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Platts Energy Podium: New EIA Chief Wants Agency at Heart of U.S. Energy Debate

July 2, 2012

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) faces a number of challenges as it tries to do more with less money, including providing better analysis of the movement of crude oil from U.S. Midwest fields by rail and truck, the new EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski said Monday.

Sieminski, speaking at a Platts Energy Podium event, said he hopes to make the EIA’s statistical analyses “more timely, and punchier and more market relevant” as the agency strives to help policymakers grapple with thorny issues such as allowing crude oil exports in the future.

“One of the things EIA can do in responding to the inevitable budget pressure we’re going to face is find better ways to collect, analyze and disseminate the data – do it cheaper, do it faster and do it more accurately,” Sieminski said at the event in Washington, D.C. “Some of that might require a little bit of upfront investment. But in general, I think there are plenty of ways to improve the data collection at EIA.”

Sieminski said his vision for the agency, the statistical arm of the U.S. Department of Energy, is to place it “at the heart of a national conversation on energy,” tackling important issues that arise from rapidly changing dynamics in the oil and natural gas markets.

Last week, Sieminski said that the U.S. should not rule out sending crude oil overseas, especially as production from tight oil formations is expected to keep soaring. Sieminski reiterated that belief, saying that laws passed in the 1970s to prevent crude exports might be ripe for reexamination.

“We shouldn’t have to live with those if they don’t make sense in the modern context,” Sieminski said Monday. “If EIA can jump into that and provide good data and analysis to help policymakers look at that issue and be able to understand it that would be really fantastic.”

One area ripe for improvement is the EIA’s understanding of movement of crude from the Midwest to other parts of the country, Sieminski said. He said the movement of crude by rail and truck was not “built into EIA’s data collection effort.”

“So there’s a tremendous amount of oil now moving out of the mid-continent by rail, and EIA’s ability to get data on oil shipments like that is limited and it’s got to be improved,” he said. “It would be very useful in this whole question of trying to understand what’s going on in the mid-continent.”

He said the “infrastructure issues associated with oil movement from region to region in the U.S. is really important. It’s definitely an area where we could upgrade.”

A recording of the Adam Sieminski session is available via podcast at this link:

http://www.platts.com/PodcastsDetail/EnergyPodium/2012/July/energypodium02. You may be asked to complete a one-time-only cost-free Platts website log-in if you haven’t filled one out previously.

Sponsored by Platts, a leading global energy, petrochemicals and metals information provider, Platts Energy Podium provides an ongoing forum for prominent newsmakers and the press to address important energy and environmental issues.

Members of the media may receive invitations for Energy Podium events by contacting Kathleen Tanzy or 212-904-2860.

For more information on energy and energy policy, visit the www.platts.com.

About Platts: Founded in 1909, Platts is a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals and metals information and a premier source of benchmark prices for the physical and futures markets. Platts’ news, pricing, analytics, commentary and conferences help customers make better-informed trading and business decisions and help the markets operate with greater transparency and efficiency. Customers in more than 150 countries benefit from Platts’ coverage of the carbon emissions, coal, electricity, oil, natural gas, metals, nuclear power, petrochemical, and shipping markets. A division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), Platts is headquartered in New York with approximately 900 employees in more than 15 offices worldwide. Additional information is available at http://www.platts.com.

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Source: PR Newswire