Newsbytes – U.S. Democrats Embrace Shale Boom Ahead of Midterm Elections

From the GWPF and Dr. Benny Peiser

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

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

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54 thoughts on “Newsbytes – U.S. Democrats Embrace Shale Boom Ahead of Midterm Elections

  1. It seems some Democrats remember the old adage, “people talk about a lot of issues but they vote their pocketbooks”.

  2. Those closed coal mines will reopen as the climate cools. Energy independence requires fossils fuels until our transportation system runs on alternative energy sources.
    I will welcome that day since fossil fuels are far too valuable to burn .

  3. You mean the well-being of our economy and national security is driven by politics? say it ain’t so.

  4. latecommer2014

    Keeping a mine in a dormant state is very expensive. That is the alternative to running a mine or closing one down. If you close a sub-surface mine down, the odds are, depending on conditions, it will never re-open. Flooding will kill a mine as will extensive rockfalls. Capital costs are likewise onerous.

  5. Energy companies are cashing in. But, the consumer probably will not. NG prices continue to surge, and the price of refined gasoline is now as dependent upon EPA rules than the base price of crude. In any event, the Democrats who brought us to this impasse now are counting on the low-information voters to fall for their new found love affair with fossil fuels. There’s nothing like an upcoming mid-term election to get a Democrat talking like a Republican.

  6. I’ll believe it when they vote out Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader. Until then it is nothing but talk by a few of them.

  7. The very real possibility of having freezing constituents gett hammered with high electricity bills because Obama’s EPA squeezed coal in the coming 5 years ought to scare the bejeezers out of Democrat pols. The voters will know who to blame if that happens.

  8. immediately followed by…..

    U.S. Democrats Condemn Shale Boom Immediately After Midterm Elections

  9. “lawmakers”? really. How about policy makers? Or trustees?. no no no…. how about hacks?
    They represent a foreign owned corporation, who are nothing but imposter’s who fail to fulfill their duties and obligations.

    And don’t even get me started on fracking.

    Left vs right or democrap vs retardlic whatever, it doesn’t matter, it’s just a two-headed monster.

  10. “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.”

    “They” know what it takes to win an election.
    On the other hand there is a horrible track record of Politicians voting differently than they promised during the campaign. Also we know the the Leader of the Senate currently protects Democrats and his agenda by abusing his power and not even allowing certain issues come to VOTE.
    We cannot depend on politicians that have suddenly decided to support shale growth. We need to get Control of the Senate into the hands of another party.

  11. 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.

    I cannot wait to hear from the Club of Billionaires and the Foundations that control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/30/breaking-senate-report-exposes-the-climate-environmental-movement-as-being-a-cash-machine-controlling-the-epa/

  12. 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.

    It seems to me the phrase “green sensibilities” is an oxymoron.
    /snark

  13. kenin says:
    August 14, 2014 at 1:50 pm
    “lawmakers”? really. How about policy makers? Or trustees?. no no no…. how about hacks?
    They represent a foreign owned corporation, who are nothing but imposter’s who fail to fulfill their duties and obligations.

    And don’t even get me started on fracking.

    Left vs right or democrap vs retardlic whatever, it doesn’t matter, it’s just a two-headed monster.
    ————————————————–
    Absolutely agree.
    Fracking is saving the US.
    Thank goodness for this great technology.
    Now if they’ll just agree to nuclear power we could solve some problems here at home.
    cn

  14. Political science 101; Whatever your(Voters) concerns are, Oh yes those are my concerns(Candidate)..
    Most of todays poll following leaders are Kleptocrats.
    We see plenty of evidence that we are currently ruled (not governed) by fools and bandits.
    As the cost of this kind of government rises, civilization crumbles as trust shrinks.
    Eventually the makers massacre the takers and the cycle begins again.
    Or the takers destroy the makers, steal amongst themselves until they starve.
    Same result the latter just takes longer.
    AKA the rise and fall of civilization.

  15. Oh sure, they say they support it now, but will they actually do anything like try to keep the EPA under control? Will they even speak out against the EPA? Denounce Obama’s climate and energy plans?

