Energy Tomorrow Blog
Posted May 1, 2019
With summer driving season almost here, nationwide average gasoline prices were $2.88 per gallon as of April 30, according to the American Automobile Association, identical to what they were one year ago when adjusted for price inflation. This good news for consumers is due, at least in part, to record-breaking domestic oil production, which has put downward pressure on global prices for crude oil, the main factor in determining prices as the fuel pump.
While the current price may be the same when you pull up to pump, some notable things have changed behind the scenes.
Posted April 18, 2019
Although we often say energy and economic growth go hand-in-hand, it’s refreshing to highlight tangible examples. API’s new economic indicator, which was first released December 2018, is one to watch.
For the past four months, API’s Distillate Economic Indicator (DEI) has correctly anticipated changes in total U.S. industrial production, which is important to the U.S. economy and ultimately things like jobs, interest rates and the exchange value of the U.S. dollar.
Posted April 10, 2019
Connecting the renaissance in U.S. energy exports and chemical production with barbeques and turkey might not seem automatic, but hear me out. Thanks to the U.S. energy revolution, propane that’s widely used as a fuel for vital heating and cooking has never been more abundant and affordable.
Certainly, the need for affordable energy – available on-demand when and where you need it – is universal and something people I met recently during travels from Washington, D.C. to Minnesota and the Gulf Coast are talking about.
Posted March 25, 2019
For U.S. natural gas, the fourth quarter of 2018 ended with consumers benefiting from the lowest prices in nearly a year – despite the weakest inventories and coldest winter since 2014.
Indeed, recently we’ve seen natural gas prices as low as $2.56 per million Btu (Feb. 5, Bloomberg) corresponding with record high demand of 96.3 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of marketed production for February 2019 and low inventories – 415 billion cubic feet below the five-year average range as of Feb. 1.
It’s remarkable, because this combination of factors ordinarily would raise natural gas prices. The fact that prices fell illustrates the vigor of domestic production, which has soared during the U.S. energy revolution.
Domestic abundance and affordability have been at the heart a truly amazing U.S. natural gas story – one that has seen U.S. producers meet domestic needs and also increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to friends and allies around the world.
Posted February 26, 2019
In case you missed it, let’s echo a recent official U.S. Energy Department projection that the United States should “not only maintain its lead spot as top oil producer, but will greatly exceed what it produced last year in both 2019 and 2020.”
The trajectory of U.S. oil production is significant for U.S. economic growth, energy security and global leadership, and – as we recently discussed oil exports in this post – potentially raises the stakes in the market share battle between the United States and OPEC plus Russia (OPEC+).
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.