Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted February 19, 2019
A profound shift has taken place in North American oil markets over the past few months that’s now affecting trade between the United States and its biggest crude oil supplier, Canada.
It involves supplies of heavier crude oil – important for the manufacture of a multitude of everyday products consumers use, from local road surfaces to the roofing for their houses. While the U.S. is producing domestic crude at record levels, there’s still a need for heavier crudes.
With heavy oil from Venezuela declining for years, the importance of close ties with Canada and especially the oil-producing province Alberta has increased. Unfortunately, Alberta’s decision to limit oil production appears to be advancing uneconomic outcomes, where some U.S. refiners signaled they’ll shift away from Canadian heavy crude oil and seek supply elsewhere.
Posted February 14, 2019
API’s Monthly Statistical Report (MSR), based on January data, is a good news/challenging news proposition.
First the good. January data tell us the U.S. has never produced more oil (11.9 million barrels per day, mb/d) and natural gas liquids (4.9 mb/d).
At the same time, U.S. refineries ran at their highest rates (93 percent capacity utilization) and produced the most they ever have for the month of January (17.3 mb/d). Moreover, domestic gasoline demand also was the greatest on record for the month of January (8.9 mb/d). These are terrific milestones. ... But some interesting challenges also emerged.
Posted January 14, 2019
The U.S. set new natural gas and oil production and export records in the fourth quarter of 2018, even as the administration's trade war with China continued to escalate. As 2018 trade figures have become clear, an emerging consequence was decreased U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes to China, which fell by around 20 percent from 2017, as these shipments became subject to a 10 percent Chinese import tariff effective Sept. 24.
Americans should care about the health of these U.S. natural gas exports because growing markets for domestic natural gas can generate economic growth at home by helping stimulate additional natural gas development, more than is needed to supply domestic demand; attract multi-billion-dollar U.S. investments in infrastructure – including pipelines, natural gas processing, LNG liquefaction, export facilities and shipping – and the high-quality jobs and wages that accompany these; and more.
Posted December 20, 2018
Remarkable production figures in API’s latest Monthly Statistical Report illustrate the breadth and depth of the U.S. energy revolution and translate into economic growth and increased U.S. security in the world. In the past, U.S. production data sometimes included an asterisk – leading in some scenarios but not others. The figures above pretty much eliminate the “ifs,” “ands” or “buts” associated with any discussion of U.S. energy muscularity.
Consider this: U.S. production of NGLs – liquid fuels produced with natural gas such as ethane, propane, butane and others – makes the U.S. natural gas industry the world’s No. 4 oil producer (behind the U.S., Russia and Saudi Arabia).
Posted December 11, 2018
As debates continue over the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its ethanol mandates, let’s remember that when the RFS was enacted more than a decade ago it was supposed to jumpstart a commercially viable cellulosic ethanol industry – ethanol made from the leaves, stems and other fibrous parts of a plant.
This has not happened. Far from it. Despite increased mandates under the RFS for cellulosic ethanol, those mandates have dwarfed actual production. The result is a costly proposition for American consumers and an object lesson on what can happen when government tries to use policy to favor a certain technology. Let’s explore the issue.
Posted November 30, 2018
With the Edison Electric Institute celebrating 1 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads with a forum event in Washington, D.C., let’s talk, again, about some EV realities – which is important as the buzz around EVs grows. Let’s discuss subsidies, real consumer costs, emissions and batteries.
Posted November 21, 2018
Recent headlines on natural gas prices may leave Americans feeling whipsawed by marketplace fluctuations (see here and here). So, let’s look at what’s been going on with natural gas this year. But first, four points to keep in mind:Affordable natural gas has saved the average household more than $100 per year in recent years; (2) most consumers are typically insulated from wholesale price variations – the focus of recent news coverage; (3) price increases this month to date are mainly the result of lower inventories coupled with cold weather forecasts that, of course, can change suddenly; and (4) recent price movements in natural gas futures are well within the ranges seen during the resurgence in U.S. energy production
Posted November 20, 2018
Posted November 15, 2018
Earlier this year we pointed out that a roller coaster of emerging economic factors could affect oil markets and, ultimately, consumers – and we were correct.
Rising interest rates, trade and tariff disputes, near decade-high U.S. dollar appreciation and potential financial market uncertainties have become pronounced over the past few months, affecting global crude oil markets and producing the strongest correlation between financial markets and oil prices in years.
Posted October 30, 2018
There has been a recent flurry of news about whether the Trump administration will succeed in easing the rollout of new international rules to power commercial ships with environmentally cleaner fuels.
The main fear is the change of rules could drive up demand and prices for low-sulfur fuels like diesel fuel – and ultimately the costs to consumers and businesses for their motor fuels, transportation, and everything that depends on them.