    We’re just looking at election-year politicking by a party that’s really behind the 8-ball.

  16. latecommer2014 says:
    August 14, 2014 at 1:15 pm
    Those closed coal mines will reopen as the climate cools. Energy independence requires fossils fuels until our transportation system runs on alternative energy sources.
    I will welcome that day since fossil fuels are far too valuable to burn .

    Fossil fuels are too valuable to burn? How am I going to get to work tomorrow? Should I buy a few barrels of oil and bury them in the backyard for my grandchildren to enjoy?

  17. more soylent green! says:
    August 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Petroleum is chemically very rich, with compounds, taking hundreds of millions of years to form, that can be made into wonderful products. Better that the US run its vehicles on natural gas or LGN, as is common in South America. Some trucks already use LGN.

  18. JP says:
    August 14, 2014 at 1:25 pm
    “Energy companies are cashing in. But, the consumer probably will not. NG prices continue to surge”

    JP you are wrong. Natural gas prices are between $3 and $4 here in the US. Everywhere else in the world, Natural gas cost between $12 and $16. The US natural gas strategy prior to the shale boom was to ship in tankers of LNG from the Middle east. If it wasn’t for the shale boom we all would be paying three to four times as much to heat our homes.

  19. milodonharlani says:
    August 14, 2014 at 2:21 pm
    more soylent green! says:
    August 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Petroleum is chemically very rich, with compounds, taking hundreds of millions of years to form, that can be made into wonderful products. Better that the US run its vehicles on natural gas or LGN, as is common in South America. Some trucks already use LGN.

    You’ve missed the point (and the sarcasm as well). If fossil fuels are so valuable, why aren’t they even more expensive? If we move to alternative fuels in the future, won’t demand be less and the value also be less?

    That last question takes a lot of pondering. How much supply will be left? If we quit burning oil for fuel today or tomorrow, we still have many industrial uses for oil but the supply would far outstrip the demand. Decades or centuries in the future? Depends upon whether we also have alternatives to replace the non-energy uses of oil as well.

  20. Think of how much cheaper it’d be if KXL was up and going and offset the $10+/barrel going to the rail companies.

  21. milodonharlani says:
    August 14, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    more soylent green! says:
    August 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Petroleum is chemically very rich, with compounds, taking hundreds of millions of years to form, that can be made into wonderful products. Better that the US run its vehicles on natural gas or LGN, as is common in South America. Some trucks already use LGN.

    ****************************************************************************************
    Hundreds of millions of years?
    If you put calcium carbonate, iron oxide and water under the pressure and temperature found at the base of earth’s crust what do you get – Petroleum
    Nothing else required. Experimentally proven.

    SteveT

  22. SteveT says:
    August 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Despite Gold’s (& Russians’) intriguing hypothesis that earth makes petroleum abiogenically, most if not all the petroleum actually extracted so far was formed not under the pressure of five to 10 km of crust, but of maybe 10,000 feet (~three km) or less of accumulated ocean sediments, over a long period.

    http://www.petroleum.co.uk/formation

    I am indebted to my friend & former classmate, now a BP VP, for the “rich in chemicals” reference. I’ll grant that maybe tens of millions of years might suffice under the right conditions. The particular mix of chemicals is also of course dependent on formation conditions.

    With insufficient time & pressure, you get kerogen “oil” shale or the bitumen of the oil sands. Even so, bitumen or asphalt is rich in organic compounds, such as saturates (saturated hydrocarbons), naphthene aromatics (partially hydrogenated polycyclic aromatic compounds or PAHs), polar aromatics (high molecular-weight phenols & carboxylic acids) & asphaltenes (high molecular-weight phenols & heterocyclic compounds).

  23. The Republicans should force Democrats to come clean on their climate change/environmental policies in this election instead of remaining silent on it as in the last set.

