In New Video, Pipeline Worker Shares His Perspective on Energy Infrastructure

The GAIN Coalition’s second video with Keystone XL Pipeline worker Neal Crabtree highlights the necessity of pipeline infrastructure. Crabtree, a pipeline worker affiliated with Pipeliners Local Union 798, has more than 25 years of experience in the field, making him an expert in the infrastructure’s construction and benefits to the nation.

In this video, Neal mentions how integral pipelines are to the transportation of energy across the country. Often politicized by the media, pipelines undergo the strictest of regulations and permitting processes in order to be deemed safe and operational. 

Echoing Neal, the GAIN Coalition urges federal and local lawmakers to support these types of necessary energy projects so that the U.S. can insulate itself from the volatility of global energy markets. By ignoring the safest way to transport energy around the nation, the U.S. will only become more reliant on foreign producers, as well as creating local bottlenecks when supply cannot meet demand fast enough.

Hear more from Neal Crabtree here: GAINNowAmerica Twitter

Banning Energy Exports Will Worsen America’s Energy Crisis

America is in the midst of an unprecedented energy crisis, largely due to policy misfires from the federal government. Rather than change course and allow the American fossil fuels industry to meet consumer demands, President Biden is reportedly considering another harmful action that could exacerbate the problem. According to reports, the Department of Energy may be planning to ban fuel exports, such as gasoline, diesel, and other refined petroleum products – a move that would further disrupt global energy markets and raise prices.

In a huddle with White House pool reporters last month, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese had this to say about a possible ban on gasoline exports: “The president has directed that we have all options on the table, and that will continue to be the case.”

Currently, both America’s refining and pipeline capacities are maxed out, so cutting off markets abroad will lead to an inventory excess of crude oil, and will cause drillers to slash production. Cutting off foreign markets will also further destabilize global energy markets and create inefficiencies in the supply chain by causing shortages in regional markets overseas. As a consequence, this will actually push energy prices higher. This perspective was confirmed by a recent study from the American Council on Capital Formation, which estimated prices would increase by about 15 cents per gallon if an export ban is implemented.

The negative implications of banning petroleum exports were even echoed by a half-dozen Democrat members of Congress. In a recent letter to the White House, they note “we urge you to use discernment in pursuing policies that will address painfully high prices, and avoid policies that may have unintended consequences, such as well-intentioned but misguided calls to curtail crude or petroleum exports.”

This move could clearly have detrimental impacts across the energy supply chain; impacting producers, pipeline operators, refiners, and shippers. Instead, we must greatly increase pipeline and refining capabilities so we can maximize the amount of diesel fuel and gasoline that can be produced. Without increasing both, we will not be able to fully solve the ongoing energy crisis, as crude oil has limited usage until it becomes a refined product. Because of this, it is fair to say that one of the most important factors to lowering gas prices comes from a strong refining sector.

Given the political sensitivities of high gas prices, it is understandable for this administration to want to give the impression that they are working to solve this issue. The first rule in solving a crisis is to “do no more harm.” Yet, with an export ban on refined petroleum products, that is exactly what will happen.

“The SPR is not the president’s personal oil supply” writes Governor Rick Perry in an Op-Ed for Fox News

Former Texas Governor and U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently wrote an opinion piece in Fox News about President Biden’s misuse of the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserves. 

Perry’s piece, titled “Strategic Petroleum Reserve is for emergencies, not Biden’s politics. I know. I’ve had to use it.” highlights the difference between President Biden’s abuse of the SPR to artificially lower gas prices compared to when Perry himself authorized a sale from the reserves. Perry writes, “When Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas and Louisiana, I used my authority as Energy Secretary to loan thousands of barrels from the SPR to compensate for Harvey-caused refinery outages… But there is a key difference between what Biden is doing and what I did.” He then explains how his actions differed from Biden’s, “My Department of Energy coordinated with American producers and refiners to provide temporary aid until they could get back on their feet. Perhaps most importantly, I made sure the SPR was refilled.” 

