Strong seasonal gas demand this winter for power generation and heating, along with high spot LNG prices in Asia and Europe, are forecast to push up US LNG export volumes. Utilization at Sabine Pass is projected to remain well above 90% in winter 2017–2018, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) anticipates.
In the South of the United States the intensity and speed of gas replacing coal in the power mix has been greater than anywhere else in the country. Over the course of the past ten years, southern states used natural gas for 42% of their electricity generation – substantially more than the U.S. average of 34% – while the share of coal power plunged to 29%.
Exports of natural gas from the United States to Mexico – both by pipeline and shipments of LNG cargoes – have reached an all-time high of just under 7.8 Bcf/d this week, following record high Lower 48 gas production at around 77 Bcf/d at the start of the week. Amid healthy fundamentals, it will now by weather patterns that determine winter gas trading patterns and volumes of US gas exports.
Total energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to continue falling for the second year in 2017 but rise slightly in 2018, according to the EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook. Utilities in Texas and the Midwest are leading the way in cutting emissions by burning less burning coal. In both states a record number of coal-fired power stations were retired, or converted to natural gas.
China and India will continue to lead world nuclear growth as their impetus is expected to offset declines in nuclear capacity in the United States, Japan, and countries in Europe. According to the EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2017 (IEO2017), global nuclear capacity will grow at an average annual rate of 1.6% from 2016 through 2040.
Uncertainty about future battery technology, government policies, consumer preferences make it difficult to predict the long-term effects that both battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles (EVs) may have on worldwide energy consumption. In 2015, sales reached 1.2 million worldwide which is less than 1% of all vehicles used globally, but this level could almost double by 2040, according to EIA analysis.
More active drilling rigs and higher initial production rates per well in the Haynesville Shale region have pushed up marketed gas production to 6.9 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in September. This marks a new high for Haynesville shale gas production after output hovered around 6.0 Bcf/d for the previous three years, according to figures by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Oct 26 – Production of thermal coal in the United States has slightly to an average of 192 million short tons (MMst) per quarter. According to EIA analysis the drop coincides with coal losing market share to other fuels. In the first half of 2017, coal still accounted for 30% of the U.S. power mix, slightly behind the 31% share of natural gas and the 20% contribution of renewables (including hydro).
Structural change in the U.S. manufacturing sector helps drive a continuous fall in energy intensity: Fuel consumption was up by 4.7%, while real gross output increased by 9.6%, or more than twice that rate, resulting in a 4.4% drop in energy intensity, according to EIA’s Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (MECS).
Profit margins for burning coal and natural gas for power generation – dark & spark spreads – have both declined during the first half of this year. Still, comparing both spreads, according to the EIA analysts, “appear to indicate that natural gas-fired units have been more profitable than coal-fired units recently,” notably at the PJM Western hub.