05242018Thu
Last updateThu, 24 May 2018 2pm

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Electricity Generation from Fossil Fuels Declined in 2017

According to U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Monthly, total U.S. net electricity generation fell slightly (down 1.5%) in 2017, reflecting lower electricity demand. Natural gas and coal generation fell by 7.7% and 2.5% from 2016, respectively, as generation from several renewable fuels, particularly hydro, wind, and solar, increased from 2016 levels.

Although natural gas continued to be most-used fuel for electricity generation for the third consecutive year, natural gas-fired electricity generation fell by 105 billion kilowatthours in 2017, the largest annual decline on record. Coal-fired electricity generation also fell, but to a lesser extent, marking the first year since 2008 that both natural gas- and coal-fired electricity generation fell in the same year. 


U.S. Petroleum Demand Near Highest Level in 11 Years

Led by gasoline and seasonal demand for heating fuels, U.S. petroleum demand hit 20.3 million barrels per day in February. According to the American Petroleum Institute, demand was up by more than a million barrels per day from February of last year, nearing record highs not seen for more than a decade.

In addition, the U.S. rig count climbed to 984 rigs as of March 9 and has averaged 959 rigs through Q1 2018 to date; this represents an increase of 4.0% above the average for Q4 2017 and should position U.S. production for continued growth. 

Exxon Confirms Gulf Coast Refining Expansion

“A top Exxon Mobil Corp official confirmed a multi-billion dollar plan under consideration to double U.S. light crude oil refining capacity along the U.S. Gulf Coast to take advantage of the nation's growing shale oil production,” Reuters  reports.

“Exxon's proposed project, which has not received a final investment decision, would be the first major expansion of gasoline and motor fuels production in the nation in six years.” The company “plans to invest $9 billion in six refinery projects globally in the next eight years and forecasts returns from its downstream to grow by 20% on average.” 

Could the U.S. Get Carbon Capture Back on Track?

The 2018 U.S. Budget Bill, passed by the House and Senate in mid-February, will shape funding for energy technologies for the next decade. Alongside the extension of renewable tax credits and credits for energy efficiency, nuclear and fuel cells, the bill contains a provision that could provide the first significant stimulus to the global fortunes of carbon capture for several years.

According to IEA energy technology analysts Simon Bennett and Tristan Stanley, the bill aims to stimulate investment in carbon capture by expanding incentives to companies that can use captured CO2 and reduce emissions as a result. It raises the existing so-called “45Q” tax credit for storing CO2 permanently underground from USD 22 today to USD 50 in 2026. 

Daelim, PTTGC to Build Ohio Petrochemical Plant

South Korean-based Daelim, through its U.S. subsidiary, is joining with PTTGC America on a feasibility study for a petrochemical ethane cracker complex in Belmont County, OH. Although a final investment decision on the project has not yet been made, PTTGC already has invested more than $100 million on the project in preparation for the proposed plan.

The collaboration with Daelim brings a larger investment than what was originally anticipated when PTTGC America first announced its result of a feasibility study in 2015. Production is now estimated at 1.5 million metric tons per year, which are at least 500,000 metric tons per year more than was previously anticipated. 

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