U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Today in Energy
Note: Data are from the IntercontinentalExchange monthly natural gas index
The average bidweek price of natural gas in New England for December settled at $14.52 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), well above prices in other U.S. regions, according to the IntercontinentalExchange monthly index. The bidweek price, shown in the chart above, sets in a price for natural gas over the entire month at agreed upon volumes. In the past 20 years, natural gas prices in the Northeast have only reached this level on two occasions. In 2005, hurricanes Katrina and Rita led to extremely high prices at the benchmark Henry Hub in Louisiana, and the financial crisis in 2008 led to high natural gas prices throughout the United States. This December is the first time that the bidweek price at the Algonquin hub, which serves Boston, has reached this level.
Note: Reflects site consumption only. Other heating equipment includes boilers, radiators, heat pumps, and stoves.
About 40% of the energy delivered to the residential sector is attributed to space heating, and natural gas- and propane-fired furnaces account for almost half of that, making them a large target for potential energy efficiency gains. Yet the minimum efficiency level of gas furnaces has changed little over the past 20 years. A Department of Energy (DOE) standard that would have updated minimum gas furnace efficiency standards for the first time since 1992 has been challenged in court and delayed many times. As a result, the minimum efficiency standard for one of the highest energy-consuming residential appliance types may remain unchanged for almost three decades.
Note: October 2013 and November 2013 consumption volumes represent preliminary STEO estimates.
For the first eleven months of 2013, natural gas consumption in the electric power sector was below 2012 levels because of relatively higher natural gas prices compared with coal prices, and cooler summer weather compared with 2012. EIA estimates that electric power sector natural gas consumption was, on average, down by 13% so far in 2013 (through November), relative to the same time period in 2012. By contrast, industrial sector natural gas consumption in 2013 was up 3% compared with 2012.
EIA's International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO2013) projects that growth in world energy use largely comes from countries outside of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Energy use patterns for countries inside the OECD are relatively stable between 2010 and 2040 as primary energy use is projected to grow by 0.5% per year, roughly the same rate as population growth in those countries. In non-OECD countries, faster growing economies and changing habits in highly concentrated populations drive significant increases in energy use. Energy use in non-OECD countries is projected to grow by 2.2% per year, and the share of non-OECD energy use is expected to rise from 54% of total world energy use in 2010 to 65% in 2040.
Growth in electricity demand in Texas has been met through increasing amounts of all sources of generation, but renewable sources have grown the fastest. Increased output from renewable sources (mostly wind generators located in the western portion of the state) has important implications for the operation of the electric grid in the state.
Despite this week's increase in regular-grade gasoline prices to an average of $3.29 per gallon, the price of gasoline is lower than three months ago, 14 cents less than a year ago, and the lowest heading into a Thanksgiving holiday since 2010. Traditionally, the Thanksgiving holiday accounts for the most heavily traveled part of the year in the United States. AAA estimates that during this 2013 Thanksgiving holiday weekend (Nov. 27-Dec. 1), more than 38 million people in the United States will travel more than 50 miles from home by automobile.
Libya's oil sector has been crippled by prolonged strikes at key loading ports since the end of July, removing more than 1 million barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil from the global market. These supply disruptions have affected the Brent crude oil price, a global benchmark, as the outages reinforced a tighter market by increasing global supply disruptions and decreasing surplus crude oil production capacity. Global markets adjusted after the initial shock in August, as supplies of crude oil from other countries made up the difference. However, there are several other factors that have more recently influenced the Brent price, some of which are discussed below.
More than 60% of electricity in the central region of the United States comes from coal-fired electric generators, down from 80% in the early part of the 2000s.
Note: Other refers to electricity generated from the non-biogenic portion of municipal solid waste, other non-renewable waste fuels, hydroelectric pumped storage, other energy storage, and other sources.
The region with the largest shift between coal and natural gas in terms of both the overall generation levels and the relative fuel mix has been in the Southeast. Lower natural gas prices, a concentration of highly efficient natural gas-fired generators, and the high cost of shipping coal from production regions have all contributed to this shift.
On November 15, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the 2014 Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The RFS program, established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and later expanded by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA07), requires EPA to set annual requirements for the renewable content of liquid fuels that may differ from a set of targets specified by law. The U.S. Energy Information Administration is required by the RFS provisions in EISA07 to provide EPA with information related to the projected use of motor gasoline and diesel fuel and the supply of various categories of biofuels in the month prior to issuance of EPA's final RFS rulemaking for each program year.