U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Today in Energy
In April, traditionally the month when total electricity demand is lowest, U.S. generation of electricity fueled by natural gas exceeded coal-fired generation for the first time since the start of EIA's monthly generation data in 1973. However, EIA's latest Electric Power Monthly shows that coal's generation share once again exceeded that of natural gas during May. Total generation from coal and natural gas in May increased 14% from its April level, with increased coal generation accounting for 65% of the combined increase.
EIA publishes several reports covering current crude oil and natural gas production conditions and how recent trends may affect the near-term outlook for the oil and gas industry. Each EIA product is distinct in its purpose, methodology, timeframe, and regional coverage. Some reports are considered estimates of actual production volumes, while others focus on future production.
Reversing a decline that lasted more than a decade, industrial natural gas consumption has grown steadily since 2009 as relatively low natural gas prices have supported use of natural gas as a feedstock for the production of bulk chemicals. Industrial facilities, including methanol plants and ammonia- or urea-based fertilizer plants, consumed an average of 21.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas in 2014, a 24% increase from 2009. Several new industrial facilities began service this year, with additional projects scheduled to come online through 2018.
The productivity of natural gas wells in the Marcellus Shale and the neighboring Utica Shale is steadily increasing because of ongoing improvements in precision and efficiency of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing occurring in those regions. Since January 2012, natural gas production in the Marcellus and Utica regions has accounted for 85% of the increase in natural gas production reported in EIA's Drilling Productivity Report (DPR) and has driven recent growth in total U.S. natural gas production.
Note: Maximum working gas represents highest demonstrated levels of storage across all facilities.
Natural gas stored in salt facilities, principally in the greater Gulf Coast gas-producing region, accounts for only 10% of storage capacity in the Lower 48 states, but it provides 28% of daily deliverability.
Note: Standard industrial electrolyzer (left) and dedicated hydrogen storage (right) will be engaged in power-to-gas conversion research. Commercial-grade systems will be significantly larger.
Large-scale electricity storage technologies are currently limited in use, with pumped hydroelectric storage accounting for more than 98% of total storage capacity. However, nonhydro storage is increasing, and there is considerable interest in developing new storage technologies with attractive costs and operating characteristics. Power-to-gas conversion is a potential storage solution that is undergoing advanced study and approaching commercial application.
On July 13, the U.S. average diesel fuel retail price fell below the average regular gasoline retail price for the first time since the week of August 10, 2009. From August 2009 through June of this year, retail diesel fuel sold at an average premium of 34 cents per gallon (gal) over regular grade gasoline, with the difference reaching more than 90 cents/gal in January.
Note: Deal values are adjusted for inflation.
The second quarter of 2015 exhibited the largest amount of oil companies' merger and acquisition (M&A) activity by value since fourth-quarter 2012. The announced merger between Royal Dutch Shell and BG Group in early April accounted for $84 billion of the $115 billion quarterly total.
Last month a group of industry stakeholders, and energy efficiency and environmental advocates, along with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), proposed consensus energy conservation standards for multiple commercial heating and cooling equipment types. DOE estimates these standards could save about 15 quadrillion Btu over 30 years. The working group represents an alternate approach to energy efficiency standards development within DOE.
Nuclear power currently makes up slightly more than 2% of China's total power generation. However, the Chinese government has a stated goal to provide at least 15% of overall energy consumption by 2020 (increasing to 20% by 2030) from non-fossil fuel sources, including nuclear, hydroelectricity and other renewable sources. To help achieve this target, China plans to increase nuclear capacity to 58 gigawatts (GW) and to have 30 GW of capacity under construction by 2020.