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Last updateFri, 18 Aug 2017 1pm

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Nuclear Construction Reaches 25-Year High

Last year saw the largest annual increase in nuclear power generation in over 25 years and global nuclear generation rose for the fourth successive year. The world’s operating nuclear reactors continued to have high levels of performance in 2016, with an average capacity factor of 80.5%. The industry has maintained high capacity factors of around 80% for the last 20 years.

However, the World Nuclear Association concludes, if nuclear is going to make a full contribution to future clean electricity supply, action is needed in three key areas: establishing a level playing field in electricity markets; building harmonized regulatory processes; and creating an effective safety paradigm. 


U.S. Crude, Petroleum Exports Have More than Doubled Since 2010

U.S. crude oil and petroleum product gross exports have more than doubled over the past six years, increasing from 2.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2010 to 5.2 million b/d in 2016. Exports of distillate, gasoline, propane, and crude oil have all increased, but at different paces and for different reasons.

Restrictions on exporting domestically produced crude oil were lifted in December 2015, and in 2016, the United States exported an average of 520,000 b/d. U.S. crude oil exports reached 1.1 million b/d in February 2017, the highest monthly level on record. While Canada remains the largest destination for U.S. crude oil exports, Canada’s share of total U.S. crude oil exports has declined, dropping from 92% in 2015 (427,000 b/d) to 58% in 2016 (301,000 b/d). Other leading destinations for U.S. crude oil exports in 2016 included the Netherlands, Curacao, China, Italy and the UK. 

Mountain Valley Pipeline Gets Environmental Approval

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) determined that construction and operation of the Mountain Valley Pipeline would result in some adverse environmental impacts, but the majority of these impacts would be reduced to less-than-significant levels. This determination is based on a review of the information provided by the applicants and further developed from environmental information requests.

The 303-mile, $3.5 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline would move natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale fields in Virginia and West Virginia to U.S. markets.

“Once the U.S. Senate confirms President Donald Trump’s nominees and the commission reaches a quorum, the commissioners will make FERC’s final decision on whether the project can proceed,” the Associated Press reports

Delta Chemical Plant Planned for Houston Area

Braskem will commit up to $675 million in investment capital towards the design and construction of a new facility, named Delta, located next to Braskem's existing production facilities. Construction is expected to begin mid-summer, with the final phase of main construction targeted for the first quarter of 2020.

With the engineering design phase well underway, the new production line will have a manufacturing capacity of 450 kilotons, or the equivalent of approximately 1 billion pounds, per year. Construction will take place on part of the approximate 200 acres of land at Braskem's current La Porte facility footprint which is located 26 miles from Houston

Oil Companies Turn to Data for Better Drilling

“In today's U.S. shale fields, tiny sensors attached to production gear harvest data on everything from pumping pressure to the heat and rotational speed of drill bits boring into the rocky earth,” Reuters reports.

“The industry has long used sophisticated technologies to find oil and gas. But only recently have oil firms pooled data from across the company for wider operating efficiencies - one of many cost-cutting efforts spurred by the two-year downturn in crude oil CLc1 prices.” 

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