Last updateThu, 29 Jul 2021 9pm

Chemical Activity Barometer Rises in July

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) from the American Chemistry Council rose 0.5% in July on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis following a 0.8% gain in June. On a year-over-year basis, the barometer rose 16.3% in July (3MMA).

The unadjusted data show a 0.1% advance in July, a slowdown from a 0.3% rise in June and 1.0% gain in May. The diffusion index reached 88% in July. The diffusion index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored. The CAB reading for June was revised upward by 0.14 points and the reading for May was revised downward by 0.34 points. Monthly revisions have generally been positive during the past year. The July data are provisional and subject to revision. 

Global Electricity Demand Growing Faster Than Renewables

Renewables are expanding quickly but not enough to satisfy a strong rebound in global electricity demand this year, resulting in a sharp rise in the use of coal power that risks pushing carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector to record levels next year, says a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

After falling by about 1% in 2020 due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, global electricity demand is set to grow by close to 5% in 2021 and 4% in 2022 – driven by the global economic recovery – according to the latest edition of the IEA’s semi-annual Electricity Market Report. The majority of the increase in electricity demand is expected to come from the Asia Pacific region, primarily China and India. 

New EPA Rule Tackles Wastewater from Coal Plants

The EPA is initiating a rulemaking process to strengthen certain wastewater pollution discharge limits for coal power plants that use steam to generate electricity. The EPA undertook a science-based review of the 2020 Steam Electric Reconsideration Rule under Executive Order (E.O.) 13990, finding that there are opportunities to strengthen certain wastewater pollution discharge limits. For example, treatment systems using membranes continue to rapidly advance as an effective option for treating a wide variety of industrial pollution, including from steam electric power plants. EPA expects this technology to continue advancing and the agency will evaluate its availability as part of the new rulemaking. 

Federal Oil, Gas Leasing Plan on Hold Ahead of BLM Vote

The Biden administration will likely release its long-awaited plan for oil and gas leasing on federal lands and offshore Gulf of Mexico as soon as the U.S. Senate votes on a new Bureau of Land Management (BLM) director, analysts said.

S&P Global Platts Analytics continues to expect the leasing review to have only muted impact on the U.S. production outlook, with onshore shale output rising to 8.5 million b/d by end-2022, from 7.3 million b/d in July 2021, and overall U.S. production rising to 12.4 million b/d by end-2022, from 10.9 million b/d this month. 

EIA: U.S. Oil Exports Set New High Mark in 2020

Despite volatility in global oil markets, U.S. crude oil exports reached a record high in 2020. So far this year (as of July 9, 2021), U.S. crude oil exports have averaged 3.00 million barrels per day (b/d). The most recent four-week rolling average of U.S. crude oil exports reached 3.51 million b/d, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

In 2013, the U.S. government lifted export restrictions on minimally processed ultra-light oil. In the summer of 2015, the U.S. and Mexico entered into an oil exchange agreement, and the restrictions on oil exports were fully lifted in December 2015. U.S. crude oil exports have increased significantly since 2015 and have averaged around 3.00 million b/d every year since 2019. 

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