Last updateTue, 22 Jan 2019 8pm


U.S. Refiners Boosting Capacity to Accommodate Shale

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, “the combined capacity of nation's 135 refineries was 18.6 million barrels per day (bpd) at the start of the year, up 16% over the 15.7 million bpd in 1985, when there were 223 refineries,” Reuters  reports.

“This year, high production and ample supplies of shale and heavy Canadian oil have made U.S. refiners very profitable.” 

U.S. Manufacturers’ Short-Term Capability to Switch Fuels Declining

Some manufacturing plants can take advantage of relative price differences and cope with supply shortages by switching the fuels used in their furnaces, boilers, ovens, and other combustors. In the U.S., the capability of the manufacturing sector to switch the fuels it uses has declined in recent decades, as described in a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Among the most commonly substitutable fuels used in U.S. manufacturing, the amount that could readily be switched in less than 30 days dropped from 24% in 1994 to 10% in 2014. Reduced fuel-switching capabilities leave manufacturers less able to respond to changes in regulations and market conditions. 

Chemical Activity Cools at Start of 4th Quarter

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) from the American Chemistry Council posted a 0.2% gain in October on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. The barometer is up 3.8% (3MMA) year-over-year. The pace of growth has slowed form earlier in the year. The unadjusted measure of the CAB declined 0.2% in October. The unadjusted CAB declined 0.2% in October and reflected a 3.0% increase year-over-year. 

Natural Gas, Wind, Solar are Cheapest for Generating Electricity

According to the University of Texas at Austin's Energy Institute, natural gas, wind and solar energy are the lowest-cost technologies for new electricity generation for most of the U.S., Manufacturing.net reports.

“Wind again proved to be the option with the lowest cost, on a levelized basis, for a broad swath of the country, from the High Plains, the Midwest and Texas, and even portions of the Northeast. Solar power is the cheapest technology in much of the Southwest, and, based on updated data, also in the eastern and northern regions of the U.S. Natural gas prevailed for much of the rest of the country.” 

$1.2 Billion Oil Export Facility Planned in Texas

The Port of Corpus Christi (TX) Authority has entered into an agreement with The Carlyle Group to develop a crude oil export terminal on Harbor Island, connecting growing crude oil production in the U.S. with global markets. The terminal would be the first onshore location in the U.S. capable of providing export service to fully-laden very large crude carriers (VLCCs).

As part of the agreement, Carlyle agreed to lead the construction and ongoing operations of the terminal on an exclusive basis. Carlyle also agreed that it would arrange for a private funding solution for a dredging project to bring fully-laden VLCCs to Harbor Island (at least a 75-foot main channel depth). 

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