Another key point from Governor Perry’s op-ed is how rare it is for presidents to tap into the SPR. “Before Biden, U.S. presidents have authorized emergency sales from the SPR only three times – during the first Gulf War, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and to counter supply disruptions from Libya’s civil war.” Perry points out that using the SPR has never been taken lightly and that draining this emergency energy source could put the U.S. in a compromising position for future emergencies.

The root of the problem is that Biden is using this emergency stockpile as his personal political tool to lower gas prices ahead of midterms. Perry writes that gas prices have gone up 59 percent since Biden became president, “That kind of jump has a huge day-to-day impact on Americans and their families, and it’s a big bite out of the family budget when it costs $100 to fill up your tank instead of $60.” Therefore, President Biden “should be” nervous about midterms. Yet, Perry argues this is not a justifiable reason for tapping into emergency reserves. “It is unacceptable for the Biden administration to use our emergency oil reserves as a political tool to temporarily lower gas prices ahead of the election.”

Perry also points out that high gas prices are a problem of this administration’s own making because “Biden has turned off the tap.” and “been hostile to American energy production and infrastructure – shutting down pipeline projects like Keystone XL and layering permitting red tape.” He emphasizes that the Biden administration has turned to short-term solutions to lower energy prices instead of unleashing American-made energy. “Biden has favored buying foreign oil over working with American companies here at home and has chosen short-term solutions, like depleting the SPR or pleading with OPEC, over long-lasting change.” 

The former Governor concludes by saying that the solution for lowering gas prices in the long term is to unleash American energy. “The Biden administration must admit his policies are failing the American people, unleash American energy production, and build the infrastructure our nation needs. Reinvigorating America’s energy sector is the only way to lower Americans’ energy costs for the long run.” 

You can read Governor Perry’s full Fox News op-ed here.

Insufficient Pipeline Infrastructure is Leaving Natural Gas Idle in Texas

A recent Bloomberg article examined the paradox of producing too much natural gas to be able to transport. Earlier this week, natural gas in the Permian Basin was trading between 20 and 70 cents, compared to U.S. futures of $5.20 and European prices of $28. Then, yesterday, West Texas gas prices plunged negative, something that has not happened in over two years. The recent price collapse is more indicative of our country’s shortcomings than its successes. 

This crater is not wholly because of an abundance of resources, but more importantly, a lack of infrastructure to support getting the energy to market and consumers. The irony here is that without the means to transport, natural gas producers will likely need to be flared, or in other words, burning natural gas after it is extracted. So even though the entire world, especially here at home, is in the midst of an energy crisis, producers will need to waste excess gas rather than bring it to market. 

Increasing natural gas and oil production is undoubtedly a good thing, especially as demand over the past year has surpassed pre-pandemic levels. However, without the means to adequately transport these resources due to inadequate pipeline infrastructure, this natural resource will be wasted as it sits unable to be shipped to consumers. 

Energy projects have become increasingly polarizing over the last decade. Lawmakers in D.C. and federal regulators must stop playing politics with energy and remove burdensome regulations that have hamstrung energy developments. If the U.S has prioritized more pipeline projects over the last couple years, West Texas natural gas could be playing a much larger role in helping to alleviate the coming energy crisis in Europe and Asia. 

As prices for heating and electricity skyrocket both abroad and across the country this coming winter, remember that our excess of natural gas from the Permian Basin could be making a huge difference if only decision-makers had supported, developed, and built more pipeline capacity.

GAIN Spokesman Craig Stevens Discusses Energy Security in Two Radio Appearances

GAIN spokesman Craig Stevens was recently invited to join the Chris Berg Show in Fargo, North Dakota, and the The Scott Voorhees Show in Omaha, Nebraska, to discuss the Biden administration’s failed energy policies. 

