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Today in Energy

May 27, 2020

North American crude oil prices are closely, but not perfectly, connected

selected North American crude oil prices
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Bloomberg L.P. data
Note: All prices except West Texas Intermediate (Cushing) are spot prices.

The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) front-month futures contract for West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the most heavily used crude oil price benchmark in North America, saw its largest and swiftest decline ever on April 20, 2020, dropping as low as -$40.32 per barrel (b) during intraday trading before closing at -$37.63/b. Prices have since recovered, and even though the market event proved short-lived, the incident is useful for highlighting the interconnectedness of the wider North American crude oil market.

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May 26, 2020

EIA forecasts lower U.S. natural gas consumption in 2020

U.S. natural gas consumption by sector
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), May 2020

In the latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that decreases in natural gas consumption in the United States in 2020 will be driven by declines in natural gas used in the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors. In the U.S. electric power sector, EIA forecasts natural gas consumption to decline in the second half of 2020 after growing in the first half of the year.

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May 22, 2020

Daytime electricity demand in New York City most affected by COVID-19 mitigation actions

New York City hourly weekday electricity in February, March, and April
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Hourly Electric Grid Monitor; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Aviation Weather Center and National Centers for Environmental Information

Actions to mitigate the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have caused daily weekday electricity demand in New York City to decrease by 16% in April compared with expected demand, after accounting for seasonal temperature changes. However, decreases in the city’s electricity demand have not occurred uniformly across the day. The largest differences between actual and expected demand have been during daytime weekday hours when many schools and businesses that normally would have been open are now closed.

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May 21, 2020

Most new utility-scale solar in the United States is being built in the South Atlantic

U.S. annual utility-scale solar photovoltaic capacity additions by region
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory

In the past three years, the South Atlantic region of the United States installed more new utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity than any other region of the country. States in the South Atlantic region installed 2.2 gigawatts (GW) of new solar capacity in 2019, more than double the 1.0 GW installed in California, which had the second-highest new solar capacity additions. Despite being home to the strong sun states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada, at 0.9 GW, less solar capacity was installed in the rest of the West region in 2019 than in either the South Atlantic or in California.

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May 20, 2020

The number of active U.S. crude oil and natural gas rigs is at the lowest point on record

weekly U.S. total oil and natural gas rig count
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on data from Baker Hughes Company

Producers were operating the fewest oil and natural gas drilling rigs on record in the United States at 339 on May 12, the lowest level in the Baker Hughes Company’s rig count data series that dates back to 1987. The number of active rigs began sharply decreasing in mid-March as crude oil prices fell: rigs have fallen by 56% (433 rigs) since March 17. Most of the decrease was in oil-focused geologic plays, but natural gas-focused plays also saw significant decreases.

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May 19, 2020

EIA expects record liquid fuels inventory builds in early 2020, followed by draws

quarterly global liquid fuels productionand consumption balance
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), May 2020

As mitigation efforts to contain the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continue to lead to rapid declines in petroleum consumption around the world, the production of liquid fuels globally has changed more slowly, leading to record increases in the amount of crude oil and other petroleum liquids placed into storage in recent months. In its May Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects global inventory builds will be largest in the first half of 2020. EIA estimates that inventory builds rose at a rate of 6.6 million barrels per day (b/d) in the first quarter and will increase by 11.5 million b/d in the second quarter because of widespread travel limitations and sharp reductions in economic activity.

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May 18, 2020

Large battery systems are often paired with renewable energy power plants

count and capacity of renewable plus storage facilities in the United States
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory

Pairing renewable energy generators with energy storage, particularly batteries, is increasingly common as the cost of energy storage continues to decrease. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest inventory of electric generators shows that the number of solar and wind generation sites co-located with batteries has grown from 19 paired sites in 2016 to 53 paired sites in 2019. This trend is expected to continue: according to planned installations reported to EIA, another 56 facilities pairing renewable energy and battery storage will come online by the end of 2023.

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May 15, 2020

EIA expects lower natural gas production in 2020

monthly U.S. marketed natural gas production
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Monthly and Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO)

Updated May 18, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. to revise the forecasted change in production and Henry Hub prices. EIA currently forecasts U.S. natural gas production to average 97.1 Bcf/d in 2020, 2% lower than the 2019 average. A previous version stated the 2020 forecast as 94.3 Bcf/d, or 5% lower than the 2019 average. Corrections to the Henry Hub price were relatively minor. Text and figures have been updated accordingly.

In its May 2020 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that U.S. marketed natural gas production will decrease by 2% in 2020 because of a weakening economic outlook from the impact of efforts to reduce the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). EIA expects U.S. marketed natural gas production to average 97.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2020, down from 99.2 Bcf/d in 2019.

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May 14, 2020

EIA forecasts U.S. crude oil production to fall in 2020 and 2021

U.S. monthly crude oil production
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO)

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects U.S. crude oil production to fall in 2020 and 2021 as efforts to mitigate the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue to result in a steep drop in demand for petroleum products and crude oil prices. In its May Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA forecasts that U.S. crude oil production will average 11.7 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2020 and 10.9 million b/d in 2021. These levels would be 0.5 million b/d and 1.3 million b/d, respectively, lower than the 2019 average of 12.2 million b/d.

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May 13, 2020

EIA expects energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to fall 11% this year

U.S. energy-related co2 emissions
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO)

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will decline by 11% in 2020. If realized, this decline would represent the largest decline in not only percentage but also absolute terms in EIA’s energy-related CO2 series that dates back to 1949. In EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions are forecast to fall more than the 5% decline in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020.

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