Last updateThu, 15 Nov 2018 4pm


Chemical Activity Softens as Pace of Growth Slows

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) from the American Chemistry Council (ACC) was flat in August remaining at 122.14 on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. This continued a general softening trend since the first quarter. The barometer is up 3.8% year-over-year (Y/Y/), a slower pace than of that earlier in the year and similar to that seen in the second half of 2017. The unadjusted CAB also was flat, and follows a 0.3% decline in July. August readings indicate gains in U.S. commercial and industrial activity well into the first quarter 2019, but at a slower pace as growth has turned over. 

Port Arthur LNG Export Project Receives FERC Notice

Sempra Energy has received a Notice of Schedule from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that sets Jan. 31, 2019, as the planned completion date of the final environmental impact statement for siting, construction and operation of the proposed Port Arthur LNG natural gas liquefaction-export project in Jefferson County, TX.

The FERC issued its Notice of Schedule for the proposed Port Arthur liquefaction-export project Aug. 31. The project is expected to include two natural gas liquefaction trains to enable the long-term sale of approximately 11 million tons per annum (Mtpa) of LNG; feed gas pre-treatment facilities; natural gas liquids and refrigerant storage; up to three LNG storage tanks; two marine berths and associated facilities. 

Gains Continue in U.S. Chemical Production

According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) expanded by 0.4% in July, following a 0.8% gain in June, and a 1.1% gain in May. During July, chemical output moved higher in all regions, with gains broadly distributed among the regions. Compared to July 2017, U.S. chemical production was ahead 2.6% on a year-over-year basis. Chemical production was higher than a year ago in all regions. 

Appalachia, Permian, Haynesville Drive Gas Growth

Gross production of natural gas in the U.S. has generally been increasing for more than a decade and in recent months has been more than 10% higher compared with the same months in 2017. This growth has been driven by production in the Appalachian Basin in the Northeast, the Permian Basin in western Texas and New Mexico, and the Haynesville Shale in Texas and Louisiana. These three regions collectively accounted for less than 15% of total U.S. natural gas production as recently as in 2007, but now they account for nearly 50% of total production.

Production in these regions has increased in part because of new drilling and completion techniques, including longer well laterals that have increased well productivity. By contrast, the Gulf of Mexico's share of total production, which was 12% in 2007, has fallen to just 3% in recent months, and the share of production in the rest of the U.S. has declined from 60% to 28%. 

Subcontractors Sought for Natural Gas Power Plant

DTE Energy today took a significant step toward its goal of reducing carbon emissions by more than 80% by breaking ground on a $1 billion natural gas-fueled plant. The Blue Water Energy Center in Michigan will be the most efficient power plant in the state when it begins producing affordable and reliable low-emission electricity for 850,000 homes starting in 2022.

The plant will be built by Kiewit Engineering, who will spend a minimum of $200 million on Michigan-based labor and materials and has begun the search for sub-contractors. 

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