On the topic of the Administration announcing another significant release from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve and the President’s claim that the U.S. will be producing one million more barrels a day more than when he took office, Stevens said on the Chris Berg Show, “It’s insulting to the American people. On his first day in office, he says, ‘I’m going to stop Keystone XL.’ He has been opposed to the advancement of U.S. energy development, opposed to the advancement of U.S. energy construction. He ran on it!”

That’s not to say the country should not support the development of solar or wind energy, he notes, but right now “we need oil and gas.” Stevens has firsthand knowledge of misguided energy policies. Living in New Hampshire, he says, “My electricity bills will be double this winter. In large part because we can’t get natural gas up here.”

Speaking on The Scott Voorhees Show, Stevens notes that the U.S. is a resource rich country and yet “some folks are forcing us to not extract” these resources from our grounds. On the topic of the skyrocketing energy costs burdening American families, Stevens said that “President Biden tried to mitigate some of this by tapping our Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a reserve that is there for things like hurricanes or embargoes against foreign countries.” 

Voorhees agreed that tapping into the SPR is “a very small band-aid on a very big problem,” especially when the U.S. has the opportunity to be energy independent. With respect to the President’s campaign promises to end the fossil fuel industry, Stevens states, “He has been inhospitable to the industry. If you’re a developer, if you’re a driller, if you’re somebody that has to build a pipeline, you cannot invest in the industry simply because you have no certainty from the U.S. government that they will allow you to progress.”

Regarding the prospects of significant, and expeditious, change taking place if Republicans win in Congress this November, Stevens says “I think most Republicans and most Democrats are supportive of all of the above” but that “we need to find a way to work together to develop our natural resources and actually produce the electricity that we need.”

Stevens hopes that “necessity becomes the mother of commonsense when it comes to U.S. energy policy,” and we certainly hope so too. “The U.S. should very well be a hedge against what [Putin] is doing. We haven’t been, because we’ve diminished our own supply,” he notes. 

To hear more from GAIN spokesman Craig Stevens, listen here: The Chris Berg Show & Vintage Voorhees.

Regulatory Hurdles “Stymieing” Natural Gas Production

In a blog post from earlier this week, the GAIN Coalition highlighted important data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) indicating that U.S natural gas production had reached a new record high in 2021. While the record high production of natural gas is certainly positive, it is not keeping pace with robust consumer demand, particularly ahead of the crucial winter period. One reason for this, according to a recent article from OilPrice.com, is due to misguided federal regulations that are straining our capacity to transport natural gas via pipelines.

The piece forcefully states that regulatory hurdles are “stymieing growth in natural gas production in the Marcellus-Utica basin,” which is the largest gas-producing region in the U.S. This area of deep gas reserves includes parts of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, and has played an integral role in ushering in a new American energy renaissance. As a consequence, the extraction, transportation, and processing of natural gas has been a job creator and has helped redevelop towns that were once considered the “rust belt.”

These benefits, however, are being constrained through burdensome and bureaucratic hurdles from complex permitting at the federal level. The article notes this is causing severe problems in the area, writing “not only is Marcellus-Utica missing the opportunity to export and monetize natural gas in a world scrambling for LNG supply, but it is also unable to provide more natural gas to the regions close to it in New England.”

Ironically, despite the close proximity to one of the most productive gas sites in the country, the Northeast is importing Liquified Natural Gas from foreign producers to power its ability to generate electricity. New England’s predicament is unfortunate, which is why the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America is calling “for permitting reform and regional support to pipeline companies that are ready to build infrastructure,” although they “have seen a lot of projects delayed and tied up in lengthy court battles, which have swelled costs.”

The GAIN Coalition echoes this concern, and continues to call for Congress to pass responsible permitting reform so we can tackle the heart of this problem. More pipeline capacity is needed, and until then, the Northeast will continue to be stuck with high electricity bills – a reality no one wants.

