Marita: Oil and gas exports—one policy change, many benefits

Greetings!

As is often the case, this week I had to decide between three different story ideas for my column. Al Gore and his suggestion that climate change skeptics be punished certainly had appeal—but many others were addressing that, giving it plenty of coverage. The Obama administration’s federal-lands fracking announcement was also considered—but it made headlines and garnered the ire of Speaker Boehner and therefore didn’t need me to draw attention to the issue. I settled on the under-reported topic that allowed me to tie several stories together as I am fond of doing: Oil and gas exports—one policy change, many benefits (attached and pasted-in-below). I used Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritizker’s WSJ op-ed as my launching point and tied it throughout Oil and gas exports—one policy change, many benefits.

I am pleased with how Oil and gas exports—one policy change, many benefits penciled out (or keyed out). I hope you are too! Please post, pass on, and/or personally enjoy!
Thanks for your interest!

Marita Noon
Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.
PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 8718

Marita: Oil and gas exports—one policy change, many benefits
“Businesses that sell to foreign markets put more people to work in high-quality jobs, offering more Americans the chance to earn a decent wage,” claimed the Obama administration’s Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in a March 18 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) opinion piece.

She makes a strong case for U.S. exports: “jobs in export-intensive industries pay up to 18% more than jobs not related to exports.” Her premise is: “The U.S. economy ended 2014 on the uptick, and exports added to the momentum.” Noticeably absent is any mention of the potential for “high-quality jobs” and economic “uptick” that would come from the export of America’s abundant oil-and-natural gas resources—something an executive order could expedite; something her office could champion.

Pritzker states: “From large enterprises and multinational corporations to small startups and local manufacturers, an increasing number of businesses are realizing that their customer base is no longer around the corner, but around the world. They understand that 95% of the world’s customers live outside the U.S., and to succeed in the 21st century, they must find a way to reach consumers in ever-expanding markets.” Penny, this is especially true for American energy!

Due to the modern technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing—developed and refined within our borders—the U.S. is producing more oil and natural gas than in decades. So much that we are nearly out of places to store it. We know how to produce it safely and cheaply. But, unlike the airplanes Pritkzer’s co-author Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing Co., builds, the oil-and-gas industry is prevented from sending its abundance to “foreign markets”—including our allies in Europe who are dependent on energy from a source that uses it as a weapon against them.

The same day WSJ published Pritzker’s piece, it featured a news story announcing: “some of the world’s biggest oil companies are starting to give up” on “hydraulic fracturing wildcatting in Europe, Russia and China.” This, despite the fact: “Eastern European officials who were eager to wean their nations off of Russian gas welcomed the explorers.” It explains: “Wells in Poland and China can cost up to $25 million each, while American wells on average cost about $5 million”—resulting in overseas costs to produce a barrel of shale oil that are higher than what it can be sold for with the current world-wide low prices.

In trade negotiations, the U.S., according to the New York Times (NYT), “typically argues that countries with excess supplies should export them.” We have excess supplies of both crude oil and natural gas that has driven down prices—resulting in “trouble for an industry that has done much to keep the national economy afloat in recent years.” We “should export them”—but we aren’t.

“Why can’t we export crude oil and natural gas?” you might ask—especially when the U.S. can export refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. The NYT explains: “In 2011, the country pivoted from being the world’s largest importer of petroleum products to becoming one of the leading exporters.” At that point, for the first time in 21 years, refined petroleum became our number one export product—though Pritzker never mentioned that.

The “energy world changed.” But, as NYT points out, exports could soak up the excess production, “but there are still political hurdles.”

For crude oil, the problem is energy policy enacted before the “energy world changed.” Signed into law in 1975, after the 1973 Arab oil embargo shook the U.S. with high oil prices, the goal of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, according to the International Business Times, was “to stifle the impact of future oil embargos by foreign oil producing countries.” The result was a ban on most U.S. oil exports—though some exceptions can be made and the Commerce Department has recently given export licenses to two companies for particular types of oil. The WSJ reports: “Ten companies have applied for similar ruling to export oil.”

