Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Department of Energy

Crude Oil Price Plummets, Catching OPEC by Surprise

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, March 9, 2017:

Wednesday’s crude oil price drop caught hedge fund managers, big money investors, day traders, and OPEC by surprise, with the sell-off, the biggest one-day drop in 13 months, continuing into Thursday. The five-percent drop on Wednesday pushed crude oil down to $50 a barrel, with Thursday witnessing a further drop to $49. Early Tuesday morning crude was selling at $54 a barrel.

The sell-off started with the announcement on Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute (API) that

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OPEC’s Influence Wanes as Members Cheat on Production Cuts

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, February 13, 2017:

OPEC’s report on how its members are complying with the production-cut agreement hammered out last fall came out on Monday. As expected, it reported cheating among its members.

Per the November 30 agreement, members allegedly agreed to cut production to 32.5 million bpd (barrels per day) of crude. Iraq, Venezuela, Angola, and Algeria cut their production modestly but less than they agreed, while Nigeria, Libya, and Iran produced more. Because Nigeria and Libya are exempt from the production cuts, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and UAE (United Arab Emirates) were forced to over-comply. The total produced by the cartel in January came in just below the target of 32.5 million bpd at 32.1 bpd.

Accompanying the report was a statement that crude oil price “gains were capped by increased drilling activity in the US.”

Those crude oil prices are likely to continue to drop despite OPEC’s best efforts to force them higher. The headwinds the cartel faces are monumental:

First, U.S. rig counts jumped to 591 last week, the highest since October 23, 2015 and an increase of 114 since the OPEC agreement.

 

Second, the Department of Energy announced it will be reducing the U.S. strategic oil reserve later this month through the sale of 10 million barrels.

 

Third, crude oil inventories jumped by nearly 14 million barrels last week, bringing the stockpile of private oil inventories close to an 80-year record level at 508 million barrels.

 

In addition, U.S. oil and gas companies are raising new money through Wall Street equity offerings at rates not seen since at least the year 2000. In January alone, 13 different offerings raised $6.64 billion. And they are using that new money not only to develop existing oil fields, but to acquire additional reserves through mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Last year, M&A activity totaled $24 billion. For 2017, oil and gas companies have already invested half that much and it’s only February.

All of this illustrates the decreasing influence of OPEC in directing the price of crude oil on the world market. Aside from the cheaters, OPEC is also faced with other forces over which it has no control, mostly in the oil industry of the United States.

Trump’s Regulatory Executive Order: One In, Two Out

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, January 30, 2017:

Official Portrait of President Ronald Reagan

White House officials described President Donald Trump’s Executive Order for “Reducing Government Regulations and Controlling Regulatory Cost” as Trump’s “one in, two out” plan: For every regulation promulgated by a federal agency, that agency must “identify” two existing regulations to be targeted for extinction.

The order also sets a cap of $0 for the cost of new regulations, with the only exceptions being military and national security regulations. The president said when signing the order,

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Trump Names Indiana Senator Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 6, 2017:

Members of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team said Thursday that he has picked Republican Indiana Senator Dan Coats to head the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Coats is a hardliner on Russia but soft on the Second Amendment.

Coats would spearhead changes to make the ODNI more efficient. Created in 2004 to coordinate the information-gathering efforts of 17 separate agencies, the ODNI is currently headed by outgoing director James Clapper (shown, middle).

Clapper was unanimously confirmed for that position in August 2010 by the Senate, but

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Oops! Trump Names Rick Perry as Energy Secretary

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, December 13, 2016:

Governor Rick Perry of Texas speaking at the R...

