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Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel J. Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer and political analyst based in Michigan. His work on matters related to the geopolitical aspects of the global energy sector,…

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Why the GOP is Off the Mark on Energy Policy

Why the GOP is Off the Mark on Energy Policy

The U.S. Energy Department said domestic crude oil production has increased so far this year. By 2014, the department said oil production should be close to the 8 million barrel per day mark, up more than 20 percent from 2012 levels. President Barack Obama said the country was moving away from foreign oil suppliers as domestic oil production reaches historic highs. OPEC, in its monthly report for February, said U.S. oil production reached its highest level since 1987 and accounted for the largest growth of any country outside the cartel last year. Nevertheless, critics of the U.S. president say that's not enough to ensure long-term energy security.

The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reports that U.S. crude oil production in 2012 averaged 6.4 million barrels per day. New technologies used to extract oil from shale plays in states like Texas and North Dakota have led to increases in U.S. oil production. By 2014, the EIA estimates U.S. oil production will reach 7.8 million bpd.

Obama, in his State of the Union address Tuesday, focused on measures meant to address climate change after a year of drought, record-setting temperatures and storms like Hurricane Sandy, which caused significant damage to the eastern U.S. coast last year. Sticking with his "all-of-the-above" energy policy theme, however, he said he'd take steps to ensure drillers can take advantage of U.S. oil and natural gas wealth.

Related article: A Carbon Tax may Curb the Rise in Natural Gas Flaring

"We need to encourage that," he said. "And that’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits."

OPEC, in its monthly report for February, said U.S. oil production has reached levels not seen since 1987. Last year, the United States experienced the largest oil production growth for any country outside the 12-member cartel. For North Dakota, home to the lucrative Bakken oil play, OPEC said November production reached 730,000 bpd, a 44 percent increase from the previous year.

North Dakota Republican Sen. John Hoeven said Obama's policies, however, "will not get us where we need to go." He needs to do more, said Hoeven, to move the country toward energy security. For U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the answer is not with domestic oil production, but with more imports from Canada. "With a stroke of the pen," said Upton, the president could unleash $7 billion in private sector investment by passing the Keystone XL pipeline.

The EIA, in its short-term energy outlook, lowered its forecast for Canadian oil production for 2013. In the United States, meanwhile, onshore oil production surged and the Gulf of Mexico is expected to give up around 1.4 million bpd this year. Meanwhile, crude oil imports for the United States are expected to continue their steady decline because of what the EIA said was "continued substantial increases in domestic crude oil production."

By. Daniel J. Graeber of Oilprice.com




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  • jbutzi on February 14 2013 said:
    Your argument does not support your proposition well. In fact I wonder why you spend so much of the article telling us what has been happening in the US oil markets and arbitrarily connecting Pres. Obama's name to these recent developments as if he had something to do with them. The increases in production came in spite of his policies not because of them. He continues to restrict drilling on Federal lands, increased the time required for permitting and set back drilling in the Gulf dramatically. This may be what some Republicans are upset about. Reversing course on his restrictive policies and passing Keystone XL would help greatly to move us toward energy independence and in the near term reduce our dependence on OPEC oil sources. Seems like a laudable goal. Is it even one Mr. Obama shares? I hope so, and that he can see his way to act in support of it, instead of grandstanding for the gullible for political gain at the cost of genuine progress for our Country.
  • Chris on February 15 2013 said:
    what really needs to happen is a quick and rapid transition away from fossil fuel development entirely. "all of the above" will solve precisely nothing in the long term, it will only increase the difficult, cost and danger of addressing climate change further down the road.

    both parties are addressing the climate change issue, which should be the primary focus of US energy policy, incorrectly. Obama is kicking the can down the road, while the GOP does not recognize that there is, in fact, a road at all.
  • Chris on February 15 2013 said:
    both parties are addressing the climate change issue, which should be the primary focus of US energy policy, incorrectly. Obama is kicking the can down the road, while the GOP does not recognize that there is, in fact, a road at all.

    what really needs to happen is a quick and rapid transition away from fossil fuel development entirely. "all of the above" will solve precisely nothing in the long term, it will only increase the difficulty, cost and danger of addressing climate change as time moves forward.
  • jbutzi on February 15 2013 said:
    Chris - I am not concerned about the global warming related to CO2. Recent studies have shown climate sensitivity to CO2 to be much less than projected previously. Temps have held steady despite ever increasing CO2 for 16 years. This is confirmed by official sources and the MET predicts next few years to continue with no warming!

    A little extra warmth is good for the growing season and the extra CO2 has 'greened' the planet significantly. All things considered, not bad at all!
  • JR on February 23 2013 said:
    Notwithstanding all the areas of newly found oil production for the U.S. no one has mentioned renewable fuels as an alternate. Most scientists believe climate change is real and largely a factor of carbon based fuels. In addition to renewables, the concept of "smart growth," planned community development, should also be looked into.

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