Today in Energy

Jul 29, 2016

Changes in steel production reduce energy intensity

graph of energy intensity of U.S. steel production in four cases, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2016

The manufacture of steel and related products is an energy-intensive process. In 2015, the steel industry accounted for 1.5% of all industrial shipments but 6.1% of industrial delivered energy consumption. In EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2016 (AEO2016) Reference case, energy use in the steel industry increases by 11% over 2015–40. Over the same period, the steel industry's energy intensity falls by 27%, compared with an 18% reduction in total industrial energy intensity. Several alternative cases examine drivers for further energy intensity reductions in the steel industry.

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Jul 28, 2016

Stripper wells accounted for 11% of U.S. natural gas production in 2015

graph of U.S. natural gas well counts and production, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on DrillingInfo
Note: Results can vary because of the types of wells, completions, and leases included in the analysis, update schedules of source databases, and estimation results for a number of late-reporting states.

Stripper wells, also known as marginal wells, individually produce small volumes of natural gas or oil but in aggregate have provided 11% to 15% of total U.S. oil and natural gas production over the past decade. Natural gas stripper wells (so called because they are stripping the remaining natural gas out of the ground) are characterized as producing no more than 90,000 cubic feet per day over a 12-month period. EIA estimates that there were about 456,000 stripper gas wells in the United States operating at the end of 2015, compared with about 122,000 nonstripper gas wells.

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Jul 27, 2016

Many industries use combined heat and power to improve energy efficiency

graph of combined heat and power capacity by industry, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Electric Generation Survey EIA-860 (2015 early release)

Combined heat and power (CHP) systems have long been used to reduce the overall energy intensity of industrial systems. There are two types of combined heat and power, depending on whether the system produces power first, then heat, or heat first, then power. In topping cycles, the hot exhaust of an electricity generator such as a natural gas turbine or reciprocating engine is used to provide process heat, hot water, or space heating for the site. According to preliminary 2015 data, topping cycles are used by 89% of total CHP capacity. In bottoming cycles, also referred to as waste heat to power, wasted heat from a furnace or other high-temperature industrial processes is recovered and used for power production.

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Jul 26, 2016

Increased drilling may slow pace of crude oil production declines

graph of Lower 48 states onshore rig count and crude oil production, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook, July 2016; Baker Hughes

Higher and more stable crude oil prices are contributing to increased drilling in the United States, which may slow the pace of production declines. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices averaged $46.59 per barrel (b) over the past three weeks, a 40% increase over the average price in the first quarter of 2016. The rig count for active onshore rotary rigs in the Lower 48 states, as measured by Baker Hughes, stood at 352 rigs on July 22, 45 rigs above the number at the end of June. Although declines from existing wells are expected to result in a net decrease in production, increased drilling and higher well productivity are expected to partially offset the decline.

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Jul 25, 2016

Hourly information on U.S. electricity supply, demand, and flows is now available

graph of Lower 48 states onshore rig count and crude oil production, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Electric System Operating Data tool

The U.S. Energy Information Administration now provides hourly electricity operating data, including actual and forecast demand, net generation, and the power flowing between electric systems. EIA's U.S. Electric System Operating Data tool provides nearly real-time demand data, plus analysis and visualizations of hourly, daily, and weekly electricity supply and demand on a national and regional level for all of the 66 electric system balancing authorities that make up the U.S. electric grid.

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Jul 22, 2016

Electric grid operators forecast load shapes to plan electricity supply

graph of U.S. actual and forecast electricity demand, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

In the electric power sector, load shapes refer to the varying amounts of electricity required over time. Daily load shapes vary by region, climate, and time (daily, monthly, seasonally). Each day, balancing authorities—the entities charged with balancing electric supply and demand—forecast hourly electricity demand on their system for the next day. Using these load forecasts, they can develop resource schedules, or plans for the use of available power plants to generate the power needed to meet demand.

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Jul 21, 2016

Changing U.S. energy mix reflects growing use of natural gas, petroleum, and renewables

graph of United States primary energy consumption by source, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review, April 2016

Primary energy consumption fell slightly in 2015 as a decline in coal use exceeded increases in natural gas, petroleum, and renewables use. In most cases, changes between 2014 and 2015 reflect longer-term trends in energy use.

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Jul 20, 2016

U.S. electric system is made up of interconnections and balancing authorities

map of U.S. power system, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Note: The locations of the electric systems are illustrative and are not geographically accurate. The sizes of the circles are roughly indicative of electric system size.

Electricity generated at power plants moves through a complex network of electricity substations, power lines, and distribution transformers before it reaches customers. In the United States, the power system consists of more than 7,300 power plants, nearly 160,000 miles of high-voltage power lines, and millions of low-voltage power lines and distribution transformers, which connect 145 million customers.

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Jul 19, 2016

India continues developing its strategic petroleum reserve as its oil imports grow

graph of India petroleum and other liquids production and consumption, as explained in the article text
Source: EIA, International Energy Statistics and Short-Term Energy Outlook

In response to India's increasing reliance on petroleum imports, India plans to bring online the country's first strategic petroleum reserve (SPR). The first phase of India's SPR includes three locations (Visakhapatnam, Mangalore, and Padur) in southern India with a combined capacity of 39.1 million barrels of crude oil. The Visakhapatnam facility on the eastern coast began filling its underground caverns last summer. The Mangalore and Padur facilities are expected to be completed in late 2016, according to FACTS Global Energy. Once filled, these three facilities would provide an estimated 13 days of net oil import coverage, based on 2015 consumption and production data.

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Jul 18, 2016

U.S. oil companies closer to balancing capital investment with operating cash flow

graph of quarterly U.S. onshore company cashflow items and financing gap, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Evaluate Energy
Note: The financing gap is the difference between cash from operations and from capital expenditure.

Although the crude oil price decline since 2014 has led to significant reductions in operating cash flow for U.S. oil companies, their immediate financial situations are improving. As oil companies' spending falls and crude oil prices increase, the need for oil companies to find external sources of funding may decline, which could reduce financial strain in the coming quarters.

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