For natural gas exports, the problem is two-fold. Exporting natural gas is not prohibited, but it is not encouraged or made easy. In order to export natural gas, it must be converted into Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)—which is done at multibillion-dollar facilities with long lead times for permitting and construction that require purchase contracts to back up financing. Many potential customers for U.S. LNG are non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries. Currently, Breaking Energy (BE) reports, “the Department of Energy (DOE) has issued five final and four conditional approvals for LNG export to non-FTA countries.” The Financial Times says about two dozen U.S. LNG export facilities have been proposed with four “already under construction, which have contracts to back up their financing.” Last month, according to Reuters, looking to reduce dependence on supplies from Russia, Lithuania signed an agreement to purchase LNG from the U.S.’s first export terminal: Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass, which is expected to send its first cargoes by the end of this year.

Fortunately, as I predicted in November, there are fixes in the works that, as energy historian Daniel Yergin said, symbolize “a new era in U.S. energy and U.S. energy relations with the rest of the world.”

In January, Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act to expedite DOE decisions on LNG export applications. It specifically requires a decision on any LNG export application within 45 days after the environmental review document for the project is published. Currently, applications to export natural gas to non-FTA countries require the Secretary of Energy to make a public interest determination which includes a public comment period. Not surprisingly, “environmental groups are lobbying the Obama Administration to veto the bill.” BE states: “The bipartisan bill could garner enough votes to gain a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.”

A month later, Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), along with 14 co-sponsors, introduced a bill to end the crude oil export ban: HR 702. On March 25, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will meet to debate and vote on the bill—though its passage is not as optimistic as the LNG bill. Bloomberg sees that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are weary, fearing “that they’d be blamed if gasoline prices climb after the ban is lifted.” Oil producers support lifting the ban, while refiners oppose it.

In October, David Goldwyn, the State Department’s coordinator for international energy affairs in the first Obama administration, said: “The politics are hard.” He added: “When the economics become overwhelming the politics will shift.” The NYT stated: The telltale sign of a glut will be a collapse in the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price, the principal American oil benchmark, which is currently [October 2014] about $3 below the world Brent price.” It continues, “If the spread cracks open, the economic arguments for free export of domestic crude will probably win the day.”

That day may have come. On March 13, the WSJ editorial board announced: “WTI now trades 20% below the world market price.” Holman Jenkins, who writes the Business World column for the WSJ, says: “Oil producers are already being denied a premium of $12 a barrel by not being allowed to export this oil.” Thomas Tunstall, research director at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute for Economic Development, reported: “Before the rapid increase in U.S. oil and gas production, WTI historically sold at a slight premium to Brent, typically about $1-$3 per barrel.”

“U.S. pump prices are mainly tied to the price of Brent crude, which is freely traded on the world market and is higher than it might otherwise be because of the ban on U.S. exports,” explains the WSJ. “If U.S. producers were allowed to compete globally, prices of Brent and WTI would converge over time, and U.S. gasoline prices would come down, all things being equal.”

Now, the “industry that has done much to keep the national economy afloat” is in trouble. There have been some 74,000 layoffs in the U.S. oil patch since November.

If Congress could muster up the political will to lift the arcane oil export ban, the U.S. could emerge as a major world exporter, which according to the NYT, would result in the “return to a status that helped make the country a great power in the first half of the 20th century.” Yergin adds: “Economically, it means that money that was flowing out of the United States into sovereign wealth funds and treasuries around the world will now stay in the U.S. and be invested in the U.S., creating jobs. It doesn’t change everything, but it certainly provides a new dimension to U.S. influence in the world.”

