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Louisiana   Louisiana Profile

State Profile and Energy Estimates

Profile AnalysisPrint State Energy Profile
(overview, data, & analysis)

Last Updated: February 15, 2018

Overview

Situated at the mouth of the Mississippi River, Louisiana has abundant crude oil and natural gas resources both onshore and offshore, buried beneath the thick sediments of the Mississippi Delta.1,2 Freshwater and saltwater wetlands cover about one-third of Louisiana's land area. The state rises gradually from the marshes, bayous, and estuaries along its extensive Gulf of Mexico coastline to the prairie of the state's north and west. On average, Louisiana is only 100 feet above sea level.3,4

In addition to crude oil and natural gas, Louisiana's energy resources include minor deposits of lignite coal5,6 and substantial biomass potential from agricultural byproducts, wood, and wood waste.7 The state's subtropical climate, with the largest annual rainfall of any contiguous state,8 and rich soils create a diverse agricultural economy that includes sugarcane, rice, and livestock, as well as forest products from upland pine and hardwood forests.9

Louisiana's total energy consumption and per capita energy consumption both rank among the highest in the nation,10,11 largely because of energy-intensive chemical, petroleum, and natural gas industries in the industrial sector.12 Energy consumption in Louisiana's industrial sector is second only to that of Texas.13 Although demand for air conditioning is high during the hot, humid summer months, heating demand is limited in the moderate winters, and Louisiana's total and per capita energy consumption in the residential sector are both near the national median.14,15,16,17

Petroleum

Louisiana ranks among the top 10 states in both crude oil reserves and annual crude oil production.18,19 Commercial crude oil production in Louisiana started early in the 20th century, soon after the 1901 discovery of the Spindletop oil field just over the border in Texas.20 Currently, annual state production of crude oil has fallen to about half the output level of 2000, and is at its lowest level in more than four decades.21

In 1947, the first offshore U.S. commercial crude oil well that was out of sight of land was completed 10 miles off the Louisiana coast. Although the water was only 18 feet deep, the well was a significant achievement in opening the Gulf of Mexico to crude oil production.22 The Gulf has become one of the largest U.S. crude oil-producing regions23 and holds high oil reserves.24 Many of the nation's largest oil fields are found off the Louisiana coast in the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) waters,25 and a large share of federal OCS production in the Gulf of Mexico comes onshore in Louisiana.26

Louisiana's offshore petroleum industry experienced a serious setback in 2005 when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged offshore platforms and curbed production and refining for several months. In 2008, hurricanes again caused damage and forced refining and production platform shutdowns.27 In April 2010, 40 miles off the Louisiana coast, an explosion and fire sank the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform, killing 11 workers and resulting in the largest crude oil spill in U.S. history. In less than three months, an estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico.28 The spill resulted in two temporary moratoria on new deepwater drilling in the Gulf. New safety rules were created for offshore drilling, and new requirements for oil spill response and containment were adopted. The federal agencies that oversee offshore drilling were also restructured.29

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port is the nation’s first and only deepwater oil port.

Louisiana is among the top three states receiving foreign crude oil imports.30 Crude oil is shipped into several ports, including the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP). The LOOP, which began receiving foreign crude oil in 1981, is the nation's first and only deep-water oil port. It provides offloading for some of the largest tankers in the world31 and can receive between one and two million barrels per day.32 It is the single largest point of entry for waterborne crude oil shipped to the United States.33 The LOOP's onshore facilities include the Clovelly Dome Storage Terminal, where nearly 60 million barrels of crude oil can be stored in underground salt caverns.34 Above-ground storage is being expanded to hold more than 10 million barrels.35 Through a network of crude oil pipelines, the LOOP is connected to more than half of the refining capacity in the United States.36 With U.S. oil production increasing, the Clovelly Dome storage facilities are used for domestic as well as imported crude oil. The LOOP is adding loading capability for U.S. crude oil exports.37

Louisiana is home to two of the four storage sites that make up the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is capable of holding an emergency stockpile of 727 million barrels of oil. At the two Louisiana sites-Bayou Choctaw and West Hackberry-crude oil is stored in 28 underground salt caverns with a storage capacity of almost 300 million barrels.38

Louisiana’s 18 oil refineries account for nearly one-fifth of the nation’s crude oil-refining capacity.

