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Today in Energy

Oct 18, 2018

Natural gas pipeline rupture in Canada affects U.S. energy markets

select energy infrastructure in Canada and the Pacific Northwest
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration Energy Mapping System and IHS Markit
Note: Canadian pipeline map layer is copyright IHS Markit 2018 (all rights reserved).

The October 9, 2018 rupture of Enbridge’s BC natural gas pipeline near Prince George, British Columbia, continues to affect natural gas supply, electricity generation, and petroleum refining in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The BC Pipeline links natural gas production in northeastern British Columbia with distribution markets in Canada as well as Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Imports of natural gas through the pipeline, which in the first half of the year averaged 1.1 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) at the Sumas hub import point, fell to zero for a day after the rupture.

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Oct 17, 2018

Natural gas-fired power plants are being added and used more in PJM Interconnection

PJM electric capacity, capacity factors, and generation
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Power Plant Operations Report

The average annual capacity factors for natural gas-fired generators in the PJM Interconnection—the largest competitive wholesale electricity market in the United States—have increased in recent years, reflecting greater use of natural gas-fired generators in the region.

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Oct 16, 2018

The changing U.S. energy trade balance is still dominated by crude oil imports

U.S. trade in crude oil, petroleum products, natural gas, and coal
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on U.S. Census Bureau Export and Import data

During the past decade, the U.S. trade gap for energy products has narrowed. From 2003 to 2007, the value of energy imports was about 10 times greater than the value of exports. By 2017, imports were only about 1.5 times greater than exports according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Oct 15, 2018

U.S. nuclear plant outages increased in September after remaining low during summer

daily U.S. nuclear capacity outages
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission data

Electric generation capacity losses as a result of U.S. nuclear plant outages were relatively low during much of the 2018 summer, averaging 2.8 gigawatts (GW) from June through August. This year’s seasonal maintenance and refueling cycle began earlier than in recent years, and total nuclear outages averaged 14.5 GW in the last week of September. The earlier-than-expected retirement of the Oyster Creek Generating Station and a temporary plant shutdown related to Hurricane Florence also increased outages in September.

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Oct 12, 2018

Natural gas storage likely to enter winter at lowest levels since 2005

weekly lower 48 working natural gas in underground storage
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report, Short-Term Energy Outlook

EIA forecasts that natural gas inventories will reach 3,263 billion cubic feet (Bcf) at the end of October in its recently released October Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the lowest end-of-October level for U.S. natural gas inventories since 2005. Lingering cold temperatures in April 2018, the coldest April in the past 21 years, delayed the start of the natural gas storage refill season by about four weeks. Coupled with heavy natural gas withdrawals in January 2018, the delayed start to the refill season led to storage levels that have remained lower than the previous five-year minimum. However, late-season injections during the past four weeks have been close to their five-year averages, with injections averaging 81 Bcf compared with the five-year average of 82 Bcf.

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Oct 11, 2018

Combined wind and solar made up at least 20% of electric generation in 10 states in 2017

electricity generated from wind and solar in selected states
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly

Wind and solar electric generation, including small-scale solar photovoltaics, reached or exceeded 20% of total generation in 10 states in 2017. During some months in 2017, wind accounted for more than 50% of in-state electricity generation in Iowa and Kansas, and solar accounted for more than 20% of in-state electricity generation in California. Total annual generation from wind and solar in the United States in 2017 reached 8% for the year and peaked at 11% in April of that year.

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Oct 10, 2018

U.S. home heating bills likely to be slightly higher this winter

heating degree days and average winter household expenditures for heating fuels
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook, Winter Fuels Outlook, October 2018
Note: The propane price is the weighted average of Midwest and Northeast prices. Prices for all other fuels reflect national averages.

Most U.S. households can expect higher heating expenditures this winter (October through March) compared with last winter according to EIA's Winter Fuels Outlook. Higher expected winter heating expenditures are mainly the result of higher prices for heating fuels, as temperatures are expected to be similar to last winter in much of the country. More information about EIA’s expectations for winter fuels prices and expenditures is available in the Short-Term Energy Outlook supplement on winter fuels, released at noon today.

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Oct 9, 2018

The United States continues to increase production of lighter crude oil

monthly lower 48 states crude oil production
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production

As domestic production continues to increase, the average density of crude oil produced in the United States continues to become lighter. The average API gravity—a measure of a crude oil’s density where higher numbers mean lower density—of U.S. crude oil increased in 2017 and through the first six months of 2018. Crude oil production with an API gravity greater than 40 degrees grew by 310,000 barrels per day (b/d) to more than 4.6 million b/d in 2017. This increase represents 53% of total Lower 48 production in 2017, an increase from 50% in 2015, the earliest year for which EIA has oil production data by API gravity.

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Oct 5, 2018

Hurricane path, not just size, can have a large effect on oil and gas production

hurrican season shut-in crude oil and natural gas production
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environment Enforcement

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season produced 13 named storms as of October 5, including 6 hurricanes. The most recent of these storms that made landfall in the United States were Tropical Storm Gordon and Hurricane Florence. Gordon entered the Gulf of Mexico on September 3, triggering the first shut-in oil and natural gas production of the 2018 season. Hurricane Florence struck the East Coast on September 14 and had no impact on Gulf of Mexico production.

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Oct 4, 2018

Both natural gas supply and demand have increased from year-ago levels

U.S. natural gas sources of supply and demand
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Monthly, September 2018

In the first half of 2018, U.S. natural gas supply and demand grew significantly compared to the first half of 2017. According to EIA’s Natural Gas Monthly, natural gas consumption and exports averaged 93.4 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) during the first half of 2018, or 12% greater than during the first half of 2017. Total supply of U.S. natural gas, including domestic production, imports, and storage withdrawals, averaged 93.3 Bcf/d during the first half of 2018, a 12% increase from the first half of 2017.

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