  24. Bill Illis says:
    August 14, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    The Democrat Senate candidate in Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes, is trying to paint Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as anti-coal because his wife Elaine Chao sits on the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which they claim is funding the War on Coal. She’s shameless. It’s preposterous. No one has a better record on coal than McConnell.

    http://news.yahoo.com/kentucky-democrats-urge-kentucky-coal-association-to-demand-mitch-mcconnell-s-wife-resign-from-group-funding–war-on-coal–183317496.html

    The real War on Coal doesn’t need Bloomberg or Sierra Club funding, since its commander-in-chief & vice commander are Obama & Biden, leading a battalion of Democrat anti-coal warriors in Congress.

  25. If you vote for Democrats, you’re voting for a whole coalition. If your vote helps to elect a Democrat, the Democratic coalition will be served, even if your individual candidate says otherwise. If you help elect a Democrat to the U.S. Senate, you’re voting to have Harry Reid control the Senate agenda. Individuals don’t matter as much as party. Vote Republican, and get these whinging collectivist, anti-corporate, anti-free market politicians out of there.

  26. milodonharlani says,
    Despite Gold’s (& Russians’) intriguing hypothesis that earth makes petroleum abiogenically, most if not all the petroleum actually extracted so far was formed not under the pressure of five to 10 km of crust, but of maybe 10,000 feet (~three km) or less of accumulated ocean sediments, over a long period.
    ==============

    That’s the fossil fable. It keeps the gangsters who claim possession of the planetary hydrocarbon resources enriched. But who invented that story, Milo?
    Why is the history of the fossil hypothesis so cloudy and obscure? Why is it taught throughout the western world (in particular) as if it were science, without any history of the alleged discovery, or any evidence being furnished? When were you ever shown the physical evidence or the history of the debate? (“The capital fact to note is that petroleum was born in the depths of the earth, and it is only there that we must seek its origin.”–Dmitri Ivanovitch Mendeléev, 1877)

    1) Comet Haley is 1/3 abiotic kerogen, better known as “oil shale.”
    2) Titan is blanketed in abiotic hydrocarbon seas. It has hydrocarbon clouds and methane rain.
    3) quote: “Starting materials are often in thermodynamic states of low free energy, simply because compounds with high free energy tend to react spontaneously to give products of lower free energy. Over the long period of the earth, compounds of high free energy have mostly disappeared. Thus, aluminum is very abundant in the earth’s crust but is never [rarely] found in elemental form.” – Principle of Modern Chemistry, 4th Edition. p.729.
    Assuming bio-production via that half-baked just-so story of reduction in the sediments, how do you then explain the defiance of petroleum to spontaneously decay?
    4) Instead of spontaneous degradation and decay into lowly carbonates (e.g. CO2), the fossil fable requires the spontaneous upgrading of biological detritus into highly reduced hydrocarbons (where did the all oxygen go?), and it therefore violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics: http://www.pnas.org/content/99/17/10976.long
    How do get around that little problem?
    5) Petroleum invariably includes diamondoids. Diamdoids aren’t part of biology, and can only be produced at great depths in the mantle, … where petroleum is produced abiotically.☺ There is a paper explaining how diamndoids might be produced hypothetically in living things, but it is pure conjecture, and not supported by any living evidence. It even admits to such in the paper (when you get to the end).
    6) Life has been feasting on petroleum for several billions years, converting hydrocarbons into a versatile array of carbohydrates in a very simple step (just add oxygen), at a fantastic rate, probably out-consuming humans for the best part of the multi-billion year period. In comparison, we just got started less than 200 years ago.
    The earth is infested from pole to pole with gas guzzling organisms. (Methane Devourer Discovered In The Arctic / A chemotrophic ecosystem found beneath Antarctic Ice Shelf). Our planet would be coated in oil, and likely lifeless, were it not so.
    And so, the argument from logistics suggests that (a) if abiotic hydrocarbons were not replenished at a fantastic rate, (b) then there simply would not be any left for us to enjoy.

    I think the fossil fable is an impediment to a deeper appreciation of life:

    http://living-petrol.blogspot.com/ncr

  27. Amazing how all that abiotic hydrocarbon ended up concentrated in those impermeable shales, shales composed of large amounts of fossilized organisms preserved in an anoxic environment.

