Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted April 23, 2020
While the natural gas and oil industry focuses on challenges from the historic drop in oil demand due to the impacts of COVID-19, keep an eye on proposals that offer the best support for this industry and, in turn, the U.S. economy and American consumers.
One idea among many – including addressing storage issues and ensuring access to capital – is to look to China as a potential buyer of U.S. energy. Makes sense: In an oversupplied global market, China appears to be a buyer. What’s more, in the “Phase 1” trade deal announced in January, China agreed to buy U.S. crude and liquefied natural gas (LNG), among other energy products.
Today, API sent a letter to the U.S. Commerce and Energy departments and the U.S. Trade Representative to suggest that some good might come from following up with China to buy U.S. energy. The letter notes that U.S. energy exports to targeted markets are essential to help with oversupply and storage issues here at home.
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 20, 2020
As the world copes with a mounting health and economic crisis, America’s natural gas and oil industry remains focused on preserving the health and safety of its workers and delivering critical energy supplies to communities across the country. As an industry, we are committed to operating safely and reliably despite the unpredictable circumstances, implementing contingency plans that ensure the continuity of fuels to market.
These were points of emphasis by emergency preparedness experts at leading energy trade associations during a joint press conference this week that detailed industry readiness and response during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (listen here).
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 January 27, 2020
In his Jan. 10 column, the Houston Chronicle’s Chris Tomlinson took some shots at API’s new Energy for Progress campaign, which I addressed in a letter to the Chronicle’s editor. There’s only so much you can say in the 250 words you’re allotted for an LTE, so I thought I’d tackle Tomlison’s criticisms in greater detail here – actually, the kind of back-and-forth we’re trying to spark in our campaign.
For starters, Chris – like some politicians – fell prey to a tired and inaccurate caricature of the industry and dedicated his column to questioning our industry’s intentions instead of dedicating ink to the actual objectives before modern society – addressing the growing challenge of climate change while also making sure Americans have the energy they need.
Posted September 16, 2019
An attack on a Saudi Arabian oil processing facility over the weekend has knocked out a significant part of Saudi production, at least temporarily, shaking oil markets. The precise amount and duration of the outage remains uncertain, and there are still unknowns about the attack that caused it, which in turn has inflated the risk premium on oil prices due to market fears about what may happen next within the region.
The market’s initial direction is clear, with Brent crude oil up more than $8 per barrel as of 3 p.m. Monday, per Bloomberg. Let’s break down what’s happened in context, recognizing that the U.S. energy revolution has fundamentally added to U.S. and global near-term deliverability of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids, generally helping stabilize the global market against supply disruptions.
Posted August 16, 2018
As we head into what historically is the heart of the annual hurricane season, America’s refiners have never been in a stronger position to deliver the fuels we all need – which is good news for consumers.
According to API’s Monthly Statistical Report (MSR), the refining industry in June eclipsed 18 million barrels per day (b/d) of liquid fuels processed in distillation units and has remained on track for its strongest year on record.
Indeed, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that refinery runs will average 16.9 million b/d this year and 17 million b/d in 2019 – both of which would be records, surpassing the 2017 annual average of 16.6 million b/d.
Posted April 2, 2018
The summer driving season is arriving, so it’s a good time to take stock of recent market dynamics that have raised per-barrel costs for crude oil and consequently gasoline and diesel fuel.Nationwide, the American Automobile Association (AAA) reports that average prices currently are $2.64 per gallon for gasoline (up from $2.54 a month ago) and $2.95 per gallon for diesel fuel (unchanged from last month). While there is nothing particularly special about these figures from an economic perspective, consumers take notice when fuel prices are on the rise. Let’s look at the factors that have affected pump prices in recent years.
Posted September 18, 2017
Much of the energy-related news from hurricane-recovery areas of Texas and Florida continues to be encouraging. Shell said it was restarting its Deer Park refinery in the Houston area that was shut down three weeks ago with the approach of Hurricane Harvey. ExxonMobil said it could start most of the production units at its Beaumont, Texas, refinery later this week. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott said pre-Hurricane Irma preparations and a concentrated focus on refueling the state’s communities have shown progress.