In the Pipeline: 3/28/12

The answer is, of course, who cares?  The only reason anyone buys a Prius is so they can demonstrate how much holier they are than everyone else.  And to expose the fact that they don’t what the word “fungible” means Good Magazine (3/27?12) reports: In his book, The Conundrum, New Yorker staff writer David Owen ruffles the feathers of energy-efficiency advocates with his argument that living sustainably often means living, in his words, “pretty much the way I live right now, though maybe with a different car.” He argues that no matter how many Priuses, LED bulbs, and vegetarian entrees we buy, we won’t save the planet, because we’ll negate the energy (and money) savings by spending them on some other energy-sucking activity…Owen’s argument rings true to anyone who’s rationalized leaving the extra-efficient lights on when rushing out of the house (guilty) or eating a hamburger after a few meat-free meals (guilty again). But there’s plenty of evidence that consumption justified by sustainable choices doesn’t eat up all the energy saved. A new bit of research makes that case for the Prius, a quintessential green purchase.

We have a lot of energy Fuel Fix (3/28/12) reports: The number of gas drilling rigs is declining in Pennsylvania and nationwide, due to a combination of low natural gas prices and renewed interest in oil…There were 98 drilling rigs in Pennsylvania during the week of March 23, according to Baker Hughes, a company that monitors national counts. That’s down from a peak of 116 reached during the summer of 2011. Drilling rigs bore the holes and set pipes, but all wells don’t go into production immediately…Experts said the decline doesn’t mean the natural gas boom is over, in Pennsylvania or elsewhere. Now, many companies are investing in pipelines and other distribution facilities.

And when we say a lot, we mean we are never going to run out CNBC (3/27/12) reports: Increased production of energy from a number of sources including deepwater drilling, natural gas exploration and Canada’s oil sands could make North America the next Middle East, according to a new report from Citigroup… The bank estimates that total North American energy production will rise from 15.4 million barrels per day in 2011 to almost 26.6 million barrels per day by 2020, boosting gross domestic product (GDP)   and creating ripple effects throughout the economy…Citigroup analysts say the U.S. will see large gains in oil production from deepwater drilling, while Mexico will begin to reverse recent declines in output. Production of shale gas liquids will increase by 3.8 million barrels per day by 2020. The report says this new production would amount to about 7 percent of additional global production, “a higher growth rate than OPEC can sustain.”

Let me strip away all the Senate verbosity.  The Democrats wanted the Republicans to talk about tax credits.  The Republicans instead planned on talking about everything the Democrats have done to reduce gasoline prices (not a long list).  So the Democrats decided they really wanted to move on to the incredibly pressing issue of postal reform.  Got it? The Hill (3/27/12) reports: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) used a procedural tactic Tuesday to block consideration of a series of amendments to legislation that eliminates tax breaks for the largest oil companies…The bill, authored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), is being debated this week on the Senate floor. A final vote is expected Thursday, according to Senate aides…The Democrat-backed legislation is unlikely to pass, but Republicans backed a procedural motion Monday that enabled floor debate on the measure. The GOP also voted Tuesday to prevent the Senate from moving forward with postal reform legislation in an effort to continue pummeling Democrats over the bill on the floor.

Matt Daly (St. Anselm’s Abbey) is a silly good reporter.  But I think he might be wrong about gasoline prices in the Mid-Continent coming down as a result of Seaway.  The reality is that refiners in the Mid-Continent will simply have their margins come back to earth.  Because right now they are making a killing (is that simple enough, Mr. Waxman?) Journal Star (3/27/12) reports: Pipeline builder Enbridge Inc. is investing nearly $4 billion in a new round of construction to improve the flow of Canadian oil sands crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast and try to beat TransCanada there…The effects may be to raise the demand and prices of Canadian crude and raise the price of gasoline in the Midwest, now under pressure from the glut of North American oil unable to get to Gulf refineries…Enbridge, Canada’s largest transporter of crude, said Tuesday it will expand its Flanagan South Pipeline from Flanagan, Ill., to Cushing, Okla., to a 36-inch diameter line with a capacity of 585,000 barrels per day.

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