David Blackmon, Contributor
I write about public policy issues affecting the oil and gas industry
Fearless Oil & Gas-Related Predictions for 2014
Eagle-Ford-Drilling-Rig-150x150Well, it’s the end of the year 2013, and everyone and his or her brother is busy compiling a Top Ten Something-or-Other (take your pick: movies, songs, celebrity faux pas, football players, baseball players, basketball dunks, Miley Cyrus embarrassments, etc.) list for 2013.
Turns out I’m too lazy to compile my own Top Ten Energy Stories for 2013, because that would require going back through a year’s worth of stories and doing a bunch of time-consuming research. I figured instead I’d compile my own list of Fearless Oil & Gas-Related Predictions for 2014, since I can just make those up off the top of my head, throw ‘em against the wall, and see which, if any of them, stick.
So, here goes nothing:
Prediction #1: Every day during 2014, an earthquake will take place somewhere on the face of the earth. And every day, no matter where the quake occurs, no matter how remote its epicenter happens to be from the nearest oil and gas drill site, an activist will blame it on “Fracking”, and the allegation will be parroted verbatim by multiple media outlets.
Prediction #2: In January, congress will agree to renew the Wind Production Tax Credit, and Grist.org, Salon.com and/or the Huffington Post will publish pieces celebrating the act.
Prediction #3: In December, when congress once again drags its feet in renewing the Wind Production Tax Credit, Grist.org, Salon.com and/or the Huffington Post will publish pieces predicting the world as we know it will come to an end if the credit is not renewed.
Prediction #4: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will make it through another year without making any decision related to allowing hydraulic fracturing in the rich Marcellus Shale that underlies the southwestern third of his state, thus denying property rights to land and mineral owners throughout the region. This is called ‘leadership’.
Prediction #5: President Barack Obama will do his best Andrew Cuomo imitation, and make it through yet another year without rendering a final decision on allowing the northern leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline to be built. Canadian oil sands oil that would otherwise be transported by Keystone XL will continue to make its way to market via rail and other pipelines anyway, so the President’s refusal to act will continue to accomplish nothing of any significance at all.
Prediction #6: Interested stakeholders will engage in a spirited debate throughout 2014 over whether the federal government should finally lift 1970s-era restrictions on the export of U.S. crude oil. At year’s end, congress will have done exactly nothing on the issue, although some loosening of administrative restrictions at the Commerce Department will likely have taken place. No one engaged in the debate will be happy.
Prediction #7: Overall U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide will continue to drop, as natural gas continues to displace coal in the nation’s power generation mix. All of this will happen without having to resort to tying the nation’s hands via a global treaty, and without having to resort to soviet-style command-and-control regulation by the EPA. Anti-fossil fuels activists and EPA bureaucrats will do everything in their power to ignore this happy development for the nation.
Prediction #8: Advances in technology and improvements in well-completion techniques will result in steadily-increasing expected ultimate recovery rates for shale oil and gas wells all over the world during 2014. Advocates of Peak Oil Theory will continue to ignore this enduring reality of the oil and gas business when making their doomsday pronouncements from on high.
Prediction #8-A: “Peak Oil” will not arrive in 2014.
Prediction #9: Colorado will continue to be ‘ground zero’ for anti-Fracking activists throughout 2014. The industry will become more effective at countering their efforts as the year progresses, and oil and gas wells will continue to be drilled in the state.
Prediction #10: Gasoline prices will go up in the spring, as EPA regulations requiring refiners to start making a wide variety of “summer blends” kick in. Anti-oil and gas members of congress will call for hearings on allegations of “price fixing”. Gasoline prices will ease in the fall, as refiners are allowed by EPA regulations to stop making “summer blends”. No members of congress will call for hearings as the prices at the pump go down. (Ok, this one’s too easy, since it happens every year.)
Prediction #11: C- and D-list celebrities desperate for attention will continue to issue really dumb, fact-devoid statements and appear in sophomoric advertisements in opposition to “fracking”. (Ok, this one’s too easy, too, but I had to throw it in.)
Prediction #12: The U.S. oil and gas industry will continue its role in creating and supporting millions of well-paying jobs, creating hundreds of billions of dollars in economic impact, paying billions of dollars in state, local and federal taxes and royalties, and being the main driver of this country’s economy throughout 2014.
Happy New Year, America.
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