Liquid Fuels

Twenty-two state legislators from throughout the country gathered in New Orleans, Louisiana from Oct. 14-16, 2015, for a third annual CSG-led Natural Gas Policy Academy. Many of the attendees serve on energy and/or natural resources committees in their home states.

The policy academy covered a variety of key topics including an overview of the natural gas industry, safety standards, infrastructure and safety, exporting liquid natural gas, jobs and manufacturing, natural gas vehicles, and regulatory issues. Attendees...

CSG South

In July 2008, the price of oil per barrel reached an astronomical $147, and the price of gasoline in several states exceeded $5 per gallon; just six months earlier in January 2008, the price per barrel had hovered around $90. Fast forward to the end of 2008, and the price had plunged to under $35 a barrel, when the United States and world economies were in the throes of the Great Recession, the worst economic downturn to sweep over the globe since the Great Depression. Reviewing the price per barrel in the last six months reveals similar trends: in June 2014, oil was around $115 per barrel and six months later, in early January 2015, it had dropped precipitously to below $50 per barrel. Interestingly, the four years with the highest average crude oil prices since the 1860s were 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013; hence, the steep drop in oil prices is not a “new normal” but a return to more historic price levels. This SLC Regional Resource describes recent trends in oil prices, the reasons for their fluctuations, and the affect they have on individual states and industries in the region.

This act creates tax incentives to encourage the collection and use of natural gas that would otherwise be flared. The act: Expands a sales tax exemption to include tangible personal property used to construct or expand gas collection systems; creates a gross production tax exemption for certain gas collected and used at the well site; and creates an oil extraction tax exemption for the liquids produced in association with a collection system.

The U.S. in 2015 will chair the eight-nation Arctic Council. The WESTRENDS Board, a program of CSG West that looks at trends affecting the region, provided an opportunity for attendees to learn what the Arctic means for the West and about state and local perspectives in Arctic policy decision-making.

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During the last year, residents of neighborhoods in Chicago and Detroit have had to deal with growing piles of petroleum coke, or petcoke. These piles were often left uncovered, allowing winds to disperse black dust into surrounding communities and nearby waterways.
CSG Midwest logo

Minnesota’s legislative year began by tackling a problem few could have predicted only months earlier — a spike in the cost of propane and its impact on people (mostly in rural areas) who use it to heat their homes. Across the Midwest, the propane shortage has led to a spate of state legislation, gubernatorial-declared energy emergencies and executive orders.

Yesterday, the North Dakota Petroleum Council introduced a new proposal to the North Dakota Industrial Council committing the industry to capture 85 percent of the natural gas flared at wellheads within two years. Within six years, the Association committed to capturing 90 percent and upwards of 95 percent should regulatory agencies, the Legislature, and state and tribal stakeholders come on board.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced yesterday that propane inventories in the Midwest dropped more than 2 million barrels in November 2013 - the largest such drop for the feedstock in a single month since 1993. The agency noted that continued frigid temperatures, low inventories going into winter, and a late harvest in the Midwest have led to sharp increases in spot market prices.

CSG Midwest logo

Energy production in North Dakota and Alberta continues to grow, and producers are counting on railroads to help them get crude oil to market. Much of this oil comes to or through the Midwest. The dangers of shipping oil by rail were most recently demonstrated when two trains collided near Fargo, N.D., on Dec. 30, leading to a derailment. Explosions and fire in at least 10 oil-carrying cars followed, and the town of Casselton had to be evacuated.

CSG Director of Energy and Environmental Policy Brydon Ross outlines the top five issues for 2014, including upcoming Clean Air state implementation plans, EPA cooling water intake regulations, increased scrutiny on crude oil transportation safety, potential rate and policy disputes involving net metering, and lingering impacts that drought may pose for states and water infrastructure.