Louisiana's 18 oil refineries39 account for nearly one-fifth of the nation's refining capacity and are capable of processing more than 3.3 million barrels of crude oil per day.40 Many of the state's refineries are sophisticated facilities that use refining processes beyond simple distillation to yield a larger quantity of lighter, higher-value products such as motor gasoline.41 Louisiana refineries can process a wide variety of crude oil types from around the world.42

Most of Louisiana's refined petroleum products are sent out of state.43 The 3,100-mile Plantation Pipeline Network, one of the nation's largest refined petroleum product pipelines, runs from near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, through several southern states and ends in the suburbs of Washington, DC, supplying much of the South with motor gasoline, jet fuel, diesel, and biodiesel.44 Several other major product pipeline systems also pass through the state.45 Refineries also supply Louisiana's industrial sector, particularly the petrochemical industry.46 Louisiana has one of the largest concentrations of petrochemical manufacturing facilities in the United States.47 Consequently, Louisiana's total consumption and per capita consumption of petroleum are both among the highest in the nation.48,49

Natural gas

Louisiana is one of the top five natural gas-producing states in the country. The state accounts for about 6% of U.S. marketed gas production,50 and holds about 5% of the nation's proved dry natural gas reserves.51 Among its many productive areas is the Haynesville Shale, which is one of seven key U.S. natural gas-producing regions.52 Recent increases in drilling activity and well production rates have raised natural gas production in the Haynesville region to its highest level since 2013.53 Louisiana is also a top natural gas-consuming state.54 About 90% of its gas production is consumed in the state, most of it by the industrial sector.55

Louisiana delivers the remaining 10% of its natural gas production to other states via a vast network of interstate pipelines.56 About 60% of the natural gas entering Louisiana comes from Texas. Most of the rest comes onshore from the federal areas in the Gulf of Mexico leased to energy companies.57 Louisiana plays an essential role in the movement of natural gas from the U.S. Gulf Coast region to markets throughout the country. The state has the most active natural gas market center in North America-the Henry Hub in Erath, Louisiana-where nine interstate and four intrastate pipelines interconnect to provide natural gas to major markets throughout the country. The Henry Hub is the benchmark price location for natural gas physical and futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.58

Nineteen natural gas storage facilities are located in salt caverns and depleted fields in Louisiana,59 providing about 8% of U.S. total storage capacity.60 Those facilities allow Louisiana to store natural gas when national demand is low and to quickly ramp up delivery when markets across the country require larger volumes. Historically, natural gas demand is highest in the winter, when it is needed for home heating. With the growing use of natural gas for U.S. electricity generation, Louisiana now withdraws natural gas from storage during the summer months as well, when electricity demand rises for air conditioning.61,62,63

In 2016, the first large-scale LNG export terminal in the Lower 48 states opened in Louisiana.

In February 2016, the Sabine Pass liquefaction plant and tanker terminal opened, giving Louisiana the first large-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in the Lower 48 states.64,65 When fully operational, the terminal will be to process 3.5 billion cubic feet of gas per day.66 Sabine Pass, like Louisiana's two other LNG terminals, was originally designed for imports.67 All three terminals are in the process of adding capability to export LNG.68,69,70 The world's first deepwater LNG import facility, the Gulf Gateway Energy Bridge Deepwater Port, was located 116 miles off the Louisiana coast in federal waters. Commissioned in March 2005, this facility delivered natural gas to the Gulf Coast region through two offshore pipeline systems until Hurricane Ike damaged both pipelines in September 2008. The port was decommissioned in 2012.71

Industrial processes use two-thirds of the natural gas consumed in Louisiana. Electricity generation consumes another one-fifth.72 More than one-third of Louisiana households rely on natural gas for home heating,73 but the volume consumed is small because of the state's mild winters. In most years, residential natural gas use is less than the amount used statewide by pipelines to maintain pressure.74 Louisiana's pipeline use of natural gas is among the top three of any state in the nation.75

Coal

New Orleans is one of the nation’s largest coal exporting ports.

Louisiana's recoverable coal reserves are small, accounting for just 0.1% of the U.S. total.76 The state's coal production is also small and consists only of low-grade lignite coal from two surface mines, contributing 0.4% of U.S. total coal output.77 Louisiana plays a much bigger role in transporting U.S. coal, as New Orleans is one of the nation's largest coal exporting ports. In 2016, about 10% of U.S. coal exports shipped out through New Orleans.78 The state's two coal mines supply the nearby Dolet Hills generating plant with coal by truck from one mine and by a 7-mile-long conveyor system from the other.79 Most of the coal consumed in Louisiana is used for power generation, and about 60% of the coal consumed comes from out of state. Almost all that out-of-state coal delivered to Louisiana's coal-fired power plants is subbituminous coal shipped by rail from Wyoming. A limited amount of the coal consumed in Louisiana also comes by barge down the Mississippi River from Illinois and Kentucky. 80

Electricity

Retail sales of electricity in Louisiana are among the highest in the nation, particularly in the residential sector, where 6 in 10 households use electricity for home heating81,82,83 and almost all households have air conditioning.84 The primary fuel used for electricity generation in Louisiana is natural gas. It provides about 60% of the state's net electricity generation, nearly twice the national average.85 Coal was Louisiana's second-leading source for electricity generation for decades, but now fuels less generation than the state's two single-reactor nuclear power plants.86 The nuclear reactors are located along the Mississippi River and typically contribute about 16% of the state's net electricity generation.87 Petroleum coke, biomass, industrial gases, hydropower, and small-scale solar provide nearly all the rest of Louisiana's net electricity generation.88 About 30% of Louisiana's net electricity is generated at industrial and commercial facilities.89 The state does not generate enough electricity to meet consumer demand and receives needed power from the interstate grid.90

Renewable energy

Electricity generated from biomass resources accounts for most of Louisiana’s renewable generation.

Louisiana obtains about 4% of its net electricity generation from renewable sources. Biomass resources are abundant in Louisiana, and electricity generated from wood and wood waste accounts for more than two-thirds of the state's renewable generation. Hydroelectric power provides almost all of the remaining renewable generation.91 The state's wood waste and sugar cane residue provide ample feedstock for several wood pellet manufacturing plants.92,93

Louisiana has a small amount of distributed (customer-sited, small-scale) solar photovoltaic (PV) generation,94 which provided all of the state's solar electricity generation in 2016.95 State tax credits for installation of distributed solar systems, which were first available in 2008, ended on January 1, 2018.96,97 Louisiana has little wind potential.98 In 2013, the state legislature repealed state tax credits for the development of wind systems.99

The Louisiana Public Service Commission initiated a renewable energy pilot program in 2010 to determine whether a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requiring a certain amount of electricity come from renewables was suitable for the state. In 2013, the commission concluded that Louisiana did not need a mandatory RPS.100 Louisiana has other policies designed to encourage renewable energy and energy efficiency, including voluntary electric utility efficiency programs, energy standards for public buildings, and net metering.101 Distributed installations of up to 25 kilowatts using solar PV, wind, biomass, and other renewable technologies are eligible for utility net metering, but total consumer capacity connected to the system is limited to 0.5% of each utility's load. Because Louisiana's customer demand for distributed connections has exceeded that limit, the state is studying how to accommodate additional distributed facilities.102

Endnotes

1 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Crude Oil Proved Reserves, Reserve Changes, and Production, Proved Reserves as of 12/31, Annual, 2010-15.
2 U.S. EIA, Estimated Dry Natural Gas contained in Total Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Proved Reserves as of Dec. 31, Annual, 2010-15.
3 NETSTATE, Louisiana, The Geography of Louisiana, updated February 25, 2016.
4 U.S. Geological Survey, National Water Summary on Wetland Resources, State Summary Highlights, Louisiana, accessed January 24, 2018.
5 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2016 (November 15, 2017), Table 15, Recoverable Coal Reserves at Producing Mines, Estimated Recoverable Reserves, and Demonstrated Reserve Base by Mining Method, 2016.
6 Gilliam, Bobby, "Louisiana Lignite Mining in the Wake of the Haynesville Shale," LSU Journal of Energy Law and Resources (Fall 2013).
7 Louisiana, Department of Natural Resources, Renewable Energy Resource: Louisiana, Biomass (July 18, 2006), p. 4-8.
8 Keim, Barry, "Louisiana-The Wettest State in the Contiguous United States," Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, accessed January 24, 2018.
9 NETSTATE, Louisiana, Louisiana Economy, updated December 19, 2017.
10 U.S. EIA, Louisiana, Rankings: Total Energy Consumed per Capita, 2015.
11 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Consumption, Table C10, Energy Consumption Estimates by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2015.
12 NETSTATE,Louisiana Economy, updated December 19, 2017.
13 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Consumption, Table C10, Energy Consumption Estimates by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2015.
14 Current Results, Winter Temperature Averages for Every State, accessed January 24, 2018.
15 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Consumption, Table C10, Energy Consumption Estimates by End-Use Sector, Ranked by State, 2015.
16 U.S. EIA, Residential Energy Consumption Survey (2015), Air Conditioning, Table HC7.8.
17 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Consumption, Table C13, Energy Consumption Estimates per Capita by End-User Sector, Ranked by State, 2015.
18 U.S. EIA, U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Year-end 2015 (December 14, 2016), Table 7. Crude Oil Proved Reserves, Reserves Changes, and Production, 2015.
19 U.S. EIA, Crude Oil Production, Annual-Thousand Barrels per Day, 2011-16.
20 Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, Louisiana Oil & Gas History, Jennings Field, accessed January 24, 2018.
21 U.S. EIA, Louisiana Field Production of Crude Oil, Annual, Thousand Barrels per Day, 1981-2016.
22 National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, Staff Working Paper No. 1, Draft, A Brief History of Offshore Oil Drilling, p. 2.
23 U.S. EIA, Crude Oil Production, Annual-Thousand Barrels per Day, PADD 3, Federal Offshore, 2011-16.
24 U.S. EIA, Crude Oil Proved Reserves, Reserve Changes, and Production, Proved Reserves as of 12/31, Annual, Federal Offshore, Gulf of Mexico (Louisiana & Alabama), 2011-16.
25 U.S. EIA, Top 100 U.S. Oil and Gas Fields (March 2015), p. 5-7.
26 U.S. EIA, Gulf of Mexico Fact Sheet, Energy Infrastructure with Real-time Storm Information, Layer: crude oil pipelines, accessed January 24, 2018.
27 U.S. Department of Energy, Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Comparing the Impacts of the 2005 and 2008 Hurricanes on U.S. Energy Infrastructure (February 2009).
28 National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, Deep Water, The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling (January 2011), p. 17, 167-169.
29 U.S. Department of the Interior, Reforms Since the Deepwater Horizon Tragedy, accessed January 25, 2018.
30 U.S. EIA, Petroleum and Other Liquids, Company Level Imports (monthly, through November 2017, 2016).
31 Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, All About LOOP, accessed January 25, 2018.
32 Crude Oil Quality Association, Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, meeting presentation, slides 4 and 13, accessed January 24, 2018.
33 LOOP, LLC, History, accessed January 24, 2018.
34 LOOP, LLC, Cavern Storage, accessed January 24, 2018.
35 LOOP, LLC, Tank Storage, accessed January 24, 2018.
36 LOOP, LLC, LOOP Connectivity, accessed January 24, 2018.
37 Hampton, Liz, "Louisiana Offshore Oil Port Seeks to Export Crude by Early 2018," Reuters (July 24, 2017).
38 U.S. Department of Energy, Fossil Energy, SPR Quick Facts, accessed January 24, 2018.
39 U.S. EIA, Number and Capacity of Petroleum Refineries, Number of Operating Refineries, Annual (as of January 1), 2012-17.
40 U.S. EIA, Number and Capacity of Petroleum Refineries, Atmospheric Crude Oil Distillation Operable Capacity, Annual (as of January 1), 2012-17.
41 U.S. EIA, Downstream Charge Capacity of Operable Petroleum Refineries, Louisiana, Annual (as of January 1), 2012-17.
42 Louisiana, Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Crude Oil Refinery Survey Report, 2014 Survey (January 5, 2016), Figure 5, Historical Crude Oil Sources for Louisiana Refineries, p. 16.
43 Louisiana, Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Crude Oil Refinery Survey Report, 2014 Survey (January 5, 2016), p. 7.
44 Kinder Morgan, Plantation Pipe Line Company, accessed January 24, 2018.
45 Pipeline 101, Where are Liquids Pipelines Located? Region 4, accessed January 24, 2018.
46 Louisiana, Department of Natural Resources, Louisiana Energy Facts Annual, 2016 (February 10, 2017), p. D 23.
47 Scott, Loren, The Energy Sector: Still a Giant Economic Engine for the Louisiana Economy—An Update (2014), Loren C. Scott & Associates, p. 17.
48 U.S. EIA, State Energy Data System, Consumption, Table C11, Energy Consumption Estimates by Source, Ranked by State, 2015.
49 U.S. Census Bureau, Table 1, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 (NST-EST2015-01).
50 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals and Production, Marketed Production, Annual-Million Cubic Feet, 2011-16.
51 U.S. EIA, Estimated Dry Natural Gas Contained in Total Natural Gas Proved Reserves, Proved Reserves as of Dec. 31, Annual, 2010-15.
52 U.S. EIA, Drilling Productivity Report (January 16, 2018), Production by Region.
53 U.S. EIA, "Haynesville Shale Gas Production Increases to its Highest Levels Since End of 2013," Today in Energy (October 27, 2017).
54 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Volumes Delivered to Customers, Annual, 2011-16.
55 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Louisiana, Annual, 2011-16.
56 Pipeline 101, Pipelines Map, Region 4 (Mississippi Delta) Natural Gas Pipelines, accessed January 25, 2018.
57 U.S. EIA, International and Interstate Movements of Natural Gas by State, Louisiana, Annual, 2011-16.
58 Sabine Pipe Line LLC, The Henry Hub and NYMEX Connection, accessed January 25, 2018.
59 U.S. EIA, Underground Natural Gas Storage Capacity, Total Number of Existing Fields, Annual, 2011-16.
60 U.S. EIA, Underground Natural Gas Storage Capacity, Total Storage Capacity, Annual, 2011-16.
61 U.S. EIA, "Cold Weather, Higher Exports Result in Record Natural Gas Demand," Today in Energy (January 5, 2018).
62 U.S. EIA, "Natural Gas Power Generation Grew in Southern State for a Decade as Coal Declined," Today in Energy (December 5, 2017).
63 U.S. EIA, Louisiana Natural Gas Underground Storage Net Withdrawals, January 1990-October 2017, accessed January 25, 2018.
64 "DOE: Cheniere's Sabine Pass LNG Exports Reach 89.44 Bcf," LNG World News (October 18, 2016).
65 Bloomberg News, "U.S. Will Soon Double Shale LNG Exports," WorkBoat (October 13, 2016).
