Welcome to Quadrant Online | Login/ Register Cart (0) $0 View Cart
Menu
July 05th 2017 print

Tony Thomas

The Trump Doctrine on Energy

If you go by the mainstream media's lockstep 'coverage' of the US president's first six months, he is no more nor less than a tweeting buffoon. A comforting narrative for cant-addicted newsroom hacks and groupthinkers, it handily avoids any and all mooting of Australia's need to follow his lead

blackout state IIIOur federal and state politicians scuttle about looking for innovative new ways to strangle the Australian energy sector. But across the Pacific, America is unleashing a world-changing energy revolution. The world’s energy fundamentals are in transition. Donald Trump is liberating American coal, gas, oil and nuclear industries from eight years of Obama’s harassment and restrictions.

The consequences for us as a player in energy-export markets are dire. In an officially supportive environment, Australian energy could hold its share – intrinsically, it has  global competitiveness. But politics here involves ‘renewables’ targets and other sacrifices to please the climate gods,  bans  such as Victoria’s on normal and fracked gas exploration, official and green lawfare against every new energy project (think Adani), impromptu Turnbull restrictions on LNG exports, Sargasso seas of red tape, and  on-going fatwas against nuclear proposals.

Domestically, American industry will enjoy cheap energy inputs, while our own industry’s  energy becomes as expensive as anywhere in the world. This disparity will play out in Australian factory closures and capital flight to the US.

A banana republic couldn’t do a better job of destroying its own wealth.

The US is now estimated to have 20% more oil than the Saudis – at USD50 a barrel, a storehouse of USD $13 trillion. The US has been a net energy importer since 1953, but thanks to fracking is now likely to be a net exporter as early as 2020. American LNG could move into net export surplus as early as this year. By 2040, US natural gas exports alone could bring in USD $1.6 trillion, and generate USD $110b in wages. US gas reserves are also enough to meet domestic needs for a century. The American energy revolution – in Trump’s word, “dominance” –  seldom makes the mainstream media here, which is fixated on the schoolyard narrative of Trump as a tweeting buffoon.

Want to know what’s really important? Trump on June 29 addressed the Department of Energy’s “Unleashing Energy” conference in Washington.

His policy announcements were so shattering to the green/left ideology – he talked of “clean, beautiful coal” for example – that his message went almost unreported here. Trump said

The golden era of American energy is now underway.  When it comes to the future of America’s energy needs, we will find it, we will dream it, and we will build it.

American energy will power our ships, our planes and our cities.  American hands will bend the steel and pour the concrete that brings this energy into our homes and that exports this incredible, newfound energy all around the world. And American grit will ensure that what we dream, and what we build, will truly be second to none.

Today, I am proudly announcing six brand-new initiatives to propel this new era of American energy dominance.  

First, we will begin to revive and expand our nuclear energy sector   which produces clean, renewable and emissions-free energy.  A complete review of U.S. nuclear energy policy will help us find new ways to revitalize this crucial energy resource.  [US nuclear plants have been shuttering because of cheap gas and low power demand].

Second, the Department of the Treasury will address barriers to the financing of highly efficient, overseas coal energy plants.  Ukraine already tells us they need millions and millions of metric tons right now.  There are many other places that need it, too.  And we want to sell it to them, and to everyone else all over the globe who need it. [Geo-strategically, US coal and LNG could weaken Russian energy hegemony in Europe. Cheniere Energy  has just delivered the first U.S. cargoes of LNG to Poland and the Netherlands].

Third, my administration has just approved the construction of a new petroleum pipeline to Mexico, which will further boost American energy exports. [This New Burgos Pipeline will deliver up to 180,000 barrels a day. The US is Mexico’s main petroleum supplier.]

Fourth, just today, a major U.S. company, Sempra Energy, signed an agreement to begin negotiations for the sale of more American natural gas to South Korea.

Fifth, the United States Department of Energy is announcing today that it will approve two long-term applications to export additional natural gas from the Lake Charles LNG terminal in Louisiana.  It’s going to be a big deal.  [Currently the US exports LNG only through Sabine Pass, Louisiana, but four other terminals should come on line between 2018 and 2020, competing with Australia, Qatar and Russia].

Finally, to unlock more energy from the 94 percent of offshore land closed to development, we’re opening it up, the right areas. Under the previous administration, so much of our land was closed to development.   – we’re creating a new offshore oil and gas leasing program.  America will be allowed to access the vast energy wealth located right off our shores.  And this is all just the beginning — believe me.

Is Trump merely rhapsodising? No way. His energy track record in his first half-year — again, carefully ignored by Australia’s mainstream media — speaks for itself.

  • The Environmental Protection Agency was ordered to dump Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” designed to bump up household electricity rates by 14%
  • The long-frustrated Keystone pipeline from Alberta to Illinois/Texas got fast-tracked approval
  • Obama’s ban on new coal leasing on federal land was revoked  – these lands involve 40% of US coal production.
  • The US has dumped its Paris Climate commitments, which Trump says will save taxpayers USD3 trillion, and protect 6.5m US industrial jobs. “Maybe we’ll be back into it someday, but it will be on better terms,” he said last week
  • Hundreds of thousands of hours of red-tape energy regulations – including on fracking -  were abolished.

Trump spelt out his energy philosophy. “With [our] incredible resources, my administration will seek not only American energy independence that we’ve been looking for so long, but American energy dominance.

“And we’re going to be an exporter — exporter!” he promised. “We will export American energy all over the world, all around the globe.  These energy exports will create countless jobs for our people, and provide true energy security to our friends, partners, and allies all across the globe.”

Unlocking energy would generate millions of jobs and trillions in wealth, he said.  For over 40 years, America was vulnerable to foreign regimes using energy as an economic weapon. Americans’ quality of life was diminished by the idea that energy resources were scarce.

 Many of us remember the long gas lines and the constant claims that the world was running out of oil and natural gas.    

Americans were told that our nation could only solve this energy crisis by imposing draconian restrictions on energy production.  But we now know that was all a big, beautiful myth.  It was fake.   The truth is that we have near-limitless supplies of energy in our country.  Powered by new innovation and technology, we are now on the cusp of a true energy revolution.

We have nearly 100 years’ worth of natural gas and more than 250 years’ worth of clean, beautiful coal.  We are a top producer of petroleum and the number-one producer of natural gas.  We don’t want to let other countries take away our sovereignty and tell us what to do and how to do it.  That’s not going to happen.  

But this full potential can only be realized when government promotes energy development instead of obstructing it like the Democrats.   We have to get out and do our job better and faster than anybody in the world.  This vast energy wealth does not belong to the government.  It belongs to the people of the United States of America.   Yet, for the past eight years, the federal government imposed massive job-killing barriers to American energy development.

Job-killing [Obama] regulations are being removed. I’m dramatically reducing restrictions on the development of natural gas.  I cancelled the moratorium on a new coal leasing on federal lands.  

We have finally ended the war on coal.  And I am proud to report that Corsa Coal  just opened a brand-new coal mine in the state of Pennsylvania, the first one in many, many, many years

We’re ending intrusive EPA regulations that kill jobs, hurt family farmers and ranchers, and raise the price of energy so quickly and so substantially.

From all this are two take-home messages: in the US, you ain’t seen nothing yet. And for Australia, we can either change tack on energy madness or fall under the wheels of the US juggernaut.

Tony Thomas’s book of essays, “That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print” is available here.

 

Comments [28]

  1. Bushranger71 says:

    See this well-reasoned argument from a ‘Greenie’ that is supportive of clean coal derived energy:

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-02/next-financial-crisis-not-far-away

  2. Bill Martin says:

    This article, particularly the quotations from Trump’s speech, read like an enthusiastic song of praise to sanity. That, of course, makes it an anathema for the insane.

  3. en passant says:

    Trump has set out the winning agenda for any Australian political party that adopts it.

    Do not worry about the screaming trolls and the MacBot sea level rise fakery, just get on with exploiting our wealth while we are still a sovereign nation.

    Oh, and how effective are the violent screaming trolls at winning elections by shouting everyone else down? Just ask Whitlam.

  4. Ian MacDougall says:

    First, we will begin to revive and expand our nuclear energy sector which produces clean, renewable and emissions-free energy.

    Nuclear energy is finite. (We have not got up to controlled fusion, though there are some promising signs. Its fuel would essentially be sea water, and we are not likely to run short of that anytime soon.) But fission fuel is still not ‘renewable’, and is only ‘clean’ if one disregards the problem of how to dispose of the highly radioactive waste.
    Moreover, ‘emissions-free’ only has importance if one concedes that there is a problem with emissions in non-nuclear, conventional coal sources. But Trump as a fully paid-up member of the Ostrich School of Climatology, denies that anyway.

    He obviously needs a new speechwriter or supervisor. From Trump’s point of view, the existing staff leave something to be desired.

    • en passant says:

      Ian,
      how do we dispose of naturally occurring radioactive elements? What makes natural radiation so different from manmade radiation? Sort of like CO2, isn’t it: Natural = good: manmade = bad (apologies to Orwell for using his name to mock you). If you take a trip to the island where the British exploded two nuclear bombs in the 1950′s you will find a plinth marking the spot + teeming bird life and nests.None have two heads when I looked just 8-years after the explosions. The sign also said ‘Restricted Area. No trespassing’ – which amused me as you have to be there to read it Your world is full of fearful hobgoblins that you just cannot keep to yourself. Chernobyl was a disaster, but people began living inside the exclusion zone, just 20-years later. The official report says 64 directly died of the effects of radiation and up to 4,000 over the following 50 years. We are 30 years into that time frame. There must be a rush just about to start …
      Fukushima was a great demonstration of why nuclear power is SAFE. The plant faced the third largest earthquake recorded and a giant tsunami that took out the (badly placed) generators and cooling plant. The subsequent meltdown was contained and the explosions were actually hydrogen gas that ignited. Not one direct death has been attributed to the ‘disaster’. If we take Professor Krause’s analogy about falling refrigerators killing people (stated on Q&A) then we would ban refrigerators.

      faced with a choice of infinite power from nuclear or blowhard unreliable power that will never work as a source of baseload supply I choose nuclear.

      My children or grandchildren will no doubt see Thorium Fusion power in their lifetimes. I do hope they spend some time visiting the green fools in their wind-powered caves so they can see what the world is like for those who desire to see civilisation collapse. I don’t see why the new owners of z would not permit them to do so.

      From Wikipedia:
      “rom Wikipedia: “The Chernobyl Forum predicts that the eventual death toll could reach 4,000 among those exposed to the highest levels of radiation (200,000 emergency workers, 116,000 evacuees and 270,000 residents of the most contaminated areas); this figure is a total causal death toll prediction, combining the deaths of approximately 50 emergency workers who died soon after the accident from acute radiation syndrome, nine children who have died of thyroid cancer and a future predicted total of 3,940 deaths from radiation-induced cancer and leukaemia.”

      • AlanIO says:

        When considering comparison of Chernobyl/Fukishima, Australia and SA in particular should take note. Good supervision has minimised the worries of nuclear energy. With Europe and US developing electric transport, -Volvo?, I am optimistic not pessimistic that humans will survive another 4 million years. – Perhaps with a sustainable population!!! AlanIO

        • Jody says:

          Can you imagine Australian “hoons” and bogans going for silent electric cars? What about their donuts and burn-outs? What of the need for speed; a particularly Australian characteristic. These people will never buy into quiet and sedate!! We have 2 neighbours with hugely loud cars that they roar up our steep hill (way beyond speed limit) every time they leave their properties. One has just purchased a 7litre V8 Holden and we hear it literally ‘fire up’ when he starts it each day. It screams up the street, as does the gutless Audi A4 over the road with after-market exhaust. The Australian police do nothing about this and there seems endless tolerance, but I want to know why the rest of us are held hostage by this behaviour with noise, dangerous driving and infantile behaviour which affects our amenity every day? So, you’ll have a hard time taking these toys away from Australian men.

          • acarroll says:

            Annoying as it is, it’s harmless compared to the social and social engineering programs currently underway.

            Any regulation against those Australian (white) males in this context would be seen as anti-white, and it would be correct.

          • Tezza says:

            Tangential, Jody. Give it a rest.

  5. Doc S says:

    You’re dead right about the almost total lack of reporting on this in the US (and thus the Australian media). A recent media monitoring centre analysis of broadcasting content in one news cycle recorded nearly 350 broadcast minutes on Trump and the Russia investigation – the next was terrorism at less than 15 minutes but every other theme of vital interest to your average American such as healthcare, education, and yes climate change (not forgetting Trump had just withdrawn from the Paris Accords) all got less than five minutes of broadcast time. Its insane. And our media here are not much better. Landmark events like Trump’s DoE address barely rate. Of course Trump realises energy security is the key to prosperity – cheaper and reliable sources of energy will be key to driving the US economy. The Finkel Review encapsulates our government’s view on energy security but is light years away from the American position under Trump (that is happening NOW) and of course not forgetting this all goes against the current climate warming narrative so beloved of the kool-aid drinkers of all political stripes including the Turnbull government. As for the ultimate clean energy – nuclear – well you can just forget about THAT sunshine!

  6. Ken says:

    Trump is playing the media for the suckers that they are. They spend too much time looking for nasty things to say about him and fail to see just what he has already achieved. Thinking people are enjoying the reactions of ” true believers”.

  7. Keith Kennelly says:

    An Aussie PM that dumps renewables and subsidies to renewables, promotes coal and gas would turn around the economy and would be PM for ever.

    Tony Abbott should replaceMalvolmTurnbull right now.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      Tony “the future is coal” Abbott is a shill for you know who. Not even a majority of Liberal pollies will buy the rubbish he tries to flog on behalf of the coal barons.
      Trouble with the rest of it: solar PV with battery storage is now highly competitive with mains electricity based on coal-fed generators (ie that of the Dickensian dinosaurs). There is growing popularity of this even without publicly funded and owned wind generators. So as its popularity grows the burden of paying for the coal-fired power will fall increasingly on the dwindling number of people who remain with it as their sole source of supply, and so their bills can only go up, until the cost of the lot of it falls on the one poor mug left holding the bag at the end.
      Could well be you, Keith.

      In 2013, the PBO [Parliamentary Budget Office] determined that $13 billion could be saved over the forward estimates by abolishing the concessions given to miners.
      In 2014, The Australia Institute calculated that, over a six-year period, state governments in Australia spent $17.6 billion supporting the mineral and fossil fuel industries. Queensland’s assistance was by far the largest of all states, totalling $9.5 billion, followed by Western Australia’s at $6.2 billion.
      This assistance takes many forms. Sometimes it is a direct cash payment. For example, the New South Wales government gave multinational coal companies $10 million in 2009 as an ‘assistance package’. Other times it comes in the form of discounted access to services provided by the state and its businesses – Queensland has provided the coal industry with ‘concessions’ on access to rail services worth over $1 billion between 2012-13 and 2013-14.

      So Keith, if you are going to rabbit on about “subsidies to renewables” I suggest you do it sotto voce, and well sound-baffled: perhaps with your head inside a thick black bag.

      https://theaimn.com/gargantuan-greed-gina-rinehart/#comment-551903

  8. ianl says:

    All circular by now, of course, including the resident trollster’s repetitive, ignorant inanities.

    The only real circuit breaker I can suggest is an accurate and persistent MSM discussion of the actual base load requirements in MWh/GWh (both national and State by State, or even by region) compared to the intermittent wind/solar supply capabilities. Essential services requirements (sewage, supermarket facilities, ATM/credit facilities, transport etc) should also be persistently detailed in actual MWh/GWh numbers.

    But we’ve been waiting for this for over two decades now, so it’s self-evident there is no wish for reality to be inserted into the meeja bubble. The pale lukewarmism of collected empirical data is buried through both deliberate silence and overbearing shouting down (in the case of the BoM, even raw data is edited without acknowledgment), the essential process of catalysed photosynthesis is surreptitiously deemed too hard for the general populace and so never mentioned, the deliberate destruction of our hard-won, civilising power grids is lauded as progress. Clearly, propaganda works. Stephen Hawking’s recent insane outburst should have appalled me, as I have respect for his time/space continuum analyses, but it does no longer; the hysteria is akin to that caused by the AIDS virus because homo sapiens cannot deal with the irrational fears that have emerged from all directions.

    Just as the issue of jihadism is too difficult for bureaucrats/politicians such as ours to resolve, so is this. The mess will just become worse. It is no longer an existential threat. It is reality.

    • Ian MacDougall says:

      ianl (or whatever your real name is):
      Across Australian towns and cities, solar PV is growing, strongly helped along by us cockies in the bush.
      When I last checked a few years ago, it would have cost about $20,000 PER POLE to bring mains electricity to one of our two sub-artesian bores. But our neighbours are setting up PV-driven pumps all over the countryside at a cost of about $2,000 each all up. Intermittency is no problem: the solar-driven bore pumps just keep working away raising water to the storages as long as light falls on the PV units.
      The panels have to be fenced off from curious livestock if they are set up at ground level. And that’s about it.
      The bush is a big market for solar PV, as those stock are useless if they have no water to drink.
      It appears to me that in Australia, the lack of mains electricity for raising water has ‘primed the pump’ (literally) for the rest of it.
      So if you ask me, Trump is a prize galah. (Sorry, galahs.) Coal has a future as a feedstock for chemicals and plastics, but it is no longer economic to build coal-fired power stations: except in countries like Vietnam, where they can sit damn near right on top of coal seams.

  9. RobK says:

    I think Trump is on the right track by developing all forms of economic energy; the best utilization of all resources will occur.

  10. Jody says:

    “All circular by now, of course, including the resident trollster’s repetitive, ignorant inanities”.

    Aw, come on now; don’t talk about Keith that way!!

  11. Keith Kennelly says:

    Talk about circular.

    Jody you really should do something about your comprehension problem.

    Mind you as you are typical managerial class you’d never see yourself as having any of the behavioural defects or the distinct lack of intellect you often exhibit.

    • Jody says:

      Funny when you need to tell somebody with a Master of Arts all about comprehension. Look back at some of your own posts; I swear you were under the influence of something when you wrote those and it wasn’t intelligence.

      • acarroll says:

        Being a genius in Physics doesn’t stop the likes of Stephen Hawking insanely shilling chicken little style about Trump’s removal of America from international wealth redistribution via the climate change hoax.

        As someone stated above, propaganda works, and the “most educated” might be the most vulnerable to its effects.

        • Ian MacDougall says:

          “….international wealth redistribution via the climate change hoax.”
          Pretty perceptive economic thought.
          Now have I got the deal for you acarroll: one harbour bridge in Sydney, on very generous terms. Finance available… to be stumped up by you. But an opportunity that comes along only once in a lifetime.

      • Keith Kennelly says:

        Not funny at all, Jody.

        It simply shows just how dumbed down our education system has become since it has been under the control of you lot of ‘never wrong’ from the managerial class.

        I often make mistakes and I learn by them.

        You never admit to yours. Can that by why you can never seem learn anything?

  12. Doubting Thomas says:

    “Trailer for sale or rent,
    Rooms to rent, 50 cents.”

    H/t the late great Roger Miller

  13. Keith Kennelly says:

    Of course you wouldn’t!