U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Today in Energy
The U.S. average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.45/gallon (gal) on August 25, the lowest price on the Monday before Labor Day since 2010. The average price at the pump is now $0.25/gal lower than it was at the end of June. Lower North Sea Brent crude oil prices are the main driver of the decline in gasoline prices; the current Brent price is lower than it was last month, and lower than it was on Labor Day weekend last year.
Note: Values in graph represent monthly averages of weekly rail carloadings.
The amount of crude oil and refined petroleum products moved by U.S. railroads increased 9% during the first seven months of this year compared with the same period in 2013. In July, monthly average carloadings of oil and petroleum products were near 16,000 carloads per week, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). The increase in oil volumes transported by rail reflects rising U.S. crude oil production, which reached an estimated 8.5 million barrels per day in June for the first time since July 1986.
Note: The difference between U.S. liquid fuels and crude oil production represents production of hydrocarbon gas liquids, biofuels, and refinery processing gain. Non-OPEC supply disruptions include both crude oil and liquid fuels, while OPEC disruptions include only crude oil. Growth in oil production and supply disruptions represents changes since January 2011.
Record-setting liquid fuels production growth in the United States has more than offset the rise in unplanned global supply disruptions over the past few years, although differences in quality and location suggest that the substitution may not be exactly 1-for-1. U.S. liquid fuels production, which includes crude oil, hydrocarbon gas liquids, biofuels, and refinery processing gain, grew by more than 4.0 million barrels per day (bbl/d) from January 2011 to July 2014, of which 3.0 million bbl/d was crude oil production growth. During that same period, global unplanned supply disruptions grew by 2.8 million bbl/d.
There has been a five-fold increase in new electricity transmission investment in the United States by major investors and privately owned companies during the 15 years from 1997 to 2012. The investment increased from $2.7 billion in 1997 to $14.1 billion in 2012—reversing a three-decade decline.
On August 11, Mexico's president signed into law legislation that will open its oil and natural gas markets to foreign direct investment, effectively ending the 75-year-old monopoly of state-owned Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex). These laws, which follow previously adopted changes in Mexico's constitution to eliminate provisions that prohibited direct foreign investment in that nation's oil and natural gas sector, are likely to have major implications for the future of Mexico's oil production profile. As a result of the developments in Mexico over the past year, EIA has revised its expectations for long-term growth in Mexico's oil production.
Republished August 25, 2014 to correct the statement that attributed the proposed construction of new transmission lines to the New England Independent System Operator (ISO-NE). The construction of transmission lines and generation assets falls in the utilities' purview.
Electric operators in New England have been both generating more electricity from natural gas and importing more hydroelectric generation from Quebec over the past decade. These two sources of electricity are displacing the use of coal and oil as generation fuels in New England.
Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $107 per barrel (bbl) in July, marking the 13th consecutive month in which average Brent crude oil prices were between $107/bbl and $112/bbl (see graph above). Although supply growth from non-OPEC countries has outpaced world consumption in the past year, its potential price-reducing effect has been offset by unplanned supply outages among producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The result has tightened world oil markets and placed upward pressure on prices.
Note: Volumes shown for Russia-China gas deal assume minimal contract obligations. Increases in these volumes will lessen the amount needed from LNG imports and other contracts.
China's natural gas demand has been growing as the government seeks to move away from coal in favor of cleaner fuels. According to EIA's International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO2013) Reference case, demand will more than triple from 5.2 Tcf in 2012 to 17.5 Tcf by 2040.
Note: 2012 shares for Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa based on 2011, the most recently available data. Data for the Northern Mariana Islands were unavailable.
Unlike the rest of the United States, energy consumption in island states and territories is almost entirely petroleum-based. These islands may soon be able to diversify their energy sources to include natural gas, because relatively low natural gas prices and new shipping technology may allow these islands to import liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Note: Click to enlarge.
China relies heavily on domestic coal (and to a lesser extent oil) to meet rising energy consumption. To reduce air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, the Chinese government is attempting to replace some of the country's coal and oil use with natural gas. Natural gas accounted for only 4.9% of China's total energy consumption in 2012, but large investments in domestic natural gas production and infrastructure, along with growing imports, are likely to underpin a significantly larger role in the future. The Chinese government anticipates increasing its natural gas share of total energy consumption to around 8% by the end of 2015 and 10% by 2020.