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Today in Energy

March 30, 2020

Several EIA products show what’s happening in current energy markets

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Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Several of EIA’s key products can help inform current energy market dynamics. Here is a brief overview of each one. Today in Energy articles will resume soon.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is the statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. EIA produces energy data and analysis to provide context for how a variety of energy industries serve customers in the United States and abroad. Several of EIA’s surveys of the energy sector are conducted on a monthly or annual basis, but other surveys are conducted on shorter time intervals and can provide insights into current conditions in energy markets.

Petroleum: EIA’s Weekly Petroleum Status Report (WPSR) provides a weekly snapshot of supply information for petroleum fuels such as crude oil, motor gasoline, distillate fuel oil, jet fuel, residual fuel, propane, and other petroleum products. Key series include commercial crude oil inventories, finished motor gasoline product supplied (a proxy for demand), petroleum product inventories, and refinery operations and utilization rates.

The WPSR compiles data from six surveys that cover about 1,200 respondents across the petroleum supply chain: refineries, pipelines, bulk and blending terminals, importers, and fuel ethanol producers. All series present values at the national level; some also present values at the regional level for each of the five Petroleum Administration for Defense Districts (PADDs). Updated WPSR data are released at 10:30 a.m. each Wednesday with values for the previous week. All times listed in this article are in the Eastern time (ET) zone.

EIA’s Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update contains weekly updates of gasoline and diesel prices across the country. Prices are provided for 9 states, 10 cities, and 9 regions (5 PADDs and 4 sub-PADDs) as well as a national average. The Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update is updated each Monday afternoon, reflecting prices as of 8:00 a.m. that morning.

This Week in Petroleum, updated and released every Wednesday afternoon, provides EIA analysis on relevant petroleum market dynamics.

Electricity: EIA’s Hourly Electric Grid Monitor provides hourly data on the electricity grid in the Lower 48 states, including hourly electricity generation by energy source, electricity demand, interchanges, and day-ahead hourly demand forecasts. These series are available for each of the 65 balancing authorities in the Lower 48 states and several subregional areas, for example, those within the grid region covering much of California. The grid monitor allows users to generate custom dashboards they can save and share. Electricity demand is available one hour after the end of each hour. Yesterday’s net generation by energy source and tomorrow’s demand forecasts are available by 10:00 a.m. each day.

Natural gas: EIA’s Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR) provides information on the amount of natural gas held in underground inventories in the Lower 48 states. Each week’s change in the amount of working natural gas in storage serves as a proxy of net injections into and withdrawals from underground storage reservoirs. The WNGSR is EIA’s only designated Principal Federal Economic Indicator and is updated each Thursday at 10:30 a.m. with values reflecting inventory levels as of the previous Friday morning.

Along with the WNGSR, EIA publishes an interactive natural gas storage dashboard that provides daily and weekly contextual information to that report. In addition, EIA’s Natural Gas Weekly Update, also released on Thursday, provides additional EIA insights on current natural gas markets.

Energy maps and cross-fuel dashboards: EIA’s U.S. Energy Mapping System provides the locations of several components of energy infrastructure, such as power plants, petroleum refineries, natural gas processing plants, coal mines, import and export terminals, market hubs, energy pipelines and transmission lines, and oil and gas wells. EIA also has two key regional dashboards that compile data from EIA and third-party sources to provide near real-time information for key energy prices and demand metrics in Southern California and New England. EIA also gathers most of this information for all the states in its State Energy Portal.

Energy prices and other government energy data sources: Some EIA products that compile information from third-party data sources are updated on a daily or weekly basis.

  • EIA’s Status of Nuclear Outages page compiles daily information on the operating status of U.S. nuclear power plants from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  • EIA’s Weekly Coal Production Report compiles weekly coal production estimates from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) as well as carload data from the Association of American Railroads.
  • EIA republishes several energy price series from Refinitiv, the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), and Bloomberg, L.P.: spot prices for gasoline, diesel, propane, kerosene, heating oil, and natural gas as well as futures prices for crude oil, regular gasoline, heating oil, propane, and natural gas.

Short-term market forecasts: The Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) contains EIA’s near-term expectations for several key energy supply, consumption, trade, inventory, and price series. In addition to the forecasts—which show monthly values through the end of 2021—each STEO contains near-term market analysis for crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas markets. The April STEO is scheduled to be released April 7.

Almost all of the data series in the products mentioned above are also available in EIA’s Open Data Application Programing Interface (API), which users can access through open data programs and incorporate into Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets workbooks that they can update shortly after the data are posted.

Principal contributor: Owen Comstock