Today in Energy

Jul 31, 2015

Electricity from natural gas surpasses coal for first time, but just for one month

graph of U.S. net electricity generation, selected fuels, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly and Short-Term Energy Outlook, July 2015

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.

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Jul 30, 2015

EIA reports show different aspects of U.S. oil production statistics and trends

graph of U.S. crude oil production, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly, Weekly Petroleum Status Report, Drilling Productivity Report, Short-Term Energy Outlook

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.

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Jul 29, 2015

New methanol and fertilizer plants to increase already-growing industrial natural gas use

map of methanol and fertilizer plants, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Bentek Energy and industry reports

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.

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Jul 28, 2015

Marcellus, Utica provide 85% of U.S. shale gas production growth since start of 2012

graph of natural gas production in selected regions, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Drilling Productivity Report, July 2015

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.

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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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