Bingaman: Defense bill resolves Canadian oil sands issue

Nick Snow
Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, June 12 -- The US Senate's Democratic energy leader does not expect a provision of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) to restrict sales of oil produced from Canadian oil sands to US refiners, he told a Canadian-US business conference on June 11.

Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), who chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said on May 22 the US House adopted a clarifying amendment offered by Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) to the fiscal 2009 Department of Defense budget which establishes that the controversial Section 526 of EISA 2007 does not apply to already available fuels.

Section 526 bars federal agencies from buying alternative or synthetic fuels that produce more greenhouse gases than conventional fuels (OGJ Online, Apr. 29, 2007).

While he said he did not presume to speak for Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who promoted the provision's addition to the 2007 energy bill, Bingaman said that he understood Waxman intended it to keep the federal government from using its substantial purchasing power to promote development of alternative fuels with more greenhouse gases than current conventional resources.

"Producing oil from oil sands is not a new technology," Bingaman observed, adding that he hopes the Senate will consider adopting a similar amendment as it considers its own DOD appropriations bill.

He said a broader discussion of oil sands' carbon footprint will be needed even though the Section 526 question could be resolved soon. "Canada's oil exports to the United States will increasingly require US exports of lighter hydrocarbons to Canada so heavier oil which is produced there can be diluted," Bingaman said.

'Abbreviated' debate
The Senate's global climate change debate a week earlier was "very abbreviated" because it was restricted to two procedural votes, he continued. Bingaman said that he was disappointed it did not go farther because a robust cap-and-trade program with emissions allowances would force the US industrial base to reconfigure its operations.

Democrats decided not to begin a fuller debate because they expected the Bush administration to veto any climate change bill they produced, he said. "One problem is that nearly half of Congress has signed pledges in granite, as part of a political ritual, not to increase taxes," he said during a breakfast address to the Canadian American Business Council's annual meeting.

The next administration and Congress have their best chance to make significant climate policy changes in their first 2 years, he indicated. "My hope is that the new president, whether it's Sen. [Barack] Obama or Sen. [John] McCain, will take ownership of this issue and propose something to Congress. That would provide a good starting point," Bingaman said.

Canada and the US face similar natural gas challenges because their easier onshore reserves have been developed and are rapidly declining, their governments are facing growing pressure from surface land owners in split-estate situations, and development of their major stranded gas resources will require major pipeline investments, he said.

Both countries also need to address the need for pipelines and other basic energy facilities, according to Bingaman. "Prices for constructing pipelines are rising around the world because of higher steel costs, particularly for specialty grades used over long distances and at greater depths," he said. The manufacturing base for specialized components needs to grow, and retiring energy professionals need to be replaced, he added.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

Related Articles

Senators’ bill aims to curb flaring by expediting permit process

02/09/2015 North Dakota and Wyoming’s US senators introduced legislation that aims to capture methane and reduce flaring by expediting procedures for obtainin...

USW union workers add two BP refineries to strike list

02/09/2015 Union workers at two BP PLC-owned refineries in Indiana and Ohio have joined the United Steelworkers union’s (USW) unfair labor practice (ULP) stri...

Association presidents want more access in next 5-year OCS plan

02/09/2015 The presidents of three major US oil and gas trade associations urged the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to keep more of the US Outer Contine...

Watching Government: EPA's ozone proposal

02/09/2015 Witnesses from the US oil and gas industry and other businesses strongly spoke out on Jan. 29 against the US Environmental Protection Agency's prop...

BOEM schedules public meetings about draft proposed 5-year OCS plan

02/06/2015 The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will hold the first of 20 public meetings in Washington on Feb. 9 to receive public comments on potential ...

Union strike ongoing at US refineries as negotiations continue

02/06/2015 A strike by union workers at nine US refining and petrochemical production plants remains under way as the United Steelworkers Union (USW) continue...

The budget vision

02/06/2015 Just because the budget proposed for fiscal 2016 by President Barack Obama mimics six predecessors in its treatment of oil and gas and again has no...

AOPL releases 2015 safety performance and strategic planning report

02/06/2015 The Association of Oil Pipe Lines is committed to further improvements despite a 99.99% safe petroleum liquids delivery rate, AOPL Pres. and Chief ...

Congressional Republicans renew bid to halt sue-and-settle maneuvers

02/05/2015 Calling it an affront to regulatory accountability that results in unchecked compliance burdens, US Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and US Rep. D...
White Papers

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by

Squeezing the Green: How to Cut Petroleum Downstream Costs and Optimize Processing Efficiencies with Enterprise Project Portfolio Management Solutions

As the downstream petroleum industry grapples with change in every sector and at every level, includin...
Sponsored by

7 Steps to Improve Oil & Gas Asset Decommissioning

Global competition and volatile markets are creating a challenging business climate for project based ...
Sponsored by

The impact of aging infrastructure in process manufacturing industries

Process manufacturing companies in the oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and natural resource industri...
Sponsored by

What is System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis?

This paper will explain some of the fundamentals of System Level Thermo-Fluid Analysis and demonstrate...
Available Webcasts


Cognitive Solutions for Upstream Oil and Gas

When Fri, Jun 12, 2015

The oil & gas sector is under pressure on all sides. Reserves are limited and it’s becoming increasingly expensive to find and extract new resources. Margins are already being squeezed in an industry where one wrong decision can cost millions. Analyzing data used in energy exploration can save millions of dollars as we develop ways to predict where and how to extract the world’s massive energy reserves.

This session with IBM Subject Matter Experts will discuss how IBM Cognitive Solutions contribute to the oil and gas industry using predictive analytics and cognitive computing, as well as real time streaming for exploration and drilling.

register:WEBCAST


The Alternative Fuel Movement: Four Need-to-Know Excise Tax Complexities

When Thu, Jun 4, 2015

Discussion on how to approach, and ultimately embrace, the alternative fuel market by pulling back the veil on excise tax complexities. Taxes may be an aggravating part of daily operations, but their accuracy is crucial in your path towards business success.

register:WEBCAST



On Demand

Prevention, Detection and Mitigation of pipeline leaks in the modern world

Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Preventing, detecting and mitigating leaks or commodity releases from pipelines are a top priority for all pipeline companies. This presentation will look at various aspects related to preventing, detecting and mitigating pipeline commodity releases from a generic and conceptual point of view, while at the same time look at the variety of offerings available from Schneider Electric to meet some of the requirements associated with pipeline integrity management. 

register:WEBCAST


Global LNG: Adjusting to New Realities

Fri, Mar 20, 2015

Oil & Gas Journal’s March 20, 2015, webcast will look at how global LNG trade will be affected over the next 12-24 months by falling crude oil prices and changing patterns and pressures of demand. Will US LNG production play a role in balancing markets? Or will it add to a growing global oversupply of LNG for markets remote from easier natural gas supply? Will new buyers with marginal credit, smaller requirements, or great need for flexibility begin to look attractive to suppliers? How will high-cost, mega-projects in Australia respond to new construction cost trends?

register:WEBCAST


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!

 

Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected