U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Today in Energy
Higher and more stable crude oil prices are contributing to increased drilling in the United States, which may slow the pace of production declines. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices averaged $46.59 per barrel (b) over the past three weeks, a 40% increase over the average price in the first quarter of 2016. The rig count for active onshore rotary rigs in the Lower 48 states, as measured by Baker Hughes, stood at 352 rigs on July 22, 45 rigs above the number at the end of June. Although declines from existing wells are expected to result in a net decrease in production, increased drilling and higher well productivity are expected to partially offset the decline.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration now provides hourly electricity operating data, including actual and forecast demand, net generation, and the power flowing between electric systems. EIA's U.S. Electric System Operating Data tool provides nearly real-time demand data, plus analysis and visualizations of hourly, daily, and weekly electricity supply and demand on a national and regional level for all of the 66 electric system balancing authorities that make up the U.S. electric grid.
In the electric power sector, load shapes refer to the varying amounts of electricity required over time. Daily load shapes vary by region, climate, and time (daily, monthly, seasonally). Each day, balancing authorities—the entities charged with balancing electric supply and demand—forecast hourly electricity demand on their system for the next day. Using these load forecasts, they can develop resource schedules, or plans for the use of available power plants to generate the power needed to meet demand.
Primary energy consumption fell slightly in 2015 as a decline in coal use exceeded increases in natural gas, petroleum, and renewables use. In most cases, changes between 2014 and 2015 reflect longer-term trends in energy use.
Note: The locations of the electric systems are illustrative and are not geographically accurate. The sizes of the circles are roughly indicative of electric system size.
Electricity generated at power plants moves through a complex network of electricity substations, power lines, and distribution transformers before it reaches customers. In the United States, the power system consists of more than 7,300 power plants, nearly 160,000 miles of high-voltage power lines, and millions of low-voltage power lines and distribution transformers, which connect 145 million customers.
In response to India's increasing reliance on petroleum imports, India plans to bring online the country's first strategic petroleum reserve (SPR). The first phase of India's SPR includes three locations (Visakhapatnam, Mangalore, and Padur) in southern India with a combined capacity of 39.1 million barrels of crude oil. The Visakhapatnam facility on the eastern coast began filling its underground caverns last summer. The Mangalore and Padur facilities are expected to be completed in late 2016, according to FACTS Global Energy. Once filled, these three facilities would provide an estimated 13 days of net oil import coverage, based on 2015 consumption and production data.
Note: The financing gap is the difference between cash from operations and from capital expenditure.
Although the crude oil price decline since 2014 has led to significant reductions in operating cash flow for U.S. oil companies, their immediate financial situations are improving. As oil companies' spending falls and crude oil prices increase, the need for oil companies to find external sources of funding may decline, which could reduce financial strain in the coming quarters.
In 2016, nearly 300 megawatts (MW) of electricity generating capacity is expected to come online from dams that did not previously have electric generating units, commonly referred to as nonpowered dams (NPDs). NPD capacity additions make up 92% of the 320 MW of planned hydroelectric capacity for 2016. Expected capacity additions at NPDs in 2016 are large compared to recent NPD additions, which totaled 126 megawatts (MW) over 2006–15, but relatively small compared with total U.S. hydroelectric capacity of nearly 80,000 MW as of April.
Natural gas-fired electricity generation in the United States is expected to reach a record level this year, providing an average of 3.8 million megawatthours per day in 2016, or 4% higher than in 2015. Based on EIA's latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), monthly natural gas-fired generation is expected to reach record highs in July and August, when weather-related demand for air conditioning increases electricity demand.
Note: Summer runs from April through September.
In the July edition of the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA forecasts that the U.S. retail price for regular gasoline will average $2.25 per gallon (gal) this summer (April through September). The forecast price for this summer is lower than the 2015 summer average of $2.63/gal, but higher than the forecast from the April 2016 Short-Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook. The change in the forecast since April is largely attributable to increases in crude oil prices.