10222017Sun
Last updateThu, 19 Oct 2017 5pm

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U.S. Gasoline Production Running Near Record Levels

Gasoline production by U.S. refiners and blenders has run near record levels over the first seven months of 2017, with four-week rolling average production well above its five-year average and close to the top of its five-year range. U.S. gasoline inventories also remain relatively high despite growing domestic and foreign demand.

Growth in U.S. gasoline production since March is the result of record-high refinery runs. For the week ending April 21, 2017, U.S. refinery runs exceeded 17.5 million barrels per day (b/d) for the first time since EIA began publishing the weekly data series in 1990. Refinery runs have since exceeded this threshold eight additional times, reaching an all-time high of 17.9 million b/d the week ending on August 4, 2017. In 2016 about 47% of the input to refineries was converted to motor gasoline. 


Natural Gas-Fired Electricity Conversion Efficiency Grows, Coal Stable

From 2006 to 2015, annual average heat rates of natural gas-fired electricity generators decreased 7% as heat rates of coal-fired electricity generators remained stable, increasing only 1%. Heat rates are calculated based on the amount of energy (measured in British thermal units) reported to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that was used to generate a unit of electricity. Lower heat rates indicate more efficient generation, because less fuel is needed per kilowatt hour.

The small rise in the average operating heat rate for coal-fired generation may be attributed to emissions controls. Emissions-control equipment was installed on almost 205 gigawatts (GW) of coal capacity from 2006 to 2015, or about 73% of the coal-fired generator fleet that was operating in 2016. These emissions-control measures often require more on-site usage of electricity, which involves consuming fuel but not necessarily producing electricity output. 

Executive Order to Speed Up Infrastructure Project Approval

President Trump signed an executive order intended to roll back “rules regarding environmental reviews and restrictions on government-funded building projects in flood-prone areas as part of his proposal to spend $1 trillion to fix aging U.S. infrastructure,” Reuters reports.

“Trump's latest executive order would speed approvals of permits for highways, bridges, pipelines and other major building efforts. It revokes an Obama-era executive order aimed at reducing exposure to flooding, sea level rise and other consequences of climate change.” 

DuPont and Dow Chemical Set Closing Date for Merger

DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company announced that all required regulatory approvals and clearances have been received, that all conditions to closing of their merger of equals have been satisfied, and that their merger of equals will close after the market closes on August 31, 2017.

“The companies, with a combined market value approaching $150 billion, would surpass BASF SE as the world’s largest chemical company. Within 18 months of closing, DowDuPont has said it will split into three separate companies focused on agriculture, specialty products and materials,” Bloomberg reports. “Shares of DowDuPont Inc. will begin trading Sept. 1 under the ticker DWDP.” 

U.S. to Become a Net Exporter of Natural Gas This Year

EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook projects that the U.S. will export more natural gas than it imports in 2017. The U.S. has been a net exporter for three of the past four months and is expected to continue to export more natural gas than it imports for the rest of 2017 and throughout 2018. U.S. status as a net exporter is expected to continue past 2018 because of growing U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico, declining pipeline imports from Canada, and increasing exports of LNG.

The U.S. is currently the world's largest natural gas producer, having surpassed Russia in 2009. Natural gas production in the U.S. increased from 55 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2008 to 72.5 Bcf/d in 2016. Most of this natural gas—about 96% in 2016—is consumed domestically. Abundant natural gas resources and large production increases have created opportunities for U.S. natural gas exports. 

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