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry (shown) said that it’s likely his first presidential run ended during a Republican debate in 2011. He ran on a platform of cutting government and when he was asked by a moderator which agencies he would eliminate, Perry responded:

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DOE Ignores Green Complaints, Issues LNG Export Permits

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 29, 2015: 

Prior to last September there was only one port fitted out to export liquefied natural gas to customers abroad: the ConocoPhillips’ Kenai LNG Terminal near Anchorage, Alaska. But when environmentalists got word that Obama’s Department of Energy was about to issue permits allowing two more ports to be built on the Gulf Coast, they rolled out their big guns in protest. Said Kate DeAngelis, an anti-energy, anti-fracking, climate change activist and campaigner for Friends of the Earth:

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Energy Department Approves Six LNG Export Plants; More Coming

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 28, 2015:

On April 14, the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission published a remarkable summary of its recent approvals for private energy companies to build LNG (liquid natural gas) export plants along the East and Gulf Coasts.

What’s remarkable is that for decades the DOE has bought the argument that exporting LNG to customers around the world might jeopardize its supply here in the United States. It also bought the argument that allowing private producers to ship their product overseas would only encourage more fracking here with its claimed attendant but unproven dangers to the environment.

That the DOE is giving approval to LNG export facilities is proof that reality has finally replaced ideology at the agency, at least for the moment. As expected,

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Hybrid Owners Trading Them in for SUVs

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, April 24, 2015:

English: A Tesla Roadster, Reva i and Ford Th!...

A Tesla Roadster, Reva i and Ford Th!nk electric

 

Back before his credibility had been so greatly tarnished along with his confidence in government as a solution to every problem, President Obama made a promise in his 2011 State of the Union speech that realists knew he couldn’t keep: he was going to put one million electric and hybrid vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2015:

With more [government funded] research and [tax credit] incentives, we can break our dependence upon oil … and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

The Department of Energy (DOE) called his proclamation a “key milestone toward dramatically reducing dependence on oil and ensuring that America leads in the growing electric vehicle manufacturing industry.” The agency boasted that already those manufacturers were ramping up to produce more than 1.2 million EVs by 2015, thanks to government subsidies, consumer tax credits, federally funded programs to help cities prepare for the growing demand for EV charging stations, as well as continued and increasing “support” [read: grants and loans] for R and D.

It’s 2015. The manifesto proclaimed from on high in January 2011 has fallen a little short:

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Cachet Fades: Hybrid Owners Trading for SUVs

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 23, 2015: 

 

2004-2008 Toyota Prius photographed in Bethesd...

Toyota Prius

 

Tuesday’s announcement from Edmunds.com, the car-shopping website, that twice as many EV (electric and hybrid) owners are trading in their cars for gas-guzzling SUVs as they were just two years ago shouldn’t have caught anyone by surprise. The math never really made sense, and with gas prices half what they were two years ago, reality is neutering the “cachet” of owning an “environmentally friendly” automobile.

When gas was $4.67 a gallon in October 2012 it would take five years of gasoline savings to make up the difference between a Toyota Camry LE Hybrid ($28,230) and a Toyota Camry LE ($24,460). But with gas prices half that, it now takes more than 10 years to break even.

Not only is market reality disrupting and removing the “cachet,” it is also

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Pressure Building to Repeal Two Laws Keeping Oil and Gas Prices High

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, November 17, 2014:

Senator Lisa Murkowski

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski

Alaskan Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, soon to chair the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, is already setting the table for a serious conversation about getting rid of at least one archaic law dating back to the mid-1970s: the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975.

That law bans the export of crude oil (with some minor exceptions) and could endanger the oil shale boom as a result. Said Murkowski:

The price American drivers pay for gasoline at their local station is linked to the price of oil set by the global market.

 

Exporting U.S. oil to our friends and allies will not raise gasoline prices here at home and should, in fact, help drive down prices.

As the price of crude oil drops, it increases the chances that smaller marginal crude oil producers will be forced to close unless they are allowed to find buyers outside the United States willing to pay more for their product. One of the bottlenecks has already been opened:

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US oil output is up 25 percent from just one year ago

If the increase in US oil output continues to increase by 25% every year, as it did from September 2012 to September 2013, total US output would double every three years. It’s a simple case of mathematics, compound interest, and the Rule of 72.

