Today in Energy

Jul 27, 2015

Natural gas salt-facility storage serves special gas market needs

graph of natural gas storage capacity, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-191, Monthly Underground Natural Gas Storage Report
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.

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Jul 24, 2015

Power-to-gas brings a new focus to the issue of energy storage from renewable sources

image of components of power-to-gas conversion technology, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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.

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Jul 23, 2015

Average diesel retail price below gasoline price for first time in six years

graph of U.S. weekly average gasoline and diesel prices, as explained in the article text

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.

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Jul 22, 2015

Beyond Shell-BG, oil company merger activity is down

graph of quarterly merger and acquisition activity, as explained in the article text
Source: Evaluate Energy
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.

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Jul 21, 2015

Consensus process provides alternate approach to energy efficiency standard development

image of HVAC equipment, as explained in the article text
Source: stock photo

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.

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Jul 20, 2015

China will soon surpass South Korea, Russia, and Japan in nuclear generating capacity

graph of nuclear generating capacity for top 6 countries, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Atomic Energy Agency, World Nuclear Association

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.

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Jul 17, 2015

U.S. nuclear outages are low during summer peak electricity demand season

graph of daily U.S. nuclear capacity outage, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Status of U.S. Nuclear Outages
Note: Outage data reflect only nuclear units that have operated or were intended to operate in the past year.

As the country reaches the summer peak electricity demand season, nearly all U.S. nuclear generators have returned from refueling outages. Total outages were less than 1.5 gigawatts (GW) on July 6, the lowest level since late January. Daily nuclear outage levels and plant-by-plant status updates can be found in EIA's new Status of U.S. Nuclear Outages page.

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Jul 16, 2015

EIA now reporting monthly base gas levels in underground natural gas storage

graph of monthly U.S. underground natural gas storage by storage type, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-191, Monthly Natural Gas Underground Storage Report
Note: Working gas is defined as the quantity of natural gas in the reservoir that is in addition to base gas and is available for withdrawal. It may or may not be completely withdrawn during any particular withdrawal season.

With the release of the most recent Natural Gas Monthly, EIA began publishing base gas levels in natural gas storage facilities through the natural gas query system. Base gas plays an important role in underground natural gas storage, serving to maintain cavern or reservoir pressure and keeping natural gas storage facilities operational.

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Jul 15, 2015

In Rocky Mountain region, increased crude production is being shipped by pipeline, rail

graph of Rocky Mountain region crude oil supply and disposition, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on data from the Surface Transportation Board and Petroleum Supply Monthly
Note: Data for 2015 are average of January through April values.

Rail and pipeline shipments of crude oil from the Rocky Mountain region (Petroleum Administration for Defense District 4) have steadily increased as regional crude oil production has increased. The recently released Petroleum Supply Monthly, which contains data for April 2015, shows that 122,000 barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil was moved by rail from PADD 4 to other regions of the country, representing 19% of total crude shipments from the region.

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Jul 14, 2015

Summer gasoline prices are lowest in years

graph of monthly average regular grade motor gasoline retail price, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook Real prices viewer

The average retail price for motor gasoline this summer (April through September) is expected to be $2.67 per gallon, the lowest price (in real dollars, meaning adjusted for inflation) since 2009, based on projections in EIA's July Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO). This decline is mainly the result of the projected 41% year-over-year decline in the average price of North Sea Brent crude oil.

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