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Dedicated to where the energy geosciences, public policy, politics, and business meet—both in the United States and abroad.

Energy Policy Blog

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released an analysis of technologies available to cut water use in hydraulic fracturing and thermoelectric power plant cooling to identify how water-scarce areas of the country could benefit from these technologies (GAO-15-545). Perhaps of special interest to readers is the GAO analysis of waterless or low-water stimulation fluids, although GAO concludes they are either unproven or applicable to only a few geologic formations. Thermoelectric plant cooling, represents 38 percent of U.S. water withdrawals. However, natural gas produced using hydraulic fracturing and natural gas combined cycle power generation reduces water use in power generation by up to 60% relative to coal and nuclear plants.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Energy Policy Blog

Wind power generation is growing rapidly. However, new installations have lagged since the initial expiration of the production tax credit in 2012 and the revised expiration in 2014. The EPA Clean Power Plan (CPP) will boost wind energy. Growing wind generation requires more than installing a wind turbine; it also requires building new transmissions lines to move power from rural generating areas to population centers that need the power. Wind energy also requires that system operators have sufficient reserve generating capacity, usually from hydro or natural gas, for use when the wind is not blowing—luckily, natural gas generation has grown 27 percent in the past six years.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Energy Policy Blog

Prior to the August recess, the House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to discuss the status of applications for geological and geophysical (G&G) permits to perform updated seismic surveys in the Atlantic.  The purpose of the hearing was to put pressure on the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to move the process forward in order to provide critical information for its 2017-2022 outer continental shelf (OCS) plan.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Energy Policy Blog

Congress established a Federal Helium Reserve in 1925 to assure supplies of the non-explosive gas for use in military blimps and dirigibles. In 1996, faced with an expensive and unnecessary facility, Congress passed the Helium Privatization Act to sell down the gas supply and close the facility. That legislation lead to over consumption and a lack of commercial interest in helium production that the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013 was intended to correct so that the reserve could be closed. Now Congress is investigating whether additional legislation is needed to assure fair competition in the sale and refining of helium.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Energy Policy Blog

As key Senators continue their push for energy exports, Senator Barrasso (R-WY) recently held Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing to discuss the economic and geopolitical benefits of exporting domestic crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Energy Policy Blog

The Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, chaired by Representative Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) recently held a hearing that investigated the environmental risks and economic benefits of Alaska offshore Arctic drilling. Two of the new Arctic offshore regulations attracted the most controversy: the requirement for a standby rig in case of a blowout, and the shortened drilling season. This hearing comes at the same time as Shell mobilizes its equipment for drilling in the Chukchi Sea later this summer. Groups opposed to Arctic drilling recently protested the Polar Pioneer drilling rig’s departure from the Port of Seattle.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Energy Policy Blog

Last week, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on 42 legislative proposals that are geared toward promoting accountability and reform in current U.S. energy policies. The hearing touched on a broad array of topics, including energy exports, state versus federal authority in energy development, reliability of the electric grid, cybersecurity, as well as reform of federal programs such as the Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan guarantee program and the mission of DOE’s National Labs.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Energy Policy Blog

As part of Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) efforts to craft comprehensive energy legislation, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee recently held a hearing to discuss 26 bills that would expand energy supplies. 

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Energy Policy Blog

Seismic surveys are common in the Gulf of Mexico and around the globe. However, some elected officials, concerned local citizens and national environmental organizations are voicing their opposition to seismic in the Atlantic outer continental shelf (OCS). This opposition may be based on concern that the sound generated by airguns will disturb marine mammals or that seismic surveys will facilitate oil and gas development that will negatively affect peoples’ livelihood or damage the environment.

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American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)
Energy Policy Blog

In late March, the Department of Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its long awaited final rule on hydraulic fracturing on public lands.

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

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