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Today in Energy

May 14, 2021

In 2020, U.S. exports of fuel ethanol fell for the second consecutive year

U.S. annual fuel ethanol exports by destination
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly

The United States exported 87,000 barrels per day (b/d) of fuel ethanol in 2020, marking the second consecutive annual drop in U.S. fuel ethanol exports and the lowest level since 2015. U.S. fuel ethanol imports also decreased in 2020. In 2020, the United States exported more fuel ethanol than it imported for the 11th consecutive year.

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May 13, 2021

Coal transported to the U.S. electric power sector declined by 22% in 2020

U.S. coal shipments to the electric power sector by transport mode
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Power Plant Operations Report
Note: Other includes pipeline, other waterway, Great Lakes barge, tidewater pier, and coastal ports. Multimode rail includes some movement over railways; multimode nonrail uses multiple modes that do not include railway. Data for 2020 are preliminary.

The U.S. electric power sector received 428 million short tons (MMst) of coal in 2020, the lowest annual level for that sector since we began publishing this data in 2007. U.S. coal shipments were down 22% in 2020 from 2019 levels, driven by lower overall electricity demand due to responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the continued decline in U.S. coal-fired capacity and generation. More than two-thirds (67%) of the coal that was delivered to the U.S. electric power sector in 2020 was shipped either completely or in part by rail; the remainder was shipped by river barge, truck, or other methods.

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May 12, 2021

EIA forecasts less natural gas-fired electricity generation this summer

U.S. electric power sector electricity generation by fuel
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO)

We published a Summer Electricity Outlook supplement, which provides more detail about our forecasts for U.S electricity consumption, power generation, and electricity prices for the upcoming summer months of June, July, and August, to our May Short-Term Energy Outlook. In this outlook, we forecast U.S. natural gas-fired generation during the summer of 2021 will total 420 billion kilowatthours (kWh), representing 37% of total generation compared with 42% last summer. Forecast U.S. coal generation will rise to 289 billion kWh this summer, representing an increase in generation share from 22% last summer to 26% this summer.

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May 11, 2021

Cyberattack halts fuel movement on Colonial petroleum pipeline

Petroleum product supply overview for the U.S. Gulf Coast and East Coast regions, showing the location of key pipeline infrastructure
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, East Coast and Gulf Coast Transportation Fuels Markets
Note: Map updated to reflect changes in U.S. refineries since initial report.

Colonial Pipeline, a major delivery system spanning from the U.S. Gulf Coast to the East Coast for transportation fuels and other refined petroleum products, halted operations on Friday, May 7, to contain the effects of a cyberattack. As of Monday, May 10, the pipeline had not resumed operations of its main lines, although some smaller lines are operational. The company announced that it hopes to restore service by the end of the week.

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May 10, 2021

February 2021 weather triggers largest monthly decline in U.S. natural gas production

United States and Texas monthly natural gas production
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Monthly

In February 2021, a record-breaking cold snap hit the Lower 48 states. Extreme winter weather caused natural gas production freeze-offs and higher electricity and commodity prices, especially in the top energy-consuming state, Texas. The cold snap affected natural gas production and industrial sector consumption the most, which had the largest monthly declines on record, while residential sector consumption reached a record high.

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May 7, 2021

Average Texas electricity prices were higher in February 2021 due to a severe winter storm

average monthly electricity price in Texas, by customer sector
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Electric Power Industry Report
Note: Data are preliminary.

In February 2021, extreme winter weather affected energy supply and demand in Texas, resulting in higher electricity prices for some customers. According to preliminary data from EIA’s most recent Electric Power Monthly, the average February electricity price was higher for all customer sectors in Texas compared with the same time last year.

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May 6, 2021

Energy production in the United States fell by more than 5% in 2020

U.S. total energy production
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review

In 2020, energy production in the United States fell to just below 96 quadrillion British thermal units (quads), down more than 5% from 2019’s record high, according to our Monthly Energy Review. In absolute terms, the drop from 101.3 quads in 2019 to 95.8 quads in 2020 marked the largest annual decrease in U.S. energy production on record. Economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic that began during the spring of 2020 drove most of this decrease.

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May 5, 2021

U.S. crude oil imports from OPEC are down, but imports from Canada remain high

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

Voluntary OPEC production cuts have been contributing to reduced U.S. crude oil imports from OPEC so far in 2021. Comparatively stable U.S. crude oil imports from Canada, however, have been mostly the result of longer-term trends. Between 2005 and 2020, U.S. crude oil imports from OPEC members decreased rapidly, but imports from non-OPEC members remained relatively high. In particular, U.S. crude oil imports from Canada more than doubled to average 3.6 million b/d in 2020, which was more than the combined total of crude oil imports from all other countries.

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May 4, 2021

U.S. imports of biomass-based diesel increased 12% in 2020

U.S. biomass-based diesel imports from country of origin
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly (biodiesel and renewable diesel)

U.S. imports of biomass-based diesel, which include biodiesel and renewable diesel, grew 12% in 2020 to more than 31,000 barrels per day (b/d), increasing for the second consecutive year. Imports of biomass-based diesel increased in 2020 because of growing demand to meet government renewable fuel programs. U.S. consumption of biomass-based diesel, unlike demand for other fuels, remained relatively unaffected by responses to COVID-19 during 2020.

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May 3, 2021

U.S. spent nuclear fuel inventory steadily increased from 2013 through 2017

spent nuclear fuel discharged and stored at U.S. commercial reactors
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Nuclear Fuel Data Survey

The volume of spent nuclear fuel produced by nuclear power plants in the United States has steadily increased during the past few decades. The volume of spent nuclear fuel at the end of 2017 was 13.5% metric tons more than at the end of June 2013, according to newly released data from EIA’s Nuclear Fuel Data Survey. The survey data contain information on the quantity and characteristics of spent nuclear fuel at the time when a reactor discharges it.

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