New Data Shows Record U.S. Natural Gas Production in 2021

Despite regulatory headwinds out of Washington towards the fossil fuels industry, American natural gas producers have remained remarkably resilient. Recently released data by the Energy Information Administration shows that the United States set a new record for natural gas production last year, representing a 3.5 increase over the prior year. Though the pandemic hampered demand in 2020, natural gas production this past year beat out the prior record amount set in 2019.

While record natural gas production is undoubtedly a good thing, there are a few underlying developments that raise some concern. For instance, the Gulf of Mexico had traditionally been a strong producer of natural gas, but federal offshore lands in the Gulf only represented about 2 percent of U.S. dry natural gas production last year. This revelation comes amidst President Biden’s continued opposition to expanding exploration and development of resources under the continental shelf.  It is imperative that the Biden administration finalize and implement the next offshore oil and gas leasing Five-Year Program as soon as possible so we can utilize the abundant natural gas resources that exist offshore.

While barriers are clearly evident offshore, there is clear success happening onshore. It is encouraging to see this positive trend in natural gas production, especially in terms of the basins that producers are developing. Texas and Pennsylvania have driven the U.S.’ natural gas growth, and will prove to be vital cogs in the nation’s ability to combat recently volatile energy costs. Both the Permian and Haynesville Basins in Texas, and the Appalachian Basin in Pennsylvania, accounted for 59 percent of gross natural gas withdrawals in 2021.  

The U.S. should be maximizing all possible areas of production, regardless of whether Texas and Pennsylvania have smashed records.

Similarly, if we want to put downward pressure on natural gas prices, which have spiked in large part due to Russia’s invasion into Ukraine, we must also address existing transportation restraints. Although an increase in production is certainly worth celebrating, matching infrastructure and capacity improvements must be built to accommodate such an increase. Pipeline projects have been the victim of excessive litigation that has been wielded to delay or prohibit the much needed infrastructure’s completion. In order to fully maximize the potential of Texas and Pennsylvania, the U.S. must prioritize domestic energy projects that can complement the growth in natural gas production. 

Even with record levels of natural gas production, Americans are still suffering from surging electricity and energy bills. Washington must encourage greater production as a means to have supply reach the obvious consumer demands that exist both here at home, and abroad. So while the GAIN coalition applauds the success of America’s durable natural gas industry, we recognize there is much more work ahead if we truly want to make our country energy secure for the long-term.

OPEC+ Decision Shines a Glaring Spotlight on POTUS’s Failed Energy Policy

Last week, OPEC+ announced it would slash collective oil production by 2 million barrels per day, a decrease equivalent to about 2 percent of global oil production. This cut has exposed the failures of President Biden’s energy strategy – or lack thereof – who has been too willing to outsource American energy production overseas. This strategy has left the U.S. vulnerable to the whims of foreign countries like Saudi Arabia. 

The Biden administration is seemingly aware that they’re to blame for domestic energy prices. Instead of concern for Americans who are struggling to pay their energy bills, the president is more focused on how it will impact his political ambitions. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the administration “implored Saudi officials to wait another month,” to announce the cut. Besides the OPEC meeting, what else is roughly in a month? The midterms. The curtain has been lifted, and Democrats have been exposed for playing politics while Americans struggle to afford gas. Furthermore, the latest reports are that the Administration is turning to Venezuela, considering easing sanctions on the South American nation in order to increase the supply of oil. It seems as if the administration will do anything but facilitate domestic production.   

The Big Picture: If America fully maximized the use of its abundant oil and gas resources, we could become energy independent once again.  The United States should be unleashing our own energy production, not running hat-in-hand to countries like Saudi Arabia. This administration has handcuffed the American energy industry and deepened our nation’s dependence on foreign oil – now we’re seeing the consequences. 

Why it Matters: The administration was quick to claim credit for the gradual decline of gas prices following the record high in June, but now they are deflecting blame  as gas prices surge again across the country. 

