Today in Energy

Oct 20, 2014

North Dakota aims to reduce natural gas flaring

graph of natural gas flared in North Dakota, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on North Dakota Industrial Commission

About one-third of the natural gas North Dakota has produced in recent years has been flared rather than sold to customers or consumed on-site. The rapid growth in North Dakota oil production, which rose from more than 230,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in January 2010 to more than 1,130,000 bbl/d in August 2014, has led to increased volumes of associated gas, or natural gas that comes from oil reservoirs. These increased volumes require additional infrastructure to gather, process, and transport gas volumes instead of flaring them. These additions can take time to build, and well operators are often reluctant to delay production. In an effort to reduce the amount of natural gas flared, North Dakota's Industrial Commission (NDIC) established targets that decrease the amount of flared gas over the next several years.

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Oct 17, 2014

Energy for growing and harvesting crops is a large component of farm operating costs

graph of operating expense for various crops, as explained in the article text

The U.S. agriculture industry used nearly 800 trillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy in 2012, or about as much primary energy as the entire state of Utah. Agricultural energy consumption includes energy needed to grow and harvest crops and energy needed to grow livestock. Crop operations consume much more energy than livestock operations, and energy expenditures for crops account for a higher percentage of farm operating costs.

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Oct 16, 2014

EIA launches expanded winter heating fuels data program for winter 2014-15

Graph of SHOPP coverage of weekly heating oil and propane prices, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Note: Weekly heating oil prices are collected in the states shown in dark blue and in the District of Columbia, but not in Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

EIA is expanding the State Heating Oil and Propane Program (SHOPP) this winter heating season. SHOPP is a joint effort between EIA and participating states to collect weekly residential heating oil and propane price data. The SHOPP program has traditionally included 24 states in the Northeast and Midwest regions, but the program was expanded after many other states expressed interest in the program following the winter of 2013-14.

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Oct 15, 2014

Some Appalachian natural gas spot prices are well below the Henry Hub national benchmark

Graph of Marcellus region natural gas hub spot prices, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration and SNL Energy
Note: Spot prices by trade date. Click to enlarge map.

Some natural gas prices at trading hubs in the Appalachian Basin's Marcellus Shale play are trading well below the national benchmark spot price at the Henry Hub in Louisiana. Over the past month, spot prices at many Appalachian hubs have dropped below $2 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on days of low demand, while spot prices at Henry Hub and throughout much of the United States have traded near $4/MMBtu. However, prices at one Appalachian hub, the TCO Pool, which has the ability to back out deliveries from Gulf Coast sources and has pipeline connections that provide access to multiple markets, has maintained close parity to Henry Hub prices.

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Oct 14, 2014

Newly released heat content data allow for state-to-state natural gas comparisons

graph of heat content of  natural gas in various locations, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Monthly

The heat content of natural gas, or the amount of energy released when a volume of gas is burned, varies according to the extent that gases with higher heat content than methane are included in delivered gas. EIA is now publishing the heat content of end-use natural gas by state in the Natural Gas Monthly.

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Oct 10, 2014

Net energy imports as share of consumption at lowest level in 29 years

graph of monthly U.S. energy production and consumption and net imports as a share of consumption, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review

Total U.S. net imports of energy as a share of energy consumption fell to their lowest level in 29 years for the first six months of 2014. Total energy consumption in the first six months of 2014 was 3% above consumption during the first six months of 2013, but consumption growth was outpaced by increases in total energy production. These changes led to a 17% reduction in net imports compared with the first six months of 2013.

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Oct 9, 2014

Lower petrochemical use of propane driven by wider price spread between propane and ethane

graph of U.S. propane demand and heating degree days, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook, October 2014
Note: Product supplied used as a proxy for propane demand.

Republished October 9, 9:45 a.m. to correct an error in the graph.

Propane demand (measured as product supplied) is expected to be 100,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) lower on average in 2014 compared to 2013 because of reduced demand from petrochemical plants, according to EIA's Short-Term Energy Outlook. In contrast to propane used as a heating fuel in buildings during colder months and as a crop-drying fuel during the harvest season, both of which are highly seasonal and weather dependent, petrochemical consumption of propane has relatively little seasonality.

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Oct 8, 2014

Lower demand, higher supply drive oil prices to lowest level since 2012

graph of Libyan crude oil production and Brent prices, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Bloomberg

The price of North Sea Brent crude oil has fallen to around $91 per barrel, the lowest level in more than two years and about 21% lower than its year-to-date peak of $115 per barrel on June 19. Before its recent decline, average monthly Brent spot prices had traded within a narrow $5 per barrel range, from $107 to $112 per barrel, for 13 consecutive months through July 2014.

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Oct 7, 2014

Less severe weather means lower expected household heating bills this winter

graph of heating degree days and average winter household expenditures for heating fuels, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook, October 2014

After the unusually cold winter of 2013-14, U.S. households can expect lower heating expenditures this winter (October through March) compared with last winter. According to EIA's Short-Term Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook, average household expenditures for homes heating primarily with natural gas will total $649 this winter, a $31 decline from last winter's average. Homes heating primarily with electric heat are expected to spend $938 ($17 less). Homes using propane or heating oil have higher expenditures on average ($1,724 and $1,992, respectively) than homes using natural gas and electricity, but still lower ($652 less and $362 less, respectively) compared to last year.

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Oct 6, 2014

California drought leads to less hydropower, increased natural gas generation

graph of California drought status, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Drought Monitor; National Drought Mitigation Center

The drought in California continues to increase in severity since California's governor declared a state of drought emergency in January 2014. As of September 30, 58% of the state was classified as experiencing exceptional drought, the most intense drought category. These dry conditions limit hydropower generation, requiring generation from other sources to make up for the shortfall.

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