As U.S. domestic crude oil begins to flow to Gulf Coast refiners through the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, two polls show strong support for approving construction of northern section.
First, a Harris Interactive poll for the American Petroleum Institute finds that 72% think that it’s in America’s national interest to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
With so much public support, why has the pipeline been delayed for five years? Bloomberg asked respondents that question and came back with an answer: Politics. Sixty-one percent say that the delay is more about the White House avoiding “political problems with environmental groups protesting the decision” than about addressing environmental concerns.
Even though the State Department has concluded that Keystone XL will have little impact on the environment, the White House chooses to listen to anti-energy forces rather than the public.
The wait has gone on long enough. The opportunity is here to create thousands of jobs and get more energy from Canada. The President can give the country a much-needed Christmas gift by approving the Keystone XL pipeline.
You’ve probably heard by now that America is in the midst of an oil and gas boom that’s led to unprecedented energy independence and the creation of millions of jobs. Now it appears, Mexico wants to replicate that success – and in the process open up new opportunities for U.S. companies.
After a bruising battle, Mexico's Congress voted Thursday to open the country’s state-run oil industry to foreign and domestic investors—ending 75 years of government control.
The 353-134 vote will allow the government to give private companies contracts and licenses to explore and drill for oil and gas, deals now prohibited under Mexico’s constitution. The move is expected to generate as much as $20 billion in additional foreign investment a year. Investor’s Business Daily puts the historic reform in perspective:
Mexico's reversal didn't come a moment too soon. Since 2006, its energy production has fallen sharply from underinvestment due to a bad combination of zero foreign investment, which it shut out in 1938, and the state's habit of draining Pemex for cash to finance a third of its own budget.
The low production is evident in its oil exports to the U.S., which have fallen from nearly 2 million barrels of crude a day in 2006 to less than 1 million in 2013. As U.S. oil rigs light up the Gulf of Mexico each night, the crude-rich Mexican side stays as dark as North Korea.
Mexico's 75 years of poor policy created a lost opportunity. Oil had become a smaller and less significant part of its economy even as the technical advances of fracking were making the U.S. and Canada the new Saudi Arabia. But it might be able to catch up, as global demand, according to ExxonMobil's 2014 energy outlook, is forecast to grow 35% by 2040.
U.S. Chamber President and CEO Tom Donohue says that U.S. companies are well positioned to benefit from this market-opening move:
We are going to be able to develop services and competencies in dealing with energy that are transferrable from one country to another. They have some differences in commodities and have their own regulatory systems, but all of it will be in the context of a lot oil, a lot of gas, a lot of coal and a fundamental ability to attract manufacturing, to improve supply chain and to drive the creation of jobs and economic growth.
Energy is just one area that offers great promise for strengthening U.S.-Mexico ties. This week in Washington, D.C., business leaders from the United States and Mexico explored economic opportunities for both countries and identified future priorities for collaboration in areas including infrastructure, regulatory cooperation, customs modernization, and education and workforce development.
“By working together, we can help build a future of shared prosperity, security, and efficiency between the United States and Mexico – a goal worthy of our very best efforts,” Donohue added. “Doing so will allow us to further integrate the North American market and make it more competitive in the global economy.”
Mexico is the second largest global market for the United States. Last year, the two countries exchanged nearly $500 billion in goods trade, equal to $1.35 billion of commerce crossing our shared border daily. That trade supports six million jobs in the U.S., as this new infographic by the U.S.-Mexico Leadership Initiative illustrates. (Click here for more infographics on this important trade relationship.)
Fuel Fix reports that this past weekend, oil began flowing through the Gulf Coast Pipeline, the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline:
TransCanada has begun moving oil into the Keystone XL pipeline’s southern leg, which runs from Oklahoma to the Texas coast, a company spokesman said Monday.
“TransCanada is pleased to confirm that at approximately 10:04 am Central Time on Saturday, December 7, 2013, the company began to inject oil into the Gulf Coast Project pipeline as it moves closer to the start of commercial service,” TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard said in an email.
The pipeline owner will need to fill the newly constructed line before it can begin delivering oil to refineries along the Gulf Coast, including those in Houston. TransCanada plans to fill the new pipeline system with about 3 million barrels of oil in the coming weeks, the company said.
It’s time for the administration to end the five-year delay and approve the northern leg to allow more Canadian and U.S. crude oil to reach U.S. refineries. As Mark Green at Energy Tomorrow writes, we’ve waited long enough:
Opening the Keystone XL’s southern portion underscores the cost of delaying the northern portion – measured in new U.S. jobs, economic stimulus and energy security through a stronger energy partnership with Canada. In the time the administration has been considering whether to grant a cross-border permit for the northern leg – which also would deliver oil from the U.S. Bakken region – the entire project could’ve been built twice by now.
The State Department has concluded that the Keystone XL pipeline would not have a significant impact on the environment and would support thousands of jobs.
As we wait, we miss out on the jobs that would be created as well as the added energy security.
Spend a few minutes watching entrepreneurs networking at a tech event in Los Angeles and you start to pick up on something: the LA startup scene is a bit like a clique.
Look around Cross Campus, an 11,000-square-foot co-working and event space in downtown Santa Monica, and you see small groups of similarly-attired and perfectly coiffed people talking very intently with each other, in a language that’s all their own.
Ask anyone of these would-be CEO’s the secret to making it in this city and they’ll tell you: It’s all about relationships….who you know, who you’d like to know, who can introduce you to the person you’d like to know.
But unlike the nerds, jocks, drama kids, and other common cliques found in American high schools, the 18 LA startups that competed at last week’s Challenge Cup pitch competition have created their own clique of super-smart, yet totally cool, entrepreneurs.
Nevertheless, let’s have a little fun and explore some common high-school yearbook-type superlatives that best describe the competitors at the LA Challenge Cup.
Startup Most Likely to Get Marc Cuban to Bite on Shark Tank
SmartestK12, the winner in the Challenge Cup LA education category, is an online toolkit that helps teachers save time, track student learning in real-time, and take actions to ensure academic growth. The young company, founded by two former LA teachers (including Kevin McFarland, pictured left), has already had some funding success, receiving an undisclosed venture round from UCLA Venture Capital Fund. But if they’re ready to go another round, they should look to Cuban. The father of two young daughters, Cuban recently invested in an online education startup that took off.
Startup Most Likely to Give Delivery Drones a Run for the Money
It was hard for my feeble, non-tech mind to completely understand exactly what GreenwaveLength does, but I do know that it involves looking at nature to come up with new clean energy products, like a wind turbine inspired by the hovering dynamics of bumblebees. And it’s headed up by an actual MIT rocket scientist Sabri Sansoy, which is pretty cool.
Startup Most Likely to Attract the Attention of Sting
Cuipo is a startup with a social mission – to protect and preserve the world’s endangered rainforests in Panama. With revenue from Cuipo-licensed product lines and partnerships, co-founders Tom Murray (pictured right), Gus Hurst and John Oswald (former CEO of Paul Frank) purchase large parcels of rainforest land for transfer to their non-profit foundation, One Meter at a Time, for permanent preservation. Every Cuipo product sold, whether a t-shirt, bracelet or reusable water bottle, saves rainforests.
Startup Most Likely to Make Your Head Hurt
Challenge Cup LA health care category winner Neural Analytics has developed RapidICP, a noninvasive, handheld unit that measures intracranial pressure. This portable, ultrasound device enables doctors to treat traumatic brain injury, subarachnoid hemorrhage patients, and other conditions. The team, which includes Dr. Leo Petrossian and Dan Hanchey, recently won an award from the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, and the opportunity to test their prototype on the International Space Station.
Startup You’d Most Like to Get a Beer With
Rachel Williams founded Wigot Inc. to answer one simple question – What Is Going On Tonight? Wigot is a website and mobile application focused on providing a simple platform to navigate and discover what is going on tonight. Wigot content is sourced and screened to provide users with daily food, drink, and music happenings specific to their desired date and location.
Startup CEO Most Likely to Be Played by Justin Timberlake in a Biopic
With his easy smile, smooth suit, and disarming accent (very slight and German), Causora CEO Kai Buehler (pictured left) could probably sell ice to an Eskimo. Causora, which launched in March, doesn’t sell ice, but it does provide crowdsourced philanthropy. Users donate an amount to their favorite charity and they receive the same amount back as a gift card from socially conscious merchants. For example, if you donate $20 to your favorite charity, you can redeem a $20 gift card with any merchant in Causora's charity network.
The One Who Got Away
I was pretty excited checking out Sabio.la, a developer bootcamp for women and minorities. Alas, the Sabio.la team was a no-show at the December 4 pitch competition.
This week, the Challenge Cup is in New York, December 11, and in Boston, December 18. Get more information on the competing startups at ChallengeCup.1776dc.com
Shale has dominated energy headlines for quite some time now -- and for good reason. It is clear that America's shale energy boom is more than a flash in the plan. It is essential to America's long-term strategy toward greater energy independence. Still not convinced? Watch the documentary, "Deep Down," and learn exactly how hydraulic fracturing (a process pioneered in part by innovative U.S. companies) creates American fuel.