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Last updateFri, 18 Aug 2017 1pm

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Dominion Energy Building New Hydroelectric Storage in Virginia

“Dominion Energy is searching for sites in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia where it can build a pumped hydroelectric storage facility,” the Bristol Herald Courier reports.

New bills that have been signed into law “authorize electric utilities, such as Dominion or Appalachian Power, to apply to the Virginia State Corporation Commission for permission to construct pumped hydroelectric storage facilities in Virginia’s coalfield region. At least part of the energy stored in such facilities must be generated by renewable resources, the bills state.” 


Smart Technology Transforming Oil & Gas Industry

“A new cadre of services companies, trying to sell the energy industry on the promise of a more efficient digital age, is fighting to get smart technology onto pipes, tanks, platforms and drills, in some cases deeply discounting prices to gain market share,” the Houston Chronicle reports.

Companies like Emerson, for example, “have long been making digital products, and working to hang onto clients by extending contracts, focusing on service and emphasizing long-term relationships. Others, like the German conglomerate Siemens, are taking a blunter approach to building market share by slashing some retail prices by more than 10 percent.” 

U.S. Refineries Running at Peak Levels

Gross inputs to U.S. petroleum refineries, also referred to as refinery runs, averaged a record high 17.7 million barrels per day (b/d) for the week ending May 26, before dropping slightly to 17.5 million b/d for the week ending June 2 and 17.6 million b/d for the week ending June 9. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), product supplied to the U.S. market as well as inventories and exports are also at relatively high levels.

Weekly U.S. refinery runs have exceeded 17 million b/d only 24 times since EIA began publishing the data series in 1990, and all of those instances have occurred since July 2015. Despite record-high inputs, refinery utilization did not reach a new record, because refinery capacity has increased in recent years. Refinery utilization reached 95% for the week ending May 26, slightly lower than the levels reached in mid-July through mid-August 2015. 

Shale Task Force: Fix Problems Before They Get Worse

The head of a shale task force convened by The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas says in a just released report that “Texas industry leaders, scientists and regulators must identify and understand the environmental and social risk of shale oil and gas drilling before air pollution, water contamination or other effects lead to tighter restrictions that could derail the rebounding industry,” the Houston Chronicle reports.

“Meanwhile, oil and gas industry representatives found their own victories in the report, pointing to sections of the study that said there was little evidence to tie fracking itself — as distinguished from the other parts of shale operations — to drinking water pollution or the exponential rise in Texas earthquakes.” 

U.S. Energy Firms Add Rigs for 22nd Consecutive Week

“U.S. energy firms added oil rigs for a record 22nd week in a row in a year-long drilling recovery but the pace of those additions has slowed in recent months as crude prices dropped to 2017 lows despite OPEC-led efforts to end a global supply glut,” Reuters reports.

According to Baker Hughes, “[d]rillers added six oil rigs in the week to June 16, bringing the total count up to 747, the most since April 2015.” 

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