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News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.forbes.com

Despite recent increases in oil and gas activity, some doubt that employment in the sector will ever reach the highs of 2014 again. Producers have been cutting costs and increasing productivity, partly thanks to an increased deployment of technology. Does this technological progress mean that some of the jobs lost in the sector over the last two years will not come back, even if high oil prices do? Fears that technological progress might eliminate jobs are nothing new. While technology increases productivity and makes society wealthier, these gains aren’t always equally shared. For some, it can be difficult to switch careers, and new jobs might not pay as well as the old ones. But the story of technological progress in the U.S. oil and gas industry is a hopeful one. Technology has had a record of creating jobs, not destroying them. Today, lackluster hiring is due to cyclical pressures, not the replacement of people with machines. In the mid-2000s, a singular innovation— combining hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—dramatically lowered the cost of extracting oil and gas from shale. This cost-reduction kicked off an energy revolution: the North American shale boom. For the next 10 years, further improvements in oil and gas extraction technology spurred unprecedented employment growth in both E&P firms and oilfield services (Figure 1). The timing of the shale boom could not have been better. While most of the country suffered high unemployment during the Great Recession and its aftermath, the oil patch was hiring. As our research at the Center for Energy Studies has shown, this helped create jobs at a time when the country needed them most. However, just like the oil booms before, this one also came to an abrupt end. Oil prices began falling quickly in mid-2014. On November 27 of that year, OPEC decided to maintain oil production levels and allow prices to stay low. The incredible expansion of the American oil and gas industry stopped. As Figure 1 shows, employment fell precipitously in what the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calls the oil and gas extraction sector (E&P firms) and especially oil and gas support activities (oilfield services firms). Though employment levels in both extraction and support activities have followed similar trajectories, the paths of wages have diverged for several years. Average wages in support activities have been falling since the 2014 OPEC meeting, but they have been growing in the extraction sector. (Figure 2) The opposite trajectories of extraction and support wages, while at first glance surprising, are consistent with classical economic theory. Theory sees wages as a measure of labor productivity: the marginal worker is paid the value he or she brings to the firm. Higher wages, therefore, are associated with higher productivity and vice versa. Classical theory would suggest that as oil prices fell, firms would cut low-productivity workers and keep high-productivity ones. E&P firms, captured in the extraction sector, appear to be retaining their highest-value workers who are more experienced and more expensive. In contrast, wages in oil and gas support activities began a steady decline beginning in mid-2013, suggesting that on average, oilfield services produced less output per worker. Though employment fell significantly in oil and gas support activities starting in 2015, the drop was nowhere near as fast or far as the drop in the number of rigs actively drilling for oil and gas (Figure 3). A higher number of workers in support services per active rig meant that on average, each hour of work in the sector was associated with fewer new wells than before. Figure 4 takes a closer look at the ratio of employees in oil and gas support activities to the number of active rigs. The ratio spiked immediately following the 2014 OPEC meeting, marked by the second vertical dashed line. It is far easier and less costly to idle rigs than fire people, so the adjustment of employment in oil and gas support activities is slower than adjustment in rig-counts. This is especially true in times of uncertainty. During a downturn, if prices and investment are projected to come back up, a larger labor force gives firms the flexibility to ramp operations back up. In fact, during the price swings of 2008—2009, rig-counts also dropped quickly, while layoffs were slower to materialize. This made the employee-rig ratio spike and allowed the sector to recover when prices rose and drilling activity picked back up.


Kalidasa Murugavel K.,Center for Energy Studies
Desalination | Year: 2013

This paper presents a theoretical and experimental work performed on a double slope single basin and double basin solar still. In this work, an additional basin is incorporated with conventional single basin still to improve the performance of the double slope solar still. Single basin and double basin double slope stills are fabricated with the same area and tested under the same climatic condition. This study investigates the effect of varying the water mass in both upper and lower basin on productivity of the double basin still. In addition, the results were compared with the single basin still. From this tests (theoretical and experimental), it was found that providing an additional basin increases the productivity significantly. A good agreement was made with theoretical and experimental results. The deviation between theoretical and experimental was within 10%. Double basin still production is higher than the single basin still by 85% for the same basin condition. © 2013 Elsevier B.V..


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Pink Petro, the community for women in energy, will gather industry executives, professionals and students on March 8 for the second HERWorld Energy Forum at the Jones Graduate School of Business on the campus of Rice University. The event will be streamed globally with U.S. local events in Denver, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Bakersfield, Wheeling and Puget Sound. Internationally, forums will be held in Kenya, Nigeria, The United Kingdom and parts of Western Europe. Celebrating on International Women's Day, the event begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. The forum is a unique event that addresses new frontiers in the energy industry where business, workforce, innovation and policy intersect. This year's theme is "The Next Era of Energy: Lean In, All In, and Join In." ABC-TV anchor Gina Gaston and Editor-in-Chief of the Houston Business Journal Giselle Greenwood will co-emcee. Katie Mehnert, founder and CEO of Pink Petro, said, "The evidence of dramatic change is all around us, and it’s happening at exponential speed. The global energy industry is entering the dawn of a new era and for the workforce, that's exciting." “Our location in Houston, our eye to the future, and our support of diversity and inclusion make this collaboration with Pink Petro and the business school a natural fit,” said Peter Rodriguez, dean of the Jones Graduate School of Business. “We are thrilled to be a part of it.” Keynotes include Jeffrey Hayzlett, chairman of the C-Suite Network; Josh Levs, author, UN gender advocate and former CNN correspondent; and Johnna Van Keuren, Vice President, Wind Operations and HSSE, New Energies with Royal Dutch Shell. Presenters include Christina Sistrunk, CEO of Aera Energy; Tandra Jackson, Managing Partner of KPMG LLP; Vicky Bailey, chairman of the United States Energy Association; Dr. Mikki Hebl, Martha and Henry Malcolm Lovett Chair of Psychology and professor of management at Rice University; and Nick Candito, Forbes Top 30 under 30 and co-founder of Progressly. The conference will open with Sami Murphy who will sing her original song, "Energy". For a full agenda, speakers, and registration, visit the HERWorld website. HERWorld17 sponsors include the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University, KPMG LLP, Shell, GE, Spectra Energy, Marathon Oil, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, S&B Engineering and Constructors, Progressly, Workday, Challenger Gray Christmas, Spring Rock Energy, The Golden Tulip Nairobi. Hosts include The University of Colorado Denver Global Energy Management Program and the LSU Center for Energy Studies. Pink Petro is a leading professional development company and online professional community aimed at disrupting the gender gap in energy and defining the future of the workforce and supply chain. Pink Petro™ has members in 120+ countries in 500+ companies across the energy value chain.


News Article | December 15, 2016
Site: www.rdmag.com

As the Mexican government oversees the implementation of the country's energy reform, it must consider how best to prioritize water use in accordance with the law and allocate supplies thoughtfully, according to a new paper from the Mexico Center at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. "Looming Conflicts? Energy Reform Priorities and the Human Right of Access to Water in Mexico" argues that energy reform, following closely on the heels of the adoption of access to water as a human right, has created a situation in which water-resource allocation - already a tense subject in the country - may become a source of conflict and social tension. The paper offers recommendations for legal and policy initiatives that my help alleviate potential tensions as energy production increases in the country. It was co-authored by Alejandro Posadas, an independent consultant and lawyer and former Mexican diplomat and law professor, and Regina Buono, nonresident scholar in the Baker Institute's Center for Energy Studies. "Recent constitutional reforms have begun to open Mexico's energy sector to the world," the authors wrote. "The reforms are targeted, in part, at facilitating access to vast amounts of technically recoverable shale gas via unconventional recovery efforts, a massive and expensive undertaking that will require the use of large volumes of water in a region of the country (northeastern Mexico) where water is already scarce. The new energy laws prioritize energy development, imposing requirements on landowners to cooperate with companies attempting to develop the resource." The Mexican energy reform is targeted at facilitating access to -- among other resources - vast amounts of technically recoverable shale gas. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that 545 trillion cubic feet of this valuable resource underlie Mexico. Most of the shale gas is located in the northern part of the country, which is also where much of Mexico's large-scale agriculture and industry is located, according to the paper. The authors said that the mandate to enact a new General Law on Water that accompanied the adoption of the new human-right provision provides an opportunity to transition from a model of water administration based entirely or primarily in engineering as the tool to provide water and necessary human infrastructure, to a model based on a true, sustainable, development-based policy agenda that seeks to secure water renewability and availability in the long term. "As the Mexican government oversees the energy reform, it must consider how best to prioritize water use in accordance with the law and allocate supplies thoughtfully," the authors wrote. "Improving public participation processes and facilitating use of alternative supplies via advances in technology are important steps in lessening or averting conflict over water supplies in the country." The paper is part of a Mexico Center research project examining the rule of law in Mexico and the challenges it poses to implementing the country's energy reform. The project's findings are compiled in a Spanish-language book and will be posted on the Baker Institute's website in English.


News Article | December 13, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

HOUSTON - (Dec. 13, 2016) - As the Mexican government oversees the implementation of the country's energy reform, it must consider how best to prioritize water use in accordance with the law and allocate supplies thoughtfully, according to a new paper from the Mexico Center at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. "Looming Conflicts? Energy Reform Priorities and the Human Right of Access to Water in Mexico" argues that energy reform, following closely on the heels of the adoption of access to water as a human right, has created a situation in which water-resource allocation - already a tense subject in the country - may become a source of conflict and social tension. The paper offers recommendations for legal and policy initiatives that my help alleviate potential tensions as energy production increases in the country. It was co-authored by Alejandro Posadas, an independent consultant and lawyer and former Mexican diplomat and law professor, and Regina Buono, nonresident scholar in the Baker Institute's Center for Energy Studies. "Recent constitutional reforms have begun to open Mexico's energy sector to the world," the authors wrote. "The reforms are targeted, in part, at facilitating access to vast amounts of technically recoverable shale gas via unconventional recovery efforts, a massive and expensive undertaking that will require the use of large volumes of water in a region of the country (northeastern Mexico) where water is already scarce. The new energy laws prioritize energy development, imposing requirements on landowners to cooperate with companies attempting to develop the resource." The Mexican energy reform is targeted at facilitating access to -- among other resources - vast amounts of technically recoverable shale gas. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that 545 trillion cubic feet of this valuable resource underlie Mexico. Most of the shale gas is located in the northern part of the country, which is also where much of Mexico's large-scale agriculture and industry is located, according to the paper. The authors said that the mandate to enact a new General Law on Water that accompanied the adoption of the new human-right provision provides an opportunity to transition from a model of water administration based entirely or primarily in engineering as the tool to provide water and necessary human infrastructure, to a model based on a true, sustainable, development-based policy agenda that seeks to secure water renewability and availability in the long term. "As the Mexican government oversees the energy reform, it must consider how best to prioritize water use in accordance with the law and allocate supplies thoughtfully," the authors wrote. "Improving public participation processes and facilitating use of alternative supplies via advances in technology are important steps in lessening or averting conflict over water supplies in the country." The paper is part of a Mexico Center research project examining the rule of law in Mexico and the challenges it poses to implementing the country's energy reform. The project's findings are compiled in a Spanish-language book and will be posted on the Baker Institute's website in English. For more information or to schedule an interview with Posadas or Buono, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775. Founded in 1993, Rice University's Baker Institute ranks among the top five university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute's strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes -- including a public policy course -- and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at http://www. or on the institute's blog, http://blogs. .


Kalidasa Murugavel K.,Center for Energy Studies | Srithar K.,Thiagarajar College of Engineering
Renewable Energy | Year: 2011

Solar still is one of the best solutions to solve water problem in remote arid areas. This device is not popular because of its lower productivity. One of the methods to increase the productivity is by decrease the volumetric heat capacity of the basin. A layer of water with wick material in the basin will increase the evaporation area and enhance the production. A basin type double slope solar still with mild steel plate was fabricated and tested with minimum mass of water and different wick materials like light cotton cloth, sponge sheet, coir mate and waste cotton pieces in the basin. Still with aluminium rectangular fin arranged in different configurations and covered with different wicks were also tested. It was found that, the still with light black cotton cloth is the effective wick material. The still with rectangular Aluminium fin covered with cotton cloth and arranged in length wise direction was more effective. The still was theoretically modeled. The variation in transmittance of the cover was considered in the proposed model. The total radiation on the covers was taken as input. Theoretical values of water and glass temperatures using proposed model were compared with theoretical values obtained by Dunkle model and actual experimental values. It was found that the theoretical production rate using the proposed model were close to the experimental. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Wesley Jeevadason A.,Center for Energy Studies | Kalidasa Murugavel K.,Center for Energy Studies | Neelakantan M.A.,Chemistry Research Center
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2014

Solar energy sources, having the potential to provide energy services with zero emissions of air pollutants, have become more economically attractive with technological improvements. Organic Solar cells promise to be a significant contributor to our future energy system with suitable efficiencies and low cost. The foundation, basic principles, material requirements and device operation mechanism of organic solar cells has been already reviewed by various authors. This paper highlights the use of Schiff bases and their metal complexes as Photovoltaic materials. Schiff bases having potential Photovoltaic characteristics are also discussed in this paper. Major developments in this field over the past few years and recent research have also been briefly discussed. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


News Article | December 31, 2015
Site: phys.org

The study, "The Macroeconomic Impact of Increasing U.S. LNG Exports," was co-authored by Kenneth Medlock, senior director for the Center for Energy Studies. "The dramatic growth in shale gas production in the United States has presented a number of opportunities and challenges for the U.S. economy," Medlock said. "To begin, shale gas production has lowered the domestic price of natural gas so that the United States now has among the lowest prices in the world and shifted the U.S. from emerging as a significant importer to a pending exporter of LNG. This has benefitted consumers and led to gains in competitiveness for U.S. manufacturers. "Low natural gas prices in the United States negatively impact the profitability of domestic upstream activities, which has, in fact, been a primary driver of interest in exporting LNG as suppliers seek new demands in higher-priced markets. While selling natural gas at higher prices on the world market would increase profits for U.S. gas producers, the price gap between the United States and the rest of the world will shrink, thereby eroding some of the benefits that have accrued to U.S. consumers and manufacturers. So the net balance of the gains and losses associated with trade are at the core of the analysis. In sum, the balance is positive for the U.S. economy." For the report, the Center for Energy Studies used the Rice World Gas Trade Model to simulate alternative futures to assess natural gas production, demand and, more generally, the international gas market based on a range of projections of U.S. resource endowments. Oxford Economics addressed the macroeconomic impact of the center's market analysis. A comprehensive set of scenarios was developed in the analysis - including U.S. natural gas recovery, international and domestic demand, and natural-gas supply opportunities in the rest of the world - to examine the impact on energy markets and the U.S. macroeconomy. LNG exports are associated with a net increase in domestic natural gas production. Medlock said the study found that "the majority of the increase in LNG exports is accommodated by expanded domestic production rather than reductions in domestic demand, a result that reflects the very elastic long-run supply curve in North America." As exports increase, the spread between U.S. domestic prices and international benchmarks narrows. In every case, greater LNG exports raised domestic prices somewhat and lowered prices internationally. The majority of the price movement (in absolute terms), however, occurs in Asia. The overall macroeconomic impacts of higher LNG exports are marginally positive, a result that is robust under alternative assumptions. With external demand for U.S. LNG exports at 20 Bcf/d, the impact of increasing exports from 12 Bcf/d is between $7 billion to $20 billion annually from 2026 to 2040 in today's prices. Medlock said that the impact from added LNG exports will not be felt until after 2025 due to the large amount of LNG supply that is coming online globally in the next few years. The global market simply cannot accommodate U.S. volumes in excess of 12 Bcf/d before 2025 in any of the scenarios considered. Accordingly, while international demand continues to increase, the market must first work through a large amount of available LNG supply before turning to U.S.-sourced LNG. The reference case forecasts U.S. LNG exports of around 6.5 Bcf/d as there are abundant, competitive resources around the world that can be delivered to international markets via LNG or pipelines. Higher U.S. LNG exports require a variety of factors that limit the otherwise competitive production of natural gas outside of the U.S. Moreover, those factors must become increasingly restrictive to raise U.S. LNG exports over 12 Bcf/d. Across all of the scenarios assessed, "the macroeconomic impacts of LNG exports are marginally positive," Medlock said. "Across the domestic cases, the positive impact of higher U.S. gas production exceeds the negative impacts of higher domestic natural gas prices associated with increased LNG exports. The overall macroeconomic impacts of increasing U.S. LNG exports to 20 Bcf/d from 12 Bcf/d are small, reflecting the small size of the natural gas sector and supporting industries relative to the over $13 trillion U.S. economy." Explore further: Future increases in US natural gas exports and domestic prices may not be as large as thought: study More information: The full report is available at energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/12/f27/20151113_macro_impact_of_lng_exports_0.pdf


Devanarayanan K.,Center for Energy Studies | Kalidasa Murugavel K.,Center for Energy Studies
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | Year: 2014

This paper presents up to date developments in integrated collector storage solar water heater (ICSSWH) using compound parabolic concentrator (CPC) collector. Performance of integrated compound parabolic concentrator storage solar water heater (ICPCSSWH) is affected by various parameters such as positioning and arrangements of water tanks, reflector types, absorber surfaces, glazing and other design parameters. The various designs of ICPCSSWHs and their performance analysis are reviewed. Recent developments in CPC based ICSSWH show a hopeful design to consume solar energy as a reliable heating source for water heating applications. But, by its collective collection and storage function undergoes significant thermal losses to ambient, particularly at non-collection periods. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Chel A.,Center for Energy Studies | Tiwari G.N.,Center for Energy Studies
Applied Energy | Year: 2011

This paper presents rigorous experimental outdoor performance of a 2.32kWP stand-alone photovoltaic (SAPV) system in New Delhi (India) for four weather types in each month such as clear, hazy, partially cloudy/foggy and fully cloudy/foggy weather conditions respectively. The daily power generated from the existing SAPV system was experimentally found in the range of 4-6kWh/day depending on the prevailing sky conditions. The number of days and daily power generated corresponding to four weather types in each month were used to determine monthly and subsequently annual power generation from the existing SAPV system. There are three daily load profiles with and without earth to air heat exchanger suitable for three seasons like summer (3.75-6.15kWh/day), winter (2.79-5.19kWh/day) and rainy (3.75kWh/day). The hourly efficiency of the SAPV system components are determined and presented in this paper. The life cycle cost (LCC) analysis for the existing typical SAPV system is carried out to determine unit cost of electricity. The effect of annual degradation rate of PV system efficiency is also presented in this paper. The energy production factor (EPF) and the energy payback time (EPBT) of the SAPV system was also determined and presented in this paper. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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