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Jul 16, 2020

Canada’s oil production drops to its lowest level since 2016 wildfires

Canada monthly petroleum and other liquids production
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook July 2020

Canada was the world’s fourth-largest producer of petroleum and other liquids in 2019, but in the first half of 2020, Canada’s production declined 20% from its 2019 average of 5.5 million barrels per day (b/d). Canada’s production of petroleum and other liquids declined as a result of low global crude oil prices, reduced demand for crude oil for refined petroleum products in Canada and the United States, and continued production curtailments imposed by the government of Alberta—the province where more than 80% of Canada’s 2019 crude oil production was located.

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Jul 15, 2020

COVID-19 mitigation has delayed construction of some electric generators

delay status for generating units originally planned to start operating within 12 months
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) March and April Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory data, COVID-19 mitigation efforts have resulted in slightly more delays than average in the commercial operation dates of proposed electric generator projects. Based on the average of delays reported in 2018 and 2019, about 20% of the projects scheduled to come online in the next 12 months experienced some delay. In March and April 2020, 21% and 29% of projects, respectively, experienced delays, some of which were attributed to efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Jul 14, 2020

U.S. crude oil and natural gas production in April had biggest monthly decreases in years

U.S. monthly crude oil and natural gas production
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production Report

Production of crude oil and natural gas decreased in the United States in April 2020 by 670,000 barrels per day (b/d) and 2.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), respectively, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Monthly Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production Report. Production declines of that magnitude usually arise only in natural disasters such as hurricanes: the drop in U.S. crude oil production in April was the largest since September 2008 when Hurricanes Gustav and Ike caused production to fall by 1.03 million b/d. The April 2020 decline in natural gas production was the largest monthly decrease since Hurricane Isaac-related shut-ins in August 2012.

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Jul 13, 2020

U.S. Henry Hub natural gas spot prices reached record lows in the first half of 2020

monthly Henry Hub natural gas spot prices
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook

In the first half of 2020, natural gas prices at the U.S. Henry Hub benchmark reached record lows. The average monthly Henry Hub spot price in the first six months of the year was $1.81 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). Monthly prices reached a low of $1.63/MMBtu in June, the lowest monthly inflation-adjusted (real) price since at least 1989. Prices started the year low because of mild winter weather, which resulted in less natural gas demand for space heating. Beginning in March, spring weather and the economic slowdown induced by mitigation efforts for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) contributed to lower demand, further lowering prices.

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Jul 10, 2020

In 2019, the United States produced and consumed record volumes of natural gas

U.S. natural gas flow
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review
Note: Click for full U.S. natural gas flow 2019 diagram.

Natural gas is one of the main sources of energy in the United States. In 2019, U.S. production of dry natural gas increased to almost 34 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) and consumption increased to 31 Tcf—both values were records. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) U.S. natural gas flow diagram shows the magnitude of U.S. natural gas supply (production, imports, and withdrawals from storage) and disposition (consumption, exports, and additions to storage) in 2019.

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Jul 9, 2020

Drop in petroleum demand led to rise in crude oil inventories and low refinery utilization

U.S. crude oil inventories, refinery inputs, and product supplied
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest Petroleum Supply Monthly shows the significant changes in petroleum markets that occurred in April, when most of the United States was under stay-at-home orders to limit the spread of coronavirus. In April, commercial crude oil inventories increased by 46.7 million barrels (10%)—the largest monthly increase in EIA data going back to 1920. U.S. refineries operated at 70% of their capacity, the lowest utilization rate in EIA’s monthly data series dating back to 1985. Demand for finished petroleum products fell to 11.7 million barrels per day (b/d), the lowest level since at least 1981.

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Jul 8, 2020

Mixed water supply conditions affect summer 2020 hydropower outlook in Pacific Northwest

Columbia River Basin water supply forecast by monitoring station
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Northwest River Forecast Center

On June 4, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest River Forecast Center (NWRFC) released its final Pacific Northwest water supply projection for the 2020 water year, which runs from October 2019 to September 2020. The forecast shows above-average water supply in the northern half of the Columbia River Basin and below-average supply in the southern half, the opposite of last year’s forecast. The below-average supply in the southern half could reduce electricity available from hydropower in the lower Columbia River Basin this summer.

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Jul 7, 2020

NERC report outlines how pandemic mitigation could affect electric reliability this summer

Summer 2020 reference margins and anticipated reserve margins in select NERC regions
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) 2020 Summer Reliability Assessment

Despite heightened uncertainty—stemming from efforts to slow the progression of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19)—in demand projections, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's (NERC) recent 2020 Summer Reliability Assessment finds that enough resources are available to meet this summer's projected peak electricity demand in most areas of the country. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has the smallest anticipated reserve margin, but each of the remaining regions exceeds, or substantially exceeds, a 20% anticipated reserve margin.

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Jul 6, 2020

U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico set to rise with completion of the Wahalajara system

Mexico natural gas pipelines
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Comisión National de Hidrocarburos, Mexico

Exports of natural gas to Mexico by pipeline are the largest component of U.S. natural gas trade, accounting for 40% of all U.S. gross natural gas exports in 2019. EIA expects these exports to increase with the completion of the southern-most segment of the Wahalajara system, the Villa de Reyes-Aguascalientes-Guadalajara (VAG) pipeline. VAG began operations in June 2020, connecting new demand markets in Mexico to U.S. natural gas pipeline exports.

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Jul 1, 2020

Nonfossil sources accounted for 20% of U.S. energy consumption in 2019

energy consumption in the United States
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Energy Review

Today in Energy would like to wish you a happy Fourth of July. New articles will resume on Monday, July 6.

Overall energy consumption in the United States totaled 100 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2019, only slightly less than the record set in 2018 and the third-highest level of annual U.S. energy consumption ever. About 20% of U.S. energy consumption in 2019 came from sources other than fossil fuels. Several energy sources hit record consumption values in 2019, based on data in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Monthly Energy Review: natural gas, nuclear, wind, and solar.

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