Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted June 18, 2020
As the U.S. and world confront the unprecedented combination of a public health crisis, significant economic downturn and tumultuous domestic and global oil markets, we have seen oil demand, prices, and consequently drilling and production fall by historic amounts.
Overall, we see market forces at work, with a re-balancing of supply and demand to historic proportions despite great uncertainties. The underlying fundamentals appear to be constructive and should position the U.S. natural gas and oil industry to participate in an economic recovery. And if the third-party consensus is correct the next year or so could bring positives for U.S. and global energy.
Posted May 21, 2020
After crude oil futures prices plunged into negative territory for a day last month, there was a good deal of speculation that the same thing could happen this month. Some even pointed to the April futures meltdown as a “doomsday” scenario for U.S. natural gas and oil.
Well, a number of things happened on the way to oil’s “doomsday.”
At the outset, let’s note that what happened with futures in April didn’t repeat this month. Oil futures prices for June delivery of West Texas Intermediate crude, whose contracts expired Tuesday, closed at $32.50 per barrel – about 300% higher than they did for those contracts a month ago. Let’s explore why.
Posted May 14, 2020
API’s latest Monthly Statistical Report (MSR) has positive news; it just takes a close look to find it.
One example: Weekly petroleum demand data (MSR and U.S. Energy Information Administration), as measured by total domestic petroleum deliveries, indicates that the worst impacts on our industry from COVID-19 and measures to contain it may be behind us, occurring in mid-April.
We won’t know for sure until we see data for May in next month’s MSR. But EIA’s Weekly Petroleum Status Report (WPSR), shows that demand rebounded by 3.0 million barrels per day (mb/d) as of May 8, from the low point in the week of April 10 (lowest demand for April since 1970). With more than 30 states in various stages of re-opening, demand could be expected to increase along with rising economic activity.
Posted April 16, 2020
Amid talk in Texas of production quotas (“proration”) and other extreme policies that have been suggested to address the oil demand downturn, API’s Monthly Statistical Report (MSR) shows that supply is responding in real time and that U.S. crude and refined storage capacities have some flexibility to adjust to the COVID-19 driven demand decrease – helping to alleviate the need for blanket policies or government interventions.
Notably, recent federal actions may help provide additional flexibility to the entire energy value chain. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy’s opening of crude oil storage capacity within the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to individual companies provides much-needed flexibility. Separately, Federal Reserve measures to either purchase corporate bonds or provide loans may perform additional triage for the energy industry and across the broader economy.
Posted March 26, 2020
Supply networks for refined products – including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel – appear to be responding properly and flexibly to sudden and sharp declines for transportation fuel stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) and global efforts to slow its spread.
Market conditions can shift, yet API’s view at this point is that most refined products markets have continued to function well in keeping about a month’s worth of storage.
We gauge this in part by comparing recent inventory levels for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel with their ranges over the past five years. Although some products appear to have more available storage capacity than others, if needed, it also is apparent that the pace at which refiners produce fuels can provide additional adjustments which will affect demand for storage.
Posted March 19, 2020
As much as any other sector, global energy has felt the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) combined with lowering world demand and Russia and Saudi Arabia raising oil supply. We’ve seen crude oil prices cut in half within three months, which if sustained could rank among the most severe oil price downturns on record. Let’s discuss the most significant points for U.S. consumers, industry and the broader economy.
Details may be found in API’s latest Monthly Statistical Report, based on February U.S. petroleum data. Using weekly surveys of 90% of the natural gas and oil industry, we publish monthly data and analysis two months ahead of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Posted March 12, 2020
Global oil markets have shifted dramatically in recent days and weeks, and the stakes are high for the United States energy revolution, retirement savings and the broader economy.
Let’s start with crude oil prices. Per Bloomberg, the per-barrel price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) on March 9 was about half of what it was on Dec. 31, falling to $31.13 from $61.06.
Posted March 11, 2020
Several states are taking the lead to promote electric vehicles (EVs), and they’re not the states that produce them. From California and Oregon to New Jersey and Maryland, their promotions are mainly efforts intended to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
But even with large state incentives, are consumers onboard?
Posted February 3, 2020
So far this year, U.S. natural gas prices at Henry Hub have made for the lowest January record in over 45 years, adjusted for consumer price inflation.
As of Jan. 29, the U.S. natural gas spot price at Henry Hub was $1.94 per million Btu – nearly 35% below the price of one year ago and 76% lower than in 2008.
In fact, we know from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that U.S. households saved an average of more than $120 per year on natural gas in 2018 compared with 2008. That’s $10 per month for more than 127,000,000 households – or $52 billion less spending on home and water heating.
Posted January 10, 2020
API’s new State of American Energy report illustrates how abundant U.S. natural gas and oil is empowering economic growth and opportunity across the country – and the potential harm to these benefits if fracking is banned, as some presidential candidates have promised to do.
The Washington Post’s Dino Grandoni has an analysis taking exception to the latter point, that banning hydraulic fracturing – the technology most responsible for launching the U.S. energy revolution – would seriously damage the U.S. economy, raise energy costs for American consumers and could likely trigger a recession at home and harm the global economy.
As an economist I would argue that an economic study isn’t needed to validate API’s point about a fracking ban. History shows what would happen if natural gas and oil production from the world’s leading producer was undercut by a fracking ban. According to independent studies, a sudden and enduring return to oil with triple-digit prices is the likely risk.