Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The View from Houston: The U.S. Energy Industry Will Lead the U.S. Into a New Era of Prosperity

From a staff editorial in today's Houston Chronicle:

"The term of art widely used to describe today's struggling economy is that it's "facing headwinds."

It's good to be in Houston, where a dynamic energy industry is successfully navigating these headwinds and actually tacking ahead to a future where fairer winds may prevail. The latest example is Exxon Mobil's decision to expand its petrochemical complex in Baytown, creating 10,000 construction jobs and 350 permanent jobs at the plant. This follows similar recent decisions by Chevron Phillips and Dow Chemical to expand at Old Ocean and Freeport in Brazoria County and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast.

The common denominator driving these projects is the abundance of natural gas from shale rock that has dramatically changed the nation's energy picture over the past several years. The availability of cheap natural gas has also made possible the export of liquefied natural gas from domestic gas reserves.

These decisions to push ahead not only reflect positive changes in the natural gas sector, but the kind of boldness and calculated risk-taking for which the oil patch has long been known. As Houstonians, we applaud these choices, not only for the benefits they bring to the regional economy, but for the larger benefit they will bring to a recovering national economy.

It seems clear to us that the energy industry is positioning itself to lead the United States out of economic quagmire and into a new era of prosperity built on the wise use of abundant domestic fuel resources.  The industry deserves support for this bold approach, not the political pillorying it regularly receives."

3 Comments:

At 6/06/2012 10:28 AM, Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

The US govt could help by getting out of the way a bit. In particular in regards to nuclear energy.

There are a number of companies who have designed small, modular reactors that are tiny enough to be used in a CHP (combined heat & power) application. For example, the power plant generated electricity and the waste heat is used to provide steam to provide heat, air-conditioning, energy for chemical processes, etc. CHP raises the thermal efficiency of a power plant by as much as 50 basis points. Normally, that waste heat is just radiated away into the great outdoors.

Toshiba offered their 4s reactor for $0 to Galena, Alaska. Toshiba would make all its money by selling electricity (at a significant discount what the residents are paying now) and steam.

Unfortunately, the project died early in the approval process. The feds require the same staffing requirements as big, complicated, older generation plants. Plus, the approval process can costs in excess of a $100mil.

 
At 6/06/2012 2:16 PM, Blogger JJ Butler said...

Ironically, the industry may be a victim of its own success with the rest of the country being the beneficiaries.

 
At 6/07/2012 2:16 PM, Blogger Mkelley said...

The enviro-left is, of course, trying to prevent all this energy production. Here are the Sierra Club's "goals":

http://www.sierraclub.org/goals/

 

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