U.S. Democrats Embrace Shale Boom Ahead of Midterm Elections World Awash In Oil Shields Markets From 2008 Price Shock
The US shale boom is shaping a new kind of Democrat in national politics, lawmakers who are giving greater support to the oil and gas industry even at the risk of alienating environmental groups, a core of the party's base. The trend comes as oil-and-gas production moves beyond America's traditionally energy-rich states, a development that also is increasing U.S. geopolitical influence abroad. It is a theme playing out ahead of November's midterm elections, with some Democrats trying to balance environmental groups' concerns about climate change and an industry they see as carrying economic benefits. --Amy Harder, The Wall Street Journal, 12 August 2014
In the run-up to this fall’s midterm elections, Democrats seem to be stifling some of their green sensibilities and embracing the recent U.S. energy revolution. Fracking has completely transformed the American energy landscape in just a few short years, and environmentalists, a key component of the Democratic base, aren’t happy. Fracking is opening up new oil and gas plays all across the country, and Democrats who previously might have vocally criticized fossil fuel production are finding plenty of reasons to hop on the shale bandwagon. Stay tuned; this is a narrative to watch during this year’s midterms. Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest, 12 August 2014
My Take - For the greenies among my readers - Don't worry - After the election they'll re-discover their "green credentials"!
Fighting across Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and Gaza, and an accelerating economy, should mean higher oil prices. Yet crude is falling. Six years ago, oil soared to a record $147 a barrel as tension mounted over Iran’s nuclear program and the world economy had just seen the strongest period of sustained growth since the 1970s. Now, West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark price, has traded below $100 for 10 days and Brent, the European equivalent, tumbled to a 13-month low yesterday. What’s changed is the shale fracking boom. The U.S. is pumping the most oil in 27 years, adding more than 3 million barrels of daily supply since 2008. --Lynn Doan, Grant Smith and Moming Zhou, Bloomberg, 13 August 2014
Coal imports to the U.S. are rising sharply even as coal mines close throughout Central Appalachia. A big reason: price. Total U.S. coal consumption is expected to increase 3% to 862 million tons this year. The expected rise reflects frigid weather earlier this year, which boosted demand at all power plants, including those relying on coal. --John Miller and Cassandra Sweet, The Wall Street Journal, 13 August 2014
Energy companies are taking their controversial fracking operations from the land to the sea — to deep waters off the U.S., South American and African coasts. Offshore fracking is a part of a broader industrywide strategy to make billion-dollar deep-sea developments pay off. The practice has been around for two decades yet only in the past few years have advances in technology and vast offshore discoveries combined to make large scale fracking feasible. Fracking in the Gulf of Mexico is expected to grow by more than 10 percent over a two year period ending in 2015. --David Wethe, Bloomberg, 7 August 2014