Energy

1:00am

Tue April 17, 2012
Business

U.S. Has A Natural Gas Problem: Too Much Of It

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 5:43 am

Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to coax out oil and gas has led to a natural gas boom that the U.S. market is having trouble absorbing.
Orlin Wagner AP

There's a boom in natural gas production in the United States, a boom so big the market is having trouble absorbing it all.

The unusually warm weather this winter is one reason for the excess, since it reduced the need for people to burn gas to heat their homes. A bigger reason, however, is the huge increase in gas production made possible by new methods of coaxing gas out of shale rock formations.

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8:24am

Thu April 12, 2012
U.S.

Where Does America Get Oil? You May Be Surprised

The U.S. now imports far more oil from Canada than from any other country. Persian Gulf imports now account for less than 15 percent of the oil consumed in the U.S. This photo shows the Syncrude oil sands extraction facility near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, in 2009.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Since the Arab oil embargoes of the 1960s and 70s, it's been conventional wisdom to talk about American dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf. But the global oil market has changed dramatically since then.

Today, the U.S. actually gets most of its imported oil from Canada and Latin America.

And many Americans might be surprised to learn that the U.S. now imports roughly the same amount of oil from Africa as it does from the Persian Gulf. African imports were a bit higher in 2010, while Persian Gulf oil accounted for a bit more last year.

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1:14am

Thu April 12, 2012
Energy

Scientists Link Rise In Quakes To Wastewater Wells

Originally published on Fri April 13, 2012 8:22 am

Scientists who watch for earthquakes have discovered a big increase in the number of small quakes in the middle of the country. It's an area that's usually pretty quiet geologically.

The scientists suspect the quakes are caused by wastewater wells. They plan to discuss their findings later this month at a seismology conference, but they've shared the basics with NPR.

Bill Ellsworth, a seismologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, says new technology over the past decade has given scientists a much better feel for when the Earth shakes.

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2:00am

Wed April 11, 2012
NPR Story

Natural Gas Glut Leads To Lower Prices

The U.S. is facing a growing surplus in natural gas. Renee Montagne talks to Amy Myers Jaffe, of the Energy Forum at the Baker Institute at Rice University, about the glut. She expects some consolidation in the industry.

12:04pm

Tue April 10, 2012
The Two-Way

U.S. Coal Exports Soar To 1991 Heights

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 12:05 pm

As U.S. coal consumption has fallen, its exports of coal have risen. Pictured, Midwest Generation's Crawford Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant in Chicago. The city's two coal-fired plants are closing under a deal with city officials and environmental groups.
M. Spencer Green AP

America's reliance on coal to produce electricity has declined by more than 20 percent in recent years — but in 2011, the U.S. exported coal at a rate not seen in 20 years, according to the AP. And much of the new surge in coal exports comes from Asia and Europe.

Here's a rough guide to who's buying America's coal, based on the AP story:

  • South Korea: Up 81 percent to more than 10 million tons.
  • India: Up 65 percent, to 4.5 million tons.
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