66 Cheniere, Sabine Pass LNG Terminal, Liquefaction Facilities: Trains 1-6, accessed February 5, 2018.
67 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, North American LNG Import/Export Terminals, Existing, updated January 25, 2018.
68 Energy Transfer, Lake Charles LNG, Investment in Lake Charles, accessed January 26, 2018.
69 Cheniere, Sabine Pass LNG Terminal, updated June 20, 2016.
70 Cameron LNG, About the Terminal, accessed January 26, 2018.
71 "Excelerate Energy to Retire Gulf Gateway LNG Port," Oil & Gas Journal (April 18, 2011).
72 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Louisiana, Annual, 2011-16.
73 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Louisiana, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2012-16 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
74 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Louisiana, Annual, 2011-16.
75 U.S. EIA, Natural Gas Consumption by End Use, Pipeline and Distribution Use, Annual, c2011-16.
76 U.S. EIA, U.S. Coal Reserves, Table 16, Recoverable Coal Reserves at Producing Mines, Estimated Recoverable Reserves, and Demonstrated Reserve Base by Mining Method, 2016.
77 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Report 2016 (November 2017), Tables 1 and 6.
78 U.S. EIA, Quarterly Coal Report (October-December 2016), Table 13, U.S. Coal Exports by Customs District. Pub title italics
79 Cleco, Power Plants, Regulated Power Plants, Dolet Hills Power Station, accessed January 26,2018.
80 U.S. EIA, Annual Coal Distribution Report 2016 (November 2017), Domestic distribution of U.S. coal by destination State, consumer, destination and method of transportation, Louisiana.
81 U.S. Census Bureau, Table 1, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 (NST-EST2015-01).
82 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Table 5.4.B.
83 U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder, Louisiana, Table B25040, House Heating Fuel, 2012-16 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
84 U.S. EIA, Residential Energy Consumption Survey (2015), Housing characteristics tables, Table HC7.8.
85 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Tables 1.3.B, 1.7.B.
86 U.S. EIA, Net Generation for All Sectors, Louisiana, Annual, 2001-16.
87 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Tables 1.3.B,1.9.B.
88 U.S. EIA, Net Generation for All Sectors, Louisiana, Annual, 2001-16.
89 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Table 1.3.B.
90 U.S. EIA, Louisiana Electricity Profile 2016, Table 10, Supply and disposition of electricity, 1990-2016.
91 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Tables 1.3.B, 1.10.B, 1.11.B, 1.15.B.
92 "Drax Biomass: LaSalle BioEnergy Begins Pellet Production," Biomass Magazine (November 30, 2017)
93 U.S. Pellet Plants, Biomass Magazine, updated May 17, 2017.
94 Solar Energy Industries Association, Louisiana Solar, accessed January 27, 2018.
95 U.S. EIA, Electric Power Monthly (February 2017), Table 1.17.B.
96 NC Clean Energy Technology Center, DSIRE, Tax Credit for Solar Energy Systems on Residential Property (Personal), Louisiana, updated October 6, 2016.
97 Larino, Jennifer, "Louisiana Has No More Tax Credits for Solar Owners," NOLA.com (July 20, 2016).
98 U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, WINDExchange, Louisiana Wind Resource Map and Potential Wind Capacity, updated September 24, 2015.
99 Woolfarth, Robert, "Spotlight on Louisiana: Louisiana Legislature Reduces its Tax Credit for Wind and Solar Energy Systems," Baker Donelson (October 3, 2013).
100 U.S. Department of Energy, Renewable Energy Pilot Program, Louisiana, accessed January 27, 2018.
101 NC Clean Energy Technology Center, DSIRE, Programs, Louisiana, accessed January 27, 2018.
102 NC Clean Energy Technology Center, DSIRE, Net Metering, Louisiana, updated January 17, 2017.