Last updateThu, 15 Nov 2018 4pm


U.S. Chemical Production Continues to Edge Lower

According to the American Chemistry Council, the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index edged lower by 0.2% in September, following flat growth in August, and a 0.4% gain in July. During September, chemical output fell across all regions except the Gulf Coast, which was flat.

Chemical production was mixed over the same three-month period. There were gains in the production three-month moving average output trend of plastic resins; pesticides; fertilizers; coatings; adhesives; synthetic dyes and pigments; industrial gases; and other inorganic chemicals. These gains were offset by declines in the output trend in organic chemicals; synthetic rubber; consumer products; and other specialty chemicals. 

U.S. Now World’s Leading Oil Producer

For the first time since 1973 the U.S. leads the world in oil production, overtaking Russia. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says that the U.S. produced more than 11.3 million barrels a day in August, a 4% increase over the old record set in July. Meanwhile Russia produced 11.2 million barrels a day in August, while Saudi Arabia pumped 10.4 million. 

Major Oil & Gas Exporters Face Unprecedented Challenges

Major oil and gas exporters have weathered many upheavals in recent decades but a renewed commitment to reform and economic diversification will be vital to cope with the changing dynamics of global energy. These include rising production from new sources such as shale, uncertainties over the pace of oil demand growth and deployment of new energy technologies, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. 

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. 

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