Saturday, December 31, 2011

Energy Notes

The United States Energy Information Administration puts out various energy reports with great graphics Having spent a little time this past year on the high plains I was impressed with the intensity of the Bakken Shale Oil Boom oil-boom-in-western-north-dakota. This graphic shows how rapidly that oil play has developed.

I had also editorialized a bit on gas flaring from Bakken wells wasting-gas-for-short-term-gain. The EIA put out an interesting graphics on gas flaring as well. Note that the first graph shows that gas production exceeds the gas marketed. While the United States does not have a policy that would discourage flaring per se, North Dakota can charge a tax on all gas generated at a well regardless of whether it is marketed or not. North Dakota allows a one year period for flaring and can grant an extension beyond a year for hardship. I do not know much about the details on how this has been implemented, but for gassy wells an incentive to hold back production until infrastructure is in place.

The second graph shows that once the Bakken began rapid development North Dakota's overall non marketed gas peaked at 40% dipped as new pipelines were installed but has begun to lag again going over 35% last year.

The EIA also routinely puts out charts on coal - a subject that has once again become dear to Bellinghamhamsters. (I say once again as Bellingham was once an active coal mining town). As can be seen on the graph exports of coal from Australia, Indonesia and Russia have all increased very significantly over the past decade. Some folks in the United States would like to get in on that coal export action. But as noted in a previous post coal-terminals-in-washington-state the shipping terminal options are limited.

Last a graphic showing a huge energy advantage the the Pacific Northwest has. Greater than 61% of the electric capacity is hydro. The overall hydroelectric generation in the United States is 6%. The result is we have a rather skewered view of energy production. And more recently Washington has added significant wind energy electric generating capacity. Of course our challenge with such a heavy renewable energy portfolio is manging the variableness of that generation.

No comments: