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Oct 18, 2019

Natural gas inventories surpass five-year average for the first time in two years

Lower 48 natural gas inventories
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report

Working natural gas inventories in the Lower 48 states totaled 3,519 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending October 11, 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR). This is the first week that Lower 48 states’ working gas inventories have exceeded the previous five-year average since September 22, 2017. Weekly injections in three of the past four weeks each surpassed 100 Bcf, or about 27% more than typical injections for that time of year.

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Oct 17, 2019

EIA’s Hourly Electric Grid Monitor shows effects of California wildfire-related shutoffs

Pacific Gas and Electric hourly electricity demand
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Hourly Electric Grid Monitor and information compiled from Pacific Gas and Electric Public Safety Power Shutoff event page

Starting on Wednesday, October 9, 2019, California electric utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) shut off electricity to hundreds of thousands of customers in 34 California counties. PG&E had restored electricity to all of those customers by Saturday, October 12. PG&E attributed its decision to shut off electricity to gusty winds and dry conditions in the area, which increases the risk of fires that could be caused or exacerbated by damaged power lines and other electric equipment. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Hourly Electric Grid Monitor shows the effect of the shutoff event within PG&E and on the larger electric grid system in California.

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Oct 16, 2019

U.S. Federal Gulf of Mexico crude oil production to continue to set records through 2020

monthly crude oil production from U.S. federal Gulf of Mexico
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook

U.S. crude oil production in the U.S. Federal Gulf of Mexico (GOM) averaged 1.8 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2018, setting a new annual record. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects oil production in the GOM to set new production records in 2019 and in 2020, even after accounting for shut-ins related to Hurricane Barry in July 2019 and including forecasted adjustments for hurricane-related shut-ins for the remainder of 2019 and for 2020.

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Oct 15, 2019

Northeast natural gas spot prices fall as pipelines fill

natural gas prices for select trading hubs
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Natural Gas Intelligence

Natural gas flows out of the Northeast region into the rest of the United States averaged more than 16 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) during September—between 1 Bcf/d and 2 Bcf/d more than in previous months, according to data from Genscape. The movement of natural gas has increased as natural gas spot prices have declined in the Northeast and as production in Appalachia has continued to grow.

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Oct 11, 2019

Crude oil used by U.S. refineries continues to get lighter in most regions

API gravity of U.S. refinery inputs by region
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Refinery Report

The API gravity of crude oil input to U.S. refineries has generally increased, or gotten lighter, since 2011 because of changes in domestic production and imports. Regionally, refinery crude slates—or the mix of crude oil grades that a refinery is processing—have become lighter in the East Coast, Gulf Coast, and West Coast regions, and they have become slightly heavier in the Midwest and Rocky Mountain regions.

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Oct 10, 2019

California gasoline prices have risen 60 cents per gallon in the past three weeks

U.S., west coast, and California gasoline prices
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update

Gasoline prices in California have increased by a total of 60 cents per gallon (gal) in the past three weeks, according to data in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update. Regular retail gasoline prices averaged $4.09/gal as of Monday, October 7, the highest price for the state since mid-2014. Several refineries in the area are experiencing operational issues, which has limited gasoline production.

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Oct 9, 2019

Recent decrease in U.S. crude oil production was geographically isolated, likely temporary

monthly U.S. crude oil production
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Petroleum Supply Monthly and Short-Term Energy Outlook

Monthly U.S. crude oil production fell by 276,000 barrels per day (b/d) in July 2019, based on the latest data in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Petroleum Supply Monthly. This hurricane-related decrease was the largest decline in monthly crude oil production in more than a decade. The decline was temporary and geographically isolated to the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico. EIA expects that U.S. crude oil production will continue to increase through the remainder of 2019.

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Oct 8, 2019

Winter energy bills in the United States likely to be lower than last year’s

average winter household expenditures for heating fuels
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Winter Fuels Outlook, October 2019
Note: The propane price is the weighted average of Midwest and Northeast prices. All other fuels reflect national averages.

Republished at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct 9 to correct the percent change in propane expenditures.

On average across the United States, households can expect heating expenditures this winter (October through March) to be lower than last winter’s, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Winter Fuels Outlook, released at noon today. EIA expects households that primarily use electricity or natural gas as their heating source to spend slightly less than last winter, households that use heating oil to spend 4% less, and households that use propane to spend 15% less. Only natural gas bills in the South are likely to rise significantly, by about 4%, primarily as a result of higher regional natural gas prices. EIA’s forecast of winter heating expenditures are based on fuel price and consumption forecasts from EIA and weather forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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Oct 7, 2019

Five states have implemented programs to assist nuclear power plants

operating nuclear electricity generating capacity in selected states
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory

In late July 2019, Ohio became the fifth state in the United States to enact policies that provide for compensation or other assistance for in-state nuclear generating plants. Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York have implemented similar support programs for some of their nuclear power plants since 2017. All five state states have unbundled, retail-choice electricity markets where generators do not receive cost recovery from state regulatory commissions. Nuclear power is a significant source of in-state electricity generation in each of these five states.

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Oct 4, 2019

U.S. nuclear outages remained low in summer and moderate in September

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

U.S. nuclear electric generation plant outages averaged 2.7 gigawatts (GW) during the summer of 2019 (June through August), about the same as during the summer of 2018. Nuclear plant availability was at its highest level, meaning that nuclear outages were at their lowest level from late June to early July, averaging 1.2 GW. Although the Three Mile Island Unit 1 retired in late September, daily nuclear outages that month were 67% lower than year-ago levels. Nuclear plants undergo planned outages, usually for maintenance and refueling, or unplanned outages, such as during hurricane-related disruptions.

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