Europe’s energy crisis should be a stark warning for the United States and President Biden’s administration. They need look no further for compelling proof that relying on foreign countries for energy is a risk to our national security. 

Yet, President Biden and his administration are still kowtowing to foreign powers and OPEC instead of looking inward and unleashing American energy. America has the resources, we don’t need foreign oil. It’s high-time President Biden, and Democrats support America’s energy sector. 

North Dakota’s Energy Industry is Boosting State Tax Revenue

According to the state Legislative Budget Office, North Dakota is on track to end its budget cycle with record levels of tax revenue from oil and gas companies operating in the state. Budget officials made clear the Roughrider State is in a decidedly strong fiscal position, due in large part to strong tax revenues and sizable federal funding. Governor Burgum and legislative officials reportedly plan to use some of the excess funding to eliminate the state income tax and replace it with a flat tax.

Taxes on oil production are normally a big money-maker for the state, which have brought in over $21 billion between 2011 and 2021. Those revenues supported $8.2 billion for local communities and infrastructure, nearly $1.6 billion for K-12 education, over $1.2 billion for water and flood control projects, $879 million for local transportation projects, $440 million for property tax relief and $29 million for outdoor heritage projects across the state, according to a study examining the tax revenues and expenditures.

Strong tax revenues from oil producers remains true for the current two-year budget period of 2021 – 2023, and inflows are far exceeding initial estimates. The Office calculates North Dakota has generated $1.1 billion in oil tax revenues through August 2022, or roughly 52 percent more than initially forecasted. 

Revenues from oil production, particularly from the western portion of the state, are crucially important to funding programs. For example, with a projection of $3.7 billion in revenues, the state would allocate $500 million to tribal governments, $1.6 billion to constitutional requirements for school funding and employee pensions, $500 million for counties and school districts, and $1.1 billion for the state general fund for tax relief and regular appropriations.

The abundant tax revenues for North Dakota were made possible due to the large-scale capital investments by oil and gas companies throughout the state. Unlike other states blessed with natural resources, state officials have fully embraced the production of these resources. Energy companies create jobs, pay taxes, and ensure Americans near and far have access to affordable energy. Businesses should continue to invest in the oil and natural gas industry and appreciate the reciprocal investment, as evidenced by the Roughrider State.

At Congressional hearing, Bank CEO’s Argue Against Divestment from Fossil Fuels

During a recent House Financial Services Committee hearing on the oversight of the nation’s largest retail depository institutions, numerous members of Congress questioned top banking officials on the current state of the U.S. energy industry. When Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) questioned whether JPMorgan Chase bank would divest from fossil fuel companies, CEO Jamie Dimon responded, saying, “Absolutely not, and that would be the road to hell for America.” 

In recent months, business leaders and other executives have been critical of efforts by federal policymakers in Congress and the Biden administration who want a rushed transition away from fossil fuels. In an April letter to investors, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase noted “energy costs are high not because of price gouging but because of the dramatic decline in investments in energy, which results in reduced supply when demand goes up… we also need immediate approval for additional oil leases and gas pipelines.”

The U.S. economy is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels – and will be for decades into the future. Efforts to hamstring the U.S. oil and gas sector in favor of renewables will only increase energy costs and American dependence on foreign sources of energy. Proper rules, regulations, and government policies are necessary for an effective transition and to curtail CO2 emissions without undermining energy security. 

When asked, “What do you think our country’s near-term energy strategy should be?” by Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), Dimon bluntly states, “we aren’t getting this one right.” Contrary to what many environmental advocacy groups and lawmakers in D.C. would like to believe, investment in the oil and gas complex is actually good for reducing CO2, as high global prices have led foreign nations to turn back to coal

Business leaders are calling out the administration’s ineffective energy policies. Instead of narrowly focusing on one aspect of the sector, advocating for a mix of traditional fuel sources is a necessity now more than ever. America needs to adopt an all-of-the above energy strategy and unleash oil and gas production.