In addendum to my earlier post about this afternoon’s Keystone XL pipeline news from the State Department, President Obama’s own administration just can’t seem to furnish him with enough excellent reasons to quit messing around with the pipeline’s fate and finally sign off on just the sort of infrastructure project he’s always insisting can help spur job creation and create wealth. In just the past few years, the United States’ energy outlook has radically changed as technological innovations (read: fracking) have sparked a shale oil-and-gas boom. While we’re approaching record levels of domestic oil-and-gas production, the industry expanded so quickly that it pretty much leapfrogged the shipping capacity available to transport those products. Companies have increasingly been turning to rail to help get their goods to market, but if we’re going to adequately cope with our rising production levels and continue to take full economic advantage of the boom, we need to start building more pipelines, and soon — as Obama’s Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz helpfully reminded us this week.
The energy boom of the last decade that has boosted oil and gas production in the United States has outpaced the development of critical infrastructure to transport the raw and refined materials, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said on Thursday.
Reflecting on a spate of accidents involving freight trains pulling tank cars full of volatile crude oil in Canada and the United States, Moniz said that infrastructure development was key, even beyond a reconsideration of rail regulations now under way by U.S. authorities.
“The core approach, really, is that our infrastructure needs to build out,” Moniz said in an interview with Reuters Insider.
“Here we have a case, especially with the production in North Dakota, where the Bakken shale (output) zoomed from essentially nothing to past 1 million barrels a day,” he said.
Hmm, that is a pickle. If only there was a pipeline route stretching all the way across the United States, from around the Bakken vicinity in the north to our refineries in the south… Preferably one that has already gone through all of the proper bureaucratic reviews and environmental reports, of course, so that some forward-thinking energy company could get started on construction right away.
One way of getting more crude oil out of the Bakken would be TransCanada Corp’s proposed Keystone pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, expected to have “onramps” to pick up oil in North Dakota.
That is all.