Pritzker brags that the Commerce Department has “worked with the private sector to help businesses reach customers overseas; … to open new markets for U.S. goods and services; to reform the export-control process; and to overcome barriers to entry.” For U.S. oil-and-gas producers the biggest barrier to reaching customers overseas and opening up new markets is our own energy policy—something the administration and Congress have taken steps to fix. According to Bloomberg, if they knew the public was with them, lawmakers could easily save American jobs and investment, lower gasoline prices, help balance our trade deficit, aid our allies, and increase U.S. influence in the world.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column.

Edgewood Food Pantry & Civitan Clothing Distribution 3/26/15

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Obama’s Administration Racks Up Another

Even Democrats are disgusted … or, seemingly so. Read on and then follow the link at the bottom of this exerpt

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times – Thursday, February 26, 2015

IRS With AttitudeThe IRS’s inspector general confirmed Thursday it is conducting a criminal investigation into how Lois G. Lerner’s emails disappeared, saying it took only two weeks for investigators to find hundreds of tapes the agency’s chief had told Congress were irretrievably destroyed.

Investigators have already scoured 744 backup tapes and gleaned 32,774 unique emails, but just two weeks ago they found an additional 424 tapes that could contain even more Lerner emails, Deputy Inspector General Timothy P. Camus told the House Oversight Committee in a rare late-night hearing meant to look into the status of the investigation.

“There is potential criminal activity,” Mr. Camus said.

He said they have also discovered the hard drives from the IRS’s email servers, but said because the drives are out of synch it’s not clear whether they will be able to recover anything from them.

“To date we have found 32,744 unique emails that were backed up from Lois Lerner’s email box. We are in the process of comparing these emails to what the IRS has already produced to Congress to determine if we did in fact recover any new emails,” Mr. Camus said.

Democrats questioned the independence of Inspector General J. Russell George, who is overseeing the investigation, saying he’s injected politics into his work.

Rep. Gerald Connolly, Virginia Democrat, said Mr. George is refusing to turn documents over to him, prompting a heated reply.

“You’re not entitled to certain documents,” Mr. George said.

“Oh really? We’ll see about that, won’t we,” Mr. Connolly replied, saying that he questioned whether Mr. George could be trusted if he’s refusing to provide documents, yet is in charge of an investigation into whether the IRS stonewalled document requests.

The hearing was the latest chapter in the complex investigation into the IRS’s targeting of tea party groups for special scrutiny.

Several congressional committees are still probing the matter, and both the inspector general and the Justice Department are conducting criminal investigations.

In a 2013 report, the inspector general said the IRS had improperly targeted conservative and tea party groups’ applications for nonprofit status, asking repeated intrusive questions and delaying their applications well beyond a reasonable time. Some of those groups are still waiting, with their applications now pending for years.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican and Oversight Committee chairman, said the ongoing investigations undercut President Obama’s assertion last year that there was no evidence of corruption in the IRS’s targeting.

“I have no idea how the president came to such a definitive conclusion without all the facts,” he said.

The IRS belatedly told Congress it may have lost some of Ms. Lerner’s emails after her computer crashed, and asserted that the backup tapes didn’t exist.

Click here for the complete story

Again: The Most UnReverend Al Sharpton

According to an article in the New York Post, Al Sharpton is not held in high esteem by many people that have experienced Al and his cohorts as they organize to put the NAN logo on everything moving or still.

The article provides both narrative and a video showing the work of James O’Keeth and some of his investigative team, Project Veritas

Here is a partial clip of the “Post,” story and a resource link to the story and the video

Al Sharpton is all about the Benjamins, a daughter of police chokehold victim Eric Garner claims in a bombshell videotape.

Erica Snipes tees off on the reverend as interested primarily in money during a conversation secretly recorded by controversial conservative activist James O’Keefe’s group, Project Veritas.

