Last updateFri, 11 Oct 2019 2pm

U.S. Energy Spending on the Rise Again

In 2017, U.S. energy expenditures per GDP reached 5.8%, up from a record low of 5.6% in 2016, after its first annual increase since 2011. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, these increases are primarily a result of increased average U.S. energy prices, up almost 9% nationally from 2016 to 2017. Average U.S. prices for petroleum and natural gas increased by 14% and 13%, respectively, and electricity prices increased by 2%. Total U.S. energy consumption increased by less than 1% during the same time.

DOE Plans to Build Nuclear Test “Fast” Reactor

The U.S. Department of Energy will develop an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to study the impacts of building a Versatile Test Reactor (aka “fast reactors”) in the U.S. to test future fuels and materials that industry is designing for advanced civilian nuclear power reactors to provide large amounts of electricity for the nation’s power grid.

Two locations currently under consideration for the U.S. Versatile Test Reactor are Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in eastern Tennessee. In addition, the Idaho National Laboratory and the Savannah River Site are two locations under consideration for the fabrication of the fuel needed to run the reactor.

U.S. Specialty Chemicals End Second Quarter on Positive Note

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) reported that U.S. specialty chemicals market volumes rose 0.3% in June after rising only 0.1% in May, falling 0.3% in April and showing a weak first quarter. In June, of the 28 specialty chemical segments that ACC monitors, 12 markets expanded, 13 declined and three were flat. Large market volume gains (1.0% and over) occurred in lubricant additives and mining chemicals. On a sequential basis, diffusion was 48% in June, up from 43% in May. All changes in the data are reported on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis.

U.S. LNG Exports to Europe Increase Amid Declining Demand

U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) have been growing steadily and reached a new peak of 4.7 billion cubic feet per day (cf/d) in May 2019, according to the latest data published by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy. This year, the U.S. became the world’s third-largest LNG exporter, averaging 4.2 billion cf/d in the first five months of the year, exceeding Malaysia’s LNG exports of 3.6 billion cf/d during the same period. The U.S. is expected to remain the third-largest LNG exporter in the world, behind Australia and Qatar, in 2019–20.

U.S. LNG exports have increased as four new liquefaction units (trains) with a combined capacity of 2.4 billion cf/d—Sabine Pass Train 5, Corpus Christi Trains 1 and 2, and Cameron Train 1—came online since November 2018. Although Asian countries have continued to account for a large share of U.S. LNG exports, shipments to Europe have increased significantly since October 2018 and accounted for almost 40% of U.S. LNG exports in the first five months of 2019. LNG exports to Europe surpassed exports to Asia for the first time in January 2019.

Enterprise, Chevron Developing Offshore Crude Export Facility

Enterprise Products Partners and Chevron U.S.A. announce long-term agreements supporting the development of Enterprise’s Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT) in the Gulf of Mexico. Enterprise’s SPOT project consists of onshore and offshore facilities, including a fixed platform located approximately 30 nautical miles off the Brazoria County, TX coast in approximately 115 feet of water. SPOT is designed to load very large crude carriers (VLCCs) at rates of approximately 85,000 barrels per hour, or up to approximately 2 million barrels per day. The SPOT design also meets or exceeds federal requirements and, unlike existing and other proposed offshore terminals, is designed with a vapor control system to minimize emissions.

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