Monthly Archives: November 2014

 Oil Import Totals
 Just Don’t Add Up

“Since 2008, almost 10,000 miles of oil pipelines have been constructed in the United States – the equivalent of eight Keystone XL pipelines – and yet our project sits idle, all while the U.S. continues to import over seven million barrels of oil from unstable countries.”

 –Russ Girling, TransCanada president and CEO

Girling’s quote was taken directly from TransCanada’s website ( so there can be no concern about its accuracy. It’s too bad his oil import figures aren’t equally accurate.

According to current EIA statistics, the U.S. imported 9.859 million barrels of crude oil and product a day (mb/d) in 2013. That clearly tops Girling’s claimed figure of 7 mb/d, but then there is that small question of just what is an `unstable’ country.

Within that 9.8 md/b total, EIA said, were imports from:

  • Canada, 3.142 mb/d;
  • Mexico, 919,000 barrels/day; and
  • U.K., 147,000 b/d.

Now sensible minds can disagree about pretty much anything, but I think everyone can agree that Canada, Mexico and the U.K. are not unstable and, in fact, are three of the U.S.’ most trusted energy partners.

Take their imports out of the mix and the 2013 total falls to just 5.651 mb/d—well under Girling’s claimed 7 mb/d.

Beyond those easy three are U.S. imports from Colombia and Venezuela totaling just under 1.2 mb/d. The U.S. has had major political differences with the Venezuelan regime, but that has never intruded into the energy arena.

Take them out of the equation, and the total drops to just 4.456 mb/d.

The Keystone XL pipeline may be justified, but Girling and TransCanada should argue for it on its merits, not through fear-mongering and seemingly intentional misstatements of U.S. energy statistics.

–Dennis Wamsted




A Sober Look
  At Energy Forecasts

I have spent countless hours this year listening to conference presentations and webinars about the utility of the future, with wise heads from every sector of the industry discussing what changes are coming, when they will arrive and what it all means. The talks have been interesting, if not a bit predictable, but they have all missed a central point: No matter how smart the forecaster or how thoughtful the analysis, unforeseen technologies or unexpected events are certain to render them essentially meaningless.

Think that is too harsh an assessment? Well, then, take a tour with me of the Energy Information Administration’s 2004 (yes, I said 2004) Annual Energy Outlook. Before we begin, let me offer a quick caveat: I am a big fan of EIA and its data collection and interpretation work since it is not tied to any side of the debate. This impartiality is vital; you can quibble with the numbers, but at least you don’t have to worry that they are skewed because of who was footing the bill.

Trust me, I don’t normally peruse back issues of EIA’s outlook, but I pulled it up for some other research and the more I read, the more intrigued I became. And as I read, I couldn’t get over the feeling that while the analysis was just 10 years old, it seemed to be talking about a different world than the one we live in today.

Natural Gas Turnaround

Let’s start with this: “The most significant change made in the AEO2004 energy supply projections is in the outlook for natural gas,” EIA wrote. “Domestic natural gas production increases from 19.1 trillion cubic feet in 2002 to 24.1 trillion cubic feet in 2025 in the AEO2004 forecast, an average increase of 1.0 percent per year.”

According to current EIA data, actual U.S. domestic natural gas production topped 24.3 tcf in 2013.

So what happened?

Continue reading A Sober Look
  At Energy Forecasts