Here’s the link to the story and the video is included on the article page:

New York Post

Don’t forget to give the Related Stories a look.  You’ll find them below.

woodsEnd Church Food Distribution 2.20.15

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Award Winners — Explanations Provided

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Jason L. Riley: Black, blue and in-between

The problem with or between the black communities and law enforcement agencies has been discussed, one could say, ad infinitum.  One could say such and to some degree be right on target.  The tendency might be for those capable and with the desire to act to forget trying to accomplish anything due to the epithet of racist being hurled in their direction.  We are not talking only of whites, but also of those blacks suffering from the same appellation being plastered on their backs when they do not agree with their black brothers and sisters that the cause of the current sorry state of black crime and black family structure can be laid solely on the treatment by whites and law enforcement.

Jason L Riley is no stranger to black poverty or to what happens in black communities which have suffered from disproportionate criminal acts committed by blacks, and especially black on black crime.

Below you will find a video which runs close to one hour.  The speech from which the video was recorded was presented at Hillsdale College‘s Kirby Center.

Conspiracy Brews 2.14.15

If you like your coffee and your politics flavorful, served with a heaping dose of civility by a diverse group of interesting people from all parts of the political spectrum then you should be joining us every Saturday. Started in 2007 over coffee and lively conversation by a group of concerned friends and neighbors, ‘Conspiracy Brews’ is committed to finding solutions to some of our State’s toughest problems. Our zest for constructive political discourse is only equaled by our belief that the only way forward is to exchange our views in a relaxed and friendly setting. For additional information or to be added to our e-mail list contact: ConspiracyBrews@aol.com.
Conspiracy Brews

“Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.”

Benjamin Franklin
Not your average political discussion group!
February 14, 2015
9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
at
Southwest Secondary Learning Center
10301 Candelaria Rd NE
(northwest corner of Candelaria and Morris)

We think that government should be open and honest at all times.
People from all political parties are welcome.
*** Quotes of the Week ***
“Truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.”

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“A sailor without a destination cannot hope for a favorable wind.”
Leon Tec M.D.

Suggested Topics

— Do you go to government for your soul (individuals or corporations) ?
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/eric-scheiner/rep-cummings-people-come-government-feed-their-souls

— Sexual harassment in AFD… will the Major handle this charge better than APD?

— What do you think of the Albuquerque Epicenter for Entrepreneurs?
http://www.abqjournal.com/539681/biz/biz-most-recent/entrepreneur-epicenter-to-open-downtown.html
(Light Quotes of the week)
“The greatest justice in life is that your vision and looks tend to go simultaneously.”

Kevin Bacon

“I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.”

Mark Twain

“There’s an old saying about those who forget history. I don’t remember it but it’s good.”

Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, March 10, 2008

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“He,” hangs out with the strangest women and men

We are talking about our stellar president.  You know, the one with great difficulty in finding a tongue to say, “Islamic Jihadist,” or anything similar.

He has now opened up his home and our White House, to people proven to be those words.  The Clarion has the story that he and his minions would not admit to.

Right here to start:

US President Barack Obama, privately met with 14 Muslim leaders, including several leaders of Muslim Brotherhood front groups with ties to Hamas.

By Elliot Friedland

Sun, February 8, 2015

The White House has released the names of senior American Muslim leaders that President Obama met with personally last week. The list of names was included on the transcript of the White House daily press briefing on Thursday, despite journalists having requested the information much sooner. Prior to that, the White House had refused to name the leaders.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with the President meeting with representatives from any faith community and with the Muslim community in particular. Yet some of the individuals who met with the President have alarming links to the Muslim Brotherhood and organizations that have funded terrorism.

Azhar Azeez represented the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in the talks with Obama. Declassified FBI documents show that ISNA was identified as a Muslim Brotherhood front group as early as 1987 and its past leaders include Abdurrahman Alamoudi, who was convicted on terrorism related charges in 2004 …

Follow this link for more

Editor: Shamefully there is so much more to demonstrate how Obama throws caution to the wind and slaps American citizens across their face with with people who either are themselves terrible murderers … or lay with sadists who are.