The main thing working to keep that from happening is

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Belgian Government Shutdown a Lesson for the US?

This article was first published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, October 4th, 2013:

With all the noise and rhetoric over the awful, catastrophic, world-ending US government shutdown, little has been said about the Clinton shutdown and nothing at all about the 589 days Belgium went without a national government in 2010 and 2011.

There’s no chance that the present US “shutdown” will threaten that record.

Belgium is a quirky little country with just 11 million people. Its government, when it has one, is a combination of

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Cost Estimate of Government Regulations Doesn’t Measure the Real Cost

This article initially appeared at The New American on May 21st, 2013:

 

The federal government’s cost is measured not only in taxes paid by citizens, or in borrowing when tax revenues aren’t sufficient, but also must be measured in terms of regulations imposed by government agencies to accomplish what congress can’t or won’t. That’s the core of the argument presented by Clyde Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in his introduction of this year’s “Ten Thousand Commandments 2013.”

For the first time in the 20 years that the institute has been attempting to measure the cost of government agencies’ regulations that cost now exceeds

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Good News About American Energy

Not all the news about our country is bad news. It might take some digging to find it but now and then there’s a nugget in the stream bed. This 211-page report from the Energy Information Administration is more than encouraging. The report is so long that 

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Fisker Automotive, another failed green project using taxpayer funds

Yesterday I wrote about how those cute little “green” cars aren’t so green after all. In passing it noted that Leonardo DiCaprio drives a Fisker Karma, priced at more than $100,000. Today I noted something from USAToday that Consumer Reports had a little trouble with their Fisker Karma while testing it. It broke and they couldn’t fix it.

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America Headed for Energy Independence! Unless…

English: Oil Rig, Cromarty, Scotland

Oil Rig (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just six years ago the US imported 60% of its oil. Today it’s down to 40%, and continuing to decline, according to the Wall Street Journal. It’s really quite amazing what incentive, technology and freedom are able to accomplish.

U.S. crude imports fell 9.2% in October from a year earlier to 8.091 million barrels a day, the lowest amount of imported crude since January 2000, according to U.S. Department of Energy data released today .The data are the latest illustration of how the drilling boom in North Dakota and other states is remaking the U.S. energy picture.

Remaking, indeed. It’s a total restructuring of the world’s economy. In the past the US has been increasingly dependent upon the Middle East and other producers to keep the lights on. And this has had enormous

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Senator Coburn: “The DOD is the ‘Department of Everything'”

What Freedom Looks Like

(Photo credit: Roger Smith)

Following his office’s publishing of his annual “Wastebook” last month, Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has now released another oversight report, this one exploring waste and “non-defense” spending in the Department of Defense (DOD), entitled the “Department of Everything.”

In his “Wastebook” Coburn concluded that “all the outrageous and wasteful contents of this report were made possible by either the action or lack of action of Congress, earning it the well-deserved but unwanted distinction as the biggest waste of taxpayer money in 2012.”  Right behind the Congress, however, is the Department of Defense, which has been spending taxpayer monies on projects, programs and plans not related to the DOD’s primary function: defending the republic.

Although he thinks potential savings could exceed $70 billion over the next ten years if all of his suggestions were implemented, he also says that his report has just skimmed the surface, and savings could be much larger. He stated:

I prepared this report because the American people expect the Pentagon’s $600 billion annual budget to go toward our nation’s defense.

That isn’t happening. Billions of defense dollars are being spent on programs and missions that have little or nothing to do with national security, or are already being performed by other government agencies. Spending more on grocery stores than guns doesn’t make any sense. And using defense dollars to run microbreweries, study Twitter slang, create beef jerky, or examine Star Trek does nothing to defend our nation.

These are actual programs he and his staff uncovered by asking three simple questions:

  1. Does the mission of this program or agency directly relate to the mission of the Department of Defense?
  2. Does another federal agency or government or private entity already provide the services provided by this program or agency?
  3. Could these resources be better targeted towards higher priority defense needs, such as taking care of troops on the front lines or reducing our $16 trillion national debt?

What he and his staff found was merely a smattering, a skimming, a “starting point for reviewing Pentagon spending that is unnecessary, wasteful or simply not related to defense.”  He calls this wasteful spending a “rising tide of the red [ink] menace.” Here is some of what they uncovered:

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The Fiscal Cliff: What Really Needs to Be Done

Piggy Bank

(Photo credit: Images_of_Money)

Now that the national elections are history, attention in Washington is firmly focused on the “fiscal cliff”: the day of reckoning created by the congress during the budget ceiling debate in the summer of 2011. When the Super Committee failed in its mandate to create a plan to address the deficits and the national debt, the result was the misnamed Budget Control Act of 2011 which, in current parlance, kicked the can to December 31, 2012. All that act did was to raise the debt limit immediately by $400 billion, thus averting a government shutdown, while allowing further increases in the debt limit without another congressional confrontation with the White House. The tradeoff was the promise of spending cuts in the future.

That future is now.

If nothing is done, and the economy runs off the so-called fiscal cliff, the impact will be a combination of $7 trillion worth of tax increases and spending cuts over the next decade.

There will be automatic spending cuts of $120 billion annually in both defense and non-defense spending, there will be increases in income and capital gains tax rates, the reestablishment of the so-called “death tax” (the estate tax), 27 million households will now be subject to the “wealth tax” under the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), while those enjoying the payroll tax “holiday” will see their Social Security withholding taxes return to the 6.2% rate from the current temporary 4.2% rate. There would be the confluence of another flurry of other tax increases and spending cuts as well, including 27% cuts to Medicare providers and at least four other tax increases imbedded in Obamacare.

According to the Heritage Foundation, the fiscal cliff will cost families making $70,000 a year more than

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Census Bureau Ignores Slowing Energy and Transportation Sectors

fedex 3-holer

fedex 3-holer (Photo credit: pdx.rollingthunder)

The Associated Press got a sneak preview of the soon-to-be-released Census Bureau’s take on the economy, and were muted in their enthusiasm. On the surface, the numbers looked pretty good: Americans are moving again, more young people are moving away from home, and the precipitous decline in the birth rate is slowing.

Andrew Cherlin, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, was tentative: “We may be seeing the beginning of the American family’s recovery from the Great Recession,” while Richard Freeman, an economist at Harvard, said the data show only a “fragile recovery” from the longest recession since FDR.

The numbers supporting such strained enthusiasm were unimpressive. Just 12 percent of the nation’s population moved to a new home, up from 11.6 percent last year. Even among the most mobile cohort, young adults between 25 and 29, 24.6 percent of them moved to a new residence compared to 24.1 percent a year ago. Such improvements are scarcely statistically significant, but the commentators were trying to see the positives.

Mark Mather, an associate VP at the Population Reference Bureau, was hard-pressed to put a smiley face on 

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Harvard Senior Fellow: Peak Oil Is History

Abu Dhabi skyline

With the publication of his careful study, “Oil: The Next Revolution,” internationally respected economist and senior fellow at Harvard University Leonardo Maugeri has persuasively buried the theory of “peak oil” beneath 75 pages of evidence to the contrary. He wrote:

Contrary to what most people believe, oil supply capacity is growing worldwide at such an unprecedented level that it might outpace consumption. This could lead to a glut of overproduction and a steep dip in oil prices….

After adjusting for risk factors…net additional production capacity by 2020 could be 17.6 mbd [million barrels per day], yielding a world oil production of 110.6 mbd by that date….

This would represent the most significant increase in any decade since the 1980s.

At present total world production of oil is estimated at 73 mbd, and so if Maugeri is correct, that 110 mbd production will be 50 percent higher than today. That will confirm Maugeri’s prediction this “could be a paradigm-shifter for the oil world.”

Maugeri’s credentials are impressive. For 10 years he was the senior economic advisor to

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann