Last updateWed, 21 Mar 2018 8pm


Chemical Activity Off to Strong Start in 2018

The American Chemistry Council’s Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) expanded 0.5% in January on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis and 0.7% on an unadjusted basis. This follows an upwardly revised 3MMA gain of 0.7% in December and 0.5% in November. The CAB is up 4.0% compared to a year earlier, indicating a robust economy well into the third-quarter of 2018.

In January, following some weather-related stagnation, production-related indicators showed solid improvement. Plastic resins used in packaging and in other consumer and institutional applications also improved, suggesting continued consumer confidence. A robust stock market rally continued to push equity prices higher, while product prices and inventories were also positive. 

FERC Approves PennEast Natural Gas Pipeline

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recognized the need for, and public benefit of, the PennEast Pipeline and issued an order under section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act approving its construction.

The approximately 120-mile pipeline route begins in the Marcellus Shale production area near Dallas, PA, and connects with the existing underground Transcontinental Pipeline near Pennington, NJ. The route includes 24 municipalities in Pennsylvania and six in New Jersey. New Jersey Natural Gas, South Jersey Gas, Elizabethtown Gas, PSEG Power and ConEd are among those contracted to the PennEast Pipeline. 

Construction Starts at $872M Louisiana Power Plant

Entergy Louisiana has formally kicked off construction of the Lake Charles Power Station in Calcasieu Parish, LA. The combined-cycle, natural gas-fired plant’s estimated cost is $872 million, including transmission and other project-related costs. It is expected to enter commercial operation by June 2020.

The plant is projected to lower customer energy costs between $1.3 and $2 billion over its anticipated 30-year life. Combined-cycle units, compared to Entergy’s older gas-fired plants, will on average cut carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 40%. 

EIA Predicts Record U.S. Fossil Fuel Production

In its January 2018 Short-Term Energy Outlook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that total fossil fuels production in the U.S. will average almost 73 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in 2018, the highest level of production on record. EIA expects total fossil fuel production to then set another record in 2019, with production forecast to rise to 75 quadrillion Btu.

Record production levels are largely attributable to increased production of natural gas and crude oil enabled by the use of hydraulic fracturing techniques in tight rock formations. EIA expects increases in natural gas production to be the leading contributor to overall fossil fuels production growth in 2018 and increases in crude oil production growth to the be leading contributor in 2019. In both years, expected growth in natural gas, crude oil, and HGL production more than offset expected declines in coal production. 

TransCanada Proceeding with Keystone XL Pipeline

TransCanada Corp. has successfully concluded the Keystone XL open season, securing approximately 500,000 barrels per day of 20-year commitments, positioning the proposed project to proceed. Interest in the project remains strong and TransCanada will look to continue to secure additional long-term contracted volumes.

TransCanada is continuing outreach in the communities where the pipeline will be constructed and is working collaboratively with landowners in an open and transparent way to obtain the necessary easements for the approved route. Construction preparation has commenced and will increase as the permitting process advances throughout 2018, with primary construction expected to begin in 2019. 



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