Today in Energy

Sep 17, 2014

Panama Canal expansion will allow transit of larger ships with greater volumes

Diagram of oil tankers, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration; Surveyor (2002); Maritime Connector
Note: Click to enlarge.

Ships carrying crude oil and petroleum products are limited by size restrictions imposed by several of the main thoroughfares of maritime navigation: the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, and the Strait of Malacca. These size restrictions provide another way to classify the large tankers that carry most of global crude oil and petroleum product trade.

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Sep 16, 2014

Oil tanker sizes range from general purpose to ultra-large crude carriers on AFRA scale

Photograph of oil tankers, as explained in the article text
Source: T. Mason Hamilton, U.S. Energy Information Administration

The global crude oil and refined product tanker fleet uses a classification system to standardize contract terms, establish shipping costs, and determine the ability of ships to travel into ports or through certain straits and channels. This system, known as the Average Freight Rate Assessment (AFRA) system, was established by Royal Dutch Shell six decades ago, and is overseen by the London Tanker Brokers' Panel (LTBP), an independent group of shipping brokers.

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Sep 15, 2014

New petroleum technology revitalizes Powder River Basin oil production

graph of Powder River Basin oil production by formation, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration and Drillinginfo, Inc.

The Powder River Basin, well known for its abundant coal supply, is experiencing a turnaround in oil production. Production has rebounded from a low of 38,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2009 to 78,000 bbl/d during first-quarter 2014. Although U.S. oil production growth is occurring primarily in the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian Basins, the Powder River Basin is among other regions of the country that have also benefitted from the application of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

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Sep 12, 2014

Natural gas storage deficit to five-year average continues to narrow

graph of weekly natural gas inventories and difference from five-year average, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR) and Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO)

Republished September 12, 2014, 10:20 a.m., the end date on the second graph was corrected.

Storage injections have continued to outpace the five-year (2009-13) average this summer, with inventories as of September 5 at 2,801 billion cubic feet (Bcf), according to data from the Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR). The winter of 2013-14 led to a large drawdown in inventories, with stocks ending March 2014 almost 1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) lower than the five-year average and at their lowest end-March level since 2003. Relatively higher weekly net injections into storage reduced that deficit to 463 Bcf as of September 5.

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Sep 11, 2014

Despite decline in some regions, world oil consumption still seen rising

graph of liquid fuels consunsumption in selected countries and regions, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Outlook 2014

The largest potential for growth in demand for liquid fuels lies in the emerging economies of China, India, and countries in the Middle East, according to EIA's recently released International Energy Outlook 2014 (IEO2014). In the Reference case projection, world liquid fuels consumption increases 38% from 87 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) in 2010 to 119 MMbbl/d in 2040. China, India, and other developing countries in Asia account for 72% of the net world increase in liquid fuels consumption, with Middle East consumers accounting for another 13%. Most liquid fuel demand is for industrial uses and transportation.

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Sep 10, 2014

EIA's forecast of 2014 gasoline use has risen 2 billion gallons (1.6%) in past 10 months

graph of STEO forecast of gasoline consumption, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO)

EIA's short-term forecasts of gasoline consumption, which cover the current and upcoming calendar year, have risen over the past year. The latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), released yesterday, expects 2014 gasoline consumption to be 8.82 million barrels per day (135.2 billion gallons), 0.13 million barrels per day (2 billion gallons) higher than last November's forecast, which was close to the average 2014 consumption forecast across the 12 editions of STEO published in 2013. The STEO gasoline consumption estimates include the volumes of ethanol contained in all gasoline-ethanol mixtures, including both E10 and higher blends.

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Sep 9, 2014

Natural gas, solar, and wind lead power plant capacity additions in first-half 2014

graph of U.S. power plant capacity additions, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly, August 2014 edition with June 2014 data
Note: Data include facilities with a net summer capacity of 1 MW and above only.

In the first six months of 2014, 4,350 megawatts (MW) of new utility-scale generating capacity came online, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Electric Power Monthly. Natural gas plants, almost all combined-cycle plants, made up more than half of the additions, while solar plants contributed more than a quarter and wind plants around one-sixth.

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Sep 8, 2014

Geothermal resources used to produce renewable electricity in western states

map of operation geothermal plants in the United States, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860, Annual Electric Generator Report

Geothermal energy has been a small, but consistent, source of electricity in the United States since 1971, providing 0.4% of total U.S. generation in 2013. California is the site of most U.S. geothermal capacity, but since 2001 new geothermal capacity additions have increasingly been located in other western states as most of the low-cost resources in California have already been developed.

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Sep 5, 2014

Commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant opens

image of evaporators at cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa, as explained in the article text
Source: Republished with permission from POET-DSM

On September 3, a joint venture company called POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels held the grand opening of its Project Liberty cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The plant is the first of three commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facilities under development in the Midwest that convert corn stover (corn cobs, leaves, husk, and stalk) into ethanol.

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Sep 4, 2014

Four states supply domestic uranium concentrate in 2013

map of Uranium processing facilities in the United States, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Although most of the uranium used in domestic nuclear power plants is imported, domestic uranium processing facilities still provide sizeable volumes of uranium concentrate to U.S. nuclear power plants. In 2013, uranium concentrate was produced at seven facilities in four states. Wyoming accounted for 59% of domestic production, followed by Utah (22%), Nebraska (15%), and Texas (4%), according to the World Nuclear Association.

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