird and marine species to the dangers of offshore drilling."

Democrats continue to press for oil company tax hikes as amendments to drilling bills

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Tarballs linger on Alabama's uninhabited beaches

Deepwater Horizon Spill Threatens More Species Than Legally Protected, Study Finds


House advances legislation to accelerate offshore drilling

"Citing motorists' angst about rising gasoline prices, the House of Representatives today advanced two bills that would accelerate offshore oil and gas drilling. 

Legislation that would give federal regulators a 60-day deadline to approve or reject specific offshore drilling proposals passed 263-163. A separate bill that would force the government to sell drilling leases in waters off the coast of California and much of the Atlantic Coast is expected to pass Thursday morning. 

With strong opposition from the Obama administration and most congressional Democrats, neither measure is expected to advance in the Senate."

When gas hits $4 a gallon, phony fixes are sure to follow

"This ritual of political pandering might be amusing if it weren't crowding out the real conversation the nation should be having about energy policies — the one that might some day unhook the nation from the whims of the world oil market. [...] The fix for recurring gas price crises is both simple and excruciatingly difficult: Use less oil, and find more of it in stable places while engineering a transition to alternative fuels. Using less means vehicles with better mileage, whether hybrids or more radical designs."

Inquirer Editorial: Isn't the goal less oil?

Rep. McClintock says Obama administration had 'irrational' reaction to Deepwater Horizon

Irrational?  Who you callin' irrational?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Sick fish in Gulf are alarming scientists

"Scientists are alarmed by the discovery of unusual numbers of fish in the Gulf of Mexico and inland waterways with skin lesions, fin rot, spots, liver blood clots and other health problems."

They have left, the oil has not

OIL/ENERGY POLICY - NGOs and the States Fight Back

The Truth about Rising Gasoline Prices (Union of Concerned Scientists)

Big Oil's Fingerprints (California League of Conservation Voters)

Going overboard in quest for oil (Virginia)

Expand offshore drilling? / Emotional response (New Jersey)

Fort Lauderdale demonstration to oppose offshore oil drilling (Florida/National)

Opponents of offshore drilling will hold their second annual Hands Across the Sand event June 25 in Fort Lauderdale, as part of a national day of demonstrations against the expansion of oil exploration off U.S. shores.


The Public's Support for Alternative Energy and a Path to Citizenship Transcends Political Barriers

Renewables could be 80 percent of energy by 2050: U.N.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Gaining perspective on the oil spill


More U.S. Oil Drilling Won't Lower Gas Prices, Experts Say

The Return of 'Drill, Baby, Drill'

"With the country again facing $4-a-gallon gasoline, the time would seem ripe for a grown-up conversation on energy. What we are getting instead is a mindless rerun of the drill-baby-drill operatics of the 2008 campaign, when gas was also at $4 a gallon. Then, as now, opportunistic politicians insisted that vastly expanded oil drilling would bring relief at the pump and reduced dependence on foreign oil. Then, as now, these arguments were bogus."


U.S. House passes bill to open Va. coast for drilling

GOP bill calls for oil drilling off North Coast (CA)

"A Republican move to expedite offshore oil drilling in response to $4-a-gallon gasoline includes a bill, scheduled for a House vote this week, that could bring oil wells to the Sonoma and Mendocino coast."


GOP Rep. Burgess Claims Oil Prices Fell Because 'The House Passed A Bill'
There was no word on when Rep. Burgess will be enrolling in Remedial Economics 101.


"The OFS requires that 50 percent of automobiles made in 2014, 80 percent in 2016, and 95 percent in 2017, would be manufactured and warranted to operate on non-petroleum-based fuels. Alternative fuel options include existing technologies such as flex fuel, natural gas, hydrogen, biodiesel, plug-in electric and fuel cell, as well a catch-all category of "emerging fuels.""

Climate change panel: renewable energy to be key

"The world's top scientific body concluded that renewable energy in the coming decades will be widespread and could one day represent the dominant source for powering factories and lighting homes, according to a draft report obtained by The Associated Press Thursday."

Friday, May 6, 2011

Oil Drilling News


Lautenberg, Menendez Denounce Shortsighted House Drilling Legislation (Clean Ocean Action Press Release)
"Offshore drilling is off-limits near New Jersey.  The cost of an oil spill to our coastal economy would be huge," said Lautenberg.  "Our bill sends a clear message that we will not stand by and let big oil companies put the Jersey Shore in the path of the next big oil spill.  Drilling is not the answer to rising gas prices – instead, we need to invest in energy efficient cars, fuels that burn cleaner and cost less, and smarter transportation options like mass transit." 

"It is disturbing that many members of the House of Representatives seem to have already forgotten the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf that happened just last year.  That is the only explanation for this legislation to weaken drilling safety standards and expedite oil leasing less than 100 miles from Cape May. These House proposals are dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate," said Menendez. "To underscore that point, we will reintroduce legislation to permanently ban coastal drilling from North Carolina to Maine.  We cannot afford the risks oil drilling would pose to New Jersey's beautiful shoreline and its multi-billion dollar tourism and fishing industries, especially when the experts tell us that new offshore drilling will do nothing to reduce gas prices." 

Sponsors Of Oil-Drilling Expansion Bill Received $8.8 Million In Industry Contributions

Obama: Nation can't drill its way out of soaring gas prices

"President Obama called for the elimination of billions of dollars in oil industry tax breaks Friday, while stressing that the United States can't drill its way out of high gas prices."

Senate prepares to go after Big Oil

Americans blame oil companies, politics, others for rising gasoline prices

According to the associated graphic, only 5% of the survey respondents said 'not drilling enough' was the main reason that gas prices has gone up recently.


Retired brigadier general pushes renewable energy for armed forces