Crude oil prices are down 40% in recent months. There's a surplus of 2 million barrels being pumped each day. Estimates are that demand for oil will fall in 2015.
And yet in the face of all this, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, is holding its oil production steady. So far, the 12 OPEC countries appear willing to absorb huge losses in the hope that plummeting prices will make US. shale oil extraction unprofitable. If it can squeeze out some US producers, OPEC hopes to regain its dominance and force the United States back into foreign oil dependence.
The United States has an effective potential countermove: Congress should lift the 40-year ban on exporting crude oil and keep US producers in the game. [more]
As a House panel met to weigh the impacts of lifting a 40-year old ban on crude oil Thursday, economists called on President Obama to repeal it.
A number of lawmakers in the Senate, including Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Heidi Heitkamp back repealing the ban, and Murkowski has said the president should do it, not Congress.
Economists from the American Council for Capital Formation renewed calls for Obama to lift the ban as production in the US has grown to unprecedented levels, but are also open to congressional action.
Earlier this week, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) introduced legislation to do just that. [more]
The world’s biggest oil companies faced ruin in the summer of 1931. Crude prices had plummeted. Wildcatters were selling oil from the bonanza East Texas field for a nickel a barrel, cheaper than a bowl of chili. On Aug. 17, Governor Ross Sterling declared a state of insurrection in four counties and sent 1,100 National Guard troops to shut down the fields and bring order to the market. A month later the Railroad Commission of Texas handed out strict production quotas.
History is repeating itself, with a twist. The stressed-out giants of today are Saudi Arabia and its fellows in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. The descendants of the 1930s wildcatters are today’s producers of oil from shale, who are driving down the world price of crude by flooding the market with millions of barrels of new oil each day. [more]
Courthouse News Service
Claims that the US government has inadequately protected the extinction-threatened lesser prairie chicken should fly to Tulsa, a federal judge in Washington ruled.
Defenders of Wildlife had gone to Washington in April with its challenge of the government's designation of the bird as "threatened."
The designation allows the states where the bird is found - Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma - to avoid imposing additional regulations on oil and gas development under a "special-rule" exemption of the Endangered Species Act. [more]
Shale Energy Insider
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Republicans released a report, which claims to “uncover the truth behind the science and economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing and exposes the depths of the Obama administration’s war on oil and natural gas development.”
This hydraulic fracturing report is part of a series of investigations the EPW Republicans have been conducting. [more]