U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Today in Energy
U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the transportation sector reached 1,893 million metric tons (MMmt) from October 2015 through September 2016, exceeding electric power sector CO2 emissions of 1,803 MMmt over the same time period. On a 12-month rolling total basis, electric power sector CO2 emissions are now regularly below transportation sector CO2 emissions for the first time since the late 1970s. CO2 emissions from electric power have been trending lower since 2007.
Natural gas is Mexico’s largest source of electricity generation, accounting for 54% of the country’s generation in 2015, up from 34% in 2005. According to Mexico’s national energy ministry (SENER), more than 60% of Mexico’s electric capacity additions between 2016 and 2020 are projected to come from natural gas-fired power plants, and significant natural gas capacity additions are expected to continue through 2029.
Note: Total production includes both natural gas plant production and refinery and blender net production.
U.S. production of ethane is expected to increase from an average of 1.25 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2016 to 1.7 million b/d in 2018 according to EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO). Increased ethane production is expected to be consumed in the petrochemical industry domestically as well as exported to other countries.
Natural gas spot prices in 2016 averaged $2.49 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) at the national benchmark Henry Hub, the lowest annual average price since 1999. The monthly average price fell below $2.00/MMBtu from February through May, but later increased, ending the year at an average of $3.58/MMBtu in December. Warmer-than-normal temperatures for most of the year and changing natural gas demand were the main drivers of natural gas prices in 2016.
Note: Confidence interval derived from options market information for the five trading days ending Jan 5, 2017. Intervals not calculated for months with sparse trading in near-the-money options contracts.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s January Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) forecasts benchmark North Sea Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices to average $53 per barrel (b) and $52/b, respectively, in 2017, close to their levels during the last three weeks of 2016. These prices are expected to rise to $56/b and $55/b, respectively, in 2018.
Average wholesale electricity prices at major trading hubs across the United States during the first quarter of 2016 were significantly lower than during the same period in 2015, ranging from 24% lower in California to 64% lower in New England. Monthly wholesale prices for the rest of 2016 were slightly below 2015 prices and generally averaged between $20 and $45 per megawatthour (MWh). The primary driver of the low wholesale electricity prices was the sustained low cost of natural gas, which is the fuel that often determines the marginal generation cost in most power markets. The low cost of natural gas also encouraged increased use of the fuel for U.S. power generation in 2016.
Note: The last two months of 2016 are based on planned reported additions and are subject to change.
Once final data are in, EIA expects 24 gigawatts (GW) of new generating capacity to be added to the power grid during 2016. For the third consecutive year, more than half of these additions are renewable technologies, especially wind and solar.
Note: Production data for 2016 include estimated October through December 2016 production.
U.S. coal production in 2016 is expected to total 743 million short tons (MMst), 17% lower than in 2015, and the lowest level since 1978. Falling production in 2016 continues an eight-year decline from peak production in 2008. Production in all major coal regions fell by at least 15%. Low natural gas prices, warmer-than-normal temperatures during the 2015-16 winter that reduced electricity demand, the retirements of some coal-fired generators, and lower international coal demand have contributed to declining U.S. coal production.
U.S. regular retail gasoline prices averaged $2.14 per gallon (gal) in 2016, 29 cents/gal (12%) less than in 2015 and the lowest annual average price since 2004. Lower crude oil prices in 2015 were the main cause of lower gasoline prices. In 9 of the 10 cities for which EIA collects weekly retail price data, gasoline prices did not exceed $3.00/gal.
EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017), released this morning presents updated projections for U.S. energy markets. This AEO is the first to have projections through 2050 in the AEO tables.