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Today in Energy

Sep 22, 2020

U.S. crude oil exports have fallen in each month since their record high in February

U.S. monthly crude oil imports and exports
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly

U.S. crude oil exports reached a record high in February 2020 and have since fallen in each month, based on data through June, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Petroleum Supply Monthly. However, U.S. crude oil exports in the first half of the year are still higher than they were in the first half of 2019. Monthly crude oil imports declined sharply in April before increasing in May and June, but they were still lower in the first half of 2020 compared with the first half of 2019.

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Sep 21, 2020

Industrial sector consumption of natural gas falls amid slowing economy

monthly U.S. natural gas consumption by industrial sector
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Monthly

The consumption of natural gas in the U.S. industrial sector declined from 25.4 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in January 2020 to 20.1 Bcf/d in June 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Natural Gas Monthly. Industrial natural gas consumption in June 2020 was nearly 1.0 Bcf/d lower than its year-ago level. The decline in industrial sector natural gas consumption compared with the previous year began in March 2020, amid responses to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that resulted in a global economic slowdown. Consumption by the industrial sector reached its lowest point in May 2020, falling by 8% compared with 2019. May 2020 consumption of natural gas by U.S. industry marked the largest year-over-year decline since July 2009, during the 2007–2009 recession. Before this year, average U.S. industrial natural gas consumption grew 5.4% in 2018 and was relatively flat (growing 0.1%) in 2019.

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Sep 18, 2020

U.S. nuclear capacity outages were 35% higher in summer 2020 than 2019

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

U.S. nuclear capacity outages averaged 4.2 gigawatts (GW) during the summer of 2020 (June through August), nearly 35% higher than the 2.7 GW average in summer 2019. Summer nuclear outages were at their lowest level from late June to mid-July, averaging 2.3 GW. Outages significantly increased in the latter half of July, peaking in late July at 6.5 GW and peaking again in August at 6.2 GW.

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Sep 17, 2020

EIA survey of energy use by U.S. manufacturers shows increased use of natural gas, HGLs

U.S. manufacturing energy consumption by source
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (MECS)

Preliminary results from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2018 Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (MECS) show that the consumption of energy by manufacturers in the United States has continued to increase since its 2010 low. Natural gas and hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs) led the increase, together accounting for more than half of the sector’s energy consumption in 2018. The U.S. manufacturing sector’s consumption of electricity has also increased slightly since 2010, but consumption of naphtha and fuel oils, coal, coke, and breeze has declined.

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Sep 16, 2020

Average U.S. construction costs for solar and wind generation continue to fall

capacity-weighted average construction costs for electricity generators
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Generator Construction Costs and Annual Electric Generator Inventory

According to 2018 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) for newly constructed utility-scale electric generators in the United States, annual capacity-weighted average construction costs for solar photovoltaic systems and onshore wind turbines have continued to decrease. Natural gas generator costs also decreased slightly in 2018.

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Sep 15, 2020

U.S. natural gas exports have been declining since April

monthly U.S. natural gas trade
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Monthly

In 2017, the United States exported more natural gas than it imported on an annual basis for the first time in nearly 60 years, making it a net natural gas exporter. Since then, U.S. net natural gas exports have more than doubled every year: from 0.3 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017 to 2 Bcf/d in 2018 and to 5.2 Bcf/d in 2019. Although growth in net natural gas exports continued in the first six months of 2020 (compared with the same period in 2019), net exports began declining in spring 2020 as a result of a global economic slowdown amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and related containment efforts. Starting in April, U.S. natural gas traded as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and by pipelines declined significantly, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recently released Natural Gas Monthly, which includes data through June 2020.

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Sep 14, 2020

Fossil fuels account for the largest share of U.S. energy production and consumption

U.S. total energy flow
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review
Note: Click to enlarge.

Fossil fuels, or energy sources formed in the Earth’s crust from decayed organic material, including petroleum, natural gas, and coal, continue to account for the largest share of energy production and consumption in the United States. In 2019, 80% of domestic energy production was from fossil fuels, and 80% of domestic energy consumption originated from fossil fuels.

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Sep 11, 2020

EIA expects U.S. hydroelectric generation to increase in 2020 despite drought conditions

annual U.S. hydroelectric generation
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook

In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that electricity generation from hydroelectric power plants in the United States will grow by 4% in 2020 from 2019 levels, to 280 billion kilowatthours, despite current drought conditions and extensive wildfires in parts of the country, including in the Pacific Northwest.

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Sep 10, 2020

In 2018, U.S. energy expenditures increased for the second consecutive year

U.S. energy expenditures
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, State Energy Data System and Monthly Energy Review

U.S. total energy expenditures, the total amount of money spent directly by consumers to purchase energy, increased for the second year in a row to $1.3 trillion in 2018, according to the latest data in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) State Energy Data System (SEDS). U.S. energy expenditures increased by nearly $200 billion from 2016 to 2018, a 17% increase in real terms, as both energy consumption and average energy prices increased faster than population and gross domestic product (GDP) in the United States.

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Sep 9, 2020

The U.S. continued to produce more light crude oil in 2019 and import less heavy crude oil

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

Total U.S. crude oil production grew by 1.24 million barrels per day (b/d) (11%) in 2019. This increase in production was led by relatively light, less dense crude oil and was largely the result of the growth in crude oil production from shale and tight rock formations. Shale and tight rock formations are now more accessible because of the continued advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. U.S. refinery inputs have also become lighter over the years as refineries use less of the heavier, imported crude oil and more of the lighter, domestically produced crude oil to process into petroleum products.

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