    Anyone with a bit of understanding of geology can see that fracking has proven the biotic origin of oil and gas once and for all. We are fracking the source rocks, and they are full of oil and gas. The rest of the stratigraphic column is not.

  28. Thanks, Dr. Peiser. Good article. And good discussion.
    I think political winds are much more complex than those swirling in the Earth’s troposphere, with terrific partisan shear. Politicians look like wind socks in it,

  29. Bill Illis says:
    August 14, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    “The Republicans should force Democrats to come clean on their climate change/environmental policies in this election instead of remaining silent on it as in the last set.”

    I’m with Bill Illis on this. Republicans should vociferously harangue Democrats on their position on fossil fuel development and scream about the trillions spent on green smoke and Carbon and get into the fray early. Clearly, it’s time for Republicans to be more ballsy and recognize that the green menace is disintegrating anyway. The risk of alienating a large number of voters by taking a strong stand supporting cheap fossil fuel energy, self sufficiency, reclaiming US dominance in world affairs…. must be approaching zero. The Democrats get it. Don’t for @#$!***& sakes let these guys take the lead on fossil fuel development. It will be the death knell for Republicans if they don’t jump all over this one. Any of you guys out there listening? I’m not American or I’d be phoning every Repub about this.

  30. Just to toss my own opinions on “petrochemical” origins. I think people are falling into the Fallacy of the Excluded Middle. From what I’ve read, there is evidence supporting both origins, based on analysis of the oil. And there is nothing in either theory that excludes the other from also occurring. They take place at considerably different depths, after all.

  31. 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

    This one is perhaps the most significant. Killing your coal industry then importing coal? This is pure self-destructive idiocy fuelled by misanthropic hate and ignorance. In future, governments which destroy their own coal industries for macheivellian reasons disguised as environmentalism will be looked at in the same light as deranged individuals who cut off their own genitals in an act of confused religious contrition.

    USA is in danger – under Obama – of going down the same garden path as Germany, opposing coal, fracking and nuclear to please the greens, then what are you left with – NOTHING. (O I forgot – problem solved – we can fly kites and make all our energy that way :-).

    Its coal or cold. As simple as that.

  32. A Climate Crusader’s Cumeuppance
    Kim Strassel, WSJ, Aug. 15, 2014

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/kim-strassel-a-climate-crusaders-comeuppance-1408057542

    Tom Steyer was going to be a king maker in the Democratic Party with a $50 million (+ $50 Million Match) political war chest to help candidates who toe the Green line. Trouble is the Democrats think holding onto the Senate is more important than expressing opposition to Keystone XL, Fracking, and other energy related jobs.

    Just get them elected for six years, then they can do what they really want.

  33. “JP you are wrong. Natural gas prices are between $3 and $4 here in the US. Everywhere else in the world, Natural gas cost between $12 and $16. The US natural gas strategy prior to the shale boom was to ship in tankers of LNG from the Middle east. If it wasn’t for the shale boom we all would be paying three to four times as much to heat our homes.”

    The demand for NG is soaring globally, and the price of NG here in the US has been rising for over a decade:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2014/02/19/natural-gas-prices-soaring-again/5612471/

    The demand in the US for NG is such that suppliers cannot keep up with demand, and as a consequence, suppliers are unable to build up NG reserves. NG futures are soaring:

    http://www.binarytribune.com/2014/08/14/natural-gas-trading-outlook-prices-soar-on-smaller-than-expected-us-storage-build/

    All of this was predicted when the EPA announced its war on coal. Consumers are having to compete with power companies for a resource that will become short in supply during peak demand periods.

    Personally, I’ve seen my NG price rate almost triple from 3 years ago.

  34. Doug,
    This map shows oil wells and natural seeps in California:

    This map shows the San Andreas fault:

    Faults, as you can see in the remarkable similarity between the maps (!), adequately explain how oil gets to the surface from its point of origin, sometimes getting trapped under impermeable rocks, sometimes soaking into permeable ones. (N.B.,the final oil-extracting position of the drill is in italics.) Regardless of the constraints it meets as it rises up through faults, oil is invariably accompanied by deep earth diamondoids.

