Last updateThu, 14 Dec 2017 8pm


House Passes Bill to Expand Hydropower

The Hydropower Policy Modernization Act (H.R. 3043) passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 257-166. This bill would streamline the hydropower relicensing process by allowing FERC to extend preliminary 4-year permits for hydropower projects and require FERC to establish a process for setting a schedule for a licensing review.

H.R. 3043 “gives licensees the incentive to invest in technological upgrades to a licensed project and to undertake environmental measures beyond the requirements of the existing license – all in an environmentally-sensitive manner,” said Avista Corp. in a letter of support. 

EIA Forecasts Growth in World Nuclear Electricity Capacity

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that global nuclear capacity will grow at an average annual rate of 1.6% from 2016 through 2040, led predominantly by countries outside of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). EIA expects China to continue leading world nuclear growth, followed by India. This growth is expected to offset declines in nuclear capacity in the U.S., Japan and countries in Europe.

Electricity demand growth plays a central role in decisions to build new nuclear reactors and retire existing reactors. EIA expects electricity demand growth in China, India and the Middle East to exceed growth in the U.S., Europe and Japan. 

Texas Oil & Gas Producers Continue to Recover

According to the Texas Petro Index, the state’s crude oil production in September 2017 totaled more than 103.4 MMbbl, 11.6% more than in September 2016. Estimated Texas natural gas output declined 2.7% compared to September 2016 to slightly more than 639.4 Bcf.

An estimated average of 222,925 Texans remained on upstream oil and gas industry payrolls, about 16.1% more than the revised average of 192,025 in September 2016, but about 24.5% fewer than the estimated high of 295,168 in December 2014. 

U.S. Chemicals Industry “Rocketing Back”

“A decade ago, chemicals were just another fading U.S. manufacturing business. Companies were reluctant to invest in new factories because of soaring prices for the oil and natural gas that serve as both raw materials and power sources,” Bloomberg reports.

“Today, Dow, Exxon Mobil Corp., and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. are putting the finishing touches on multibillion-dollar factories along the Texas Gulf Coast. The plants are part of $185 billion in proposed and recently completed investments,” according to the American Chemistry Council. 

China Leads Growth in Global Natural Gas Consumption

Global natural gas consumption is expected to grow from 340B cubic feet per day (cf/d) in 2015 to 485B cf/d by 2040, primarily in countries in Asia and in the Middle East, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). China accounts for more than a quarter of all global natural gas consumption growth between 2015 and 2040.

The projected growth in natural gas consumption in China is driven by environmental policies, relative cost competitiveness of natural gas in the industrial and transportation sectors, and relatively high economic growth. EIA projects China’s natural gas consumption to grow from 19B cf/d in 2015 to 57B cf/d in 2040, surpassing all other countries except the U.S. 

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