    Now petroleum, as you probably know, occasionally spills out through faults into the marine or terrestrial environment, killing anything that gets in the way, preserving low-energy carbonate skeletons as fossils. I present a couple of good examples on my webpage: bryozoans (marine) preserved in Eastonian oil shale (not converted into oil), and a photo of smilodon (terrestrial) preserved in La Brea tar pits (not converted).
    “Source rock” doesn’t mean “fossil.” Fracturing rocks to get at gas doesn’t “prove biological.” (See map of San Andreas fracture)

  35. @ more soylent green! –

    At my first job out of college, we prepared standard samples of the constituent ingredients in concrete and shipped them to test labs all over the world, including at least one in Saudi Arabia.

    We did, indeed, ship sand to Saudi Arabia.

  36. more soylent green! says:
    August 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    “The USA has coal imports? Unbelievable. What next, Saudi Arabia imports sand?”
    No, the next big thing would have to be Washington D.C. imports stupidity.

  37. milodonharlani says:
    August 14, 2014 at 4:38 pm
    SteveT says:
    August 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm
    Despite Gold’s (& Russians’) intriguing hypothesis that earth makes petroleum abiogenically, most if not all the petroleum actually extracted so far was formed not under the pressure of five to 10 km of crust, but of maybe 10,000 feet (~three km) or less of accumulated ocean sediments, over a long period.

    http://www.petroleum.co.uk/formation

    etc.
    *****************************************************************
    I have read previous comments from you on many threads here and taken you for a skeptic from those comments.

    Your assertion that most if not all our petroleum extracted so far WAS formed at maybe 10,000ft has no basis in fact. Where it was found does not prove it was created there.

    The link you provided above is mainly a repetition of “ it has to be biological because that has been the consensus for ever.” There is not a single verifiable fact in sight. Sure, biological material may be found in petroleum, but that says nothing about its origin, merely what it has been in contact with since its creation. Further, the final paragraphs seem to me to have a warmist tinge to them exposing a need to have our fuels limited in volume in order to agree to an agenda.
    As a skeptic myself, the fossil theory is not provable, whereas the pressure/temperature experiment has been done and produced petroleum products.

    If you are interested in looking further the best resource I know of is

    http://www.gasresources.net/

    and it is well worth the time to follow up the topics listed to the right of the main introduction under the PAGES heading, which includes comment on the ‘biological materials in petroleum topic’..
    These articles seem also to exclude the production of the higher petroleum products at the levels where it is currently being recovered e.g. drilling,tar sands, shale etc.

    While I am very skeptical about the “fossil” theory I am keeping my mind open to the possibility of it being true, but have not seen any evidence that it is the source (or likely source) of our fuels.

    As Khwarizmi points out in the post at 6.12pm – where have the hydrocarbons come from in the rest of the solar system? It is worth remembering that our ‘normal’ environment rich in oxygen is not normal in most of the solar system.

    SteveT

  38. Co2 does not endanger anything and the US is headed toward petroleum/energy independence.
    There is only good news here.
    Some crybabies will cry even with a lollipop in their mouths.

  39. Apparently the Saudis are flooding the market with oil because of the lower demand from the US. They won’t decrease production accordingly because they need the revenue to service an ever increasing population which can’t take care of its own upkeep. Prognoses are that in 4 or 5 years time the population’s needs will have overtaken oil income with major civil unrest ahead.

  40. JP on August 15, 2014 at 4:26 am

    The problem is NOT natural gas supply but pipeline capacity. Kind of like Keystone XL. There is lots of “locked in” gas that has no where to go and with current LOW prices, there is no incentive to build more pipeline capacity. The MacKenzie River Delta and environs has lots of gas but no pipeline. All through Western Canada there are locked in gas wells. Only those with high liquids content are useful at present. Lots in the US too. High winter prices are due to lack of pipeline capacity during periods of high demand. Then it drops back. With no sustainable cash flow, who would build a pipeline, especially across a border that does want “fossil” fuel crossing it.

    http://www.eia.gov/dnav/ng/ng_pri_sum_dcu_nus_m.htm

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