Last updateThu, 29 Jul 2021 9pm

Texas Oil and Gas Activity Expands; Outlook Improves

Activity in the oil and gas sector expanded strongly in first quarter 2021, according to oil and gas executives responding to the Dallas Fed Energy Survey. The business activity index—the survey’s broadest measure of conditions facing Eleventh District energy firms—soared from 18.5 in the fourth quarter to 53.6 in first quarter 2021, reaching its highest reading in the survey’s five-year history. Exploration and production (E&P) and oilfield services firms both experienced a strong expansion in activity.

Oil and gas production increased, according to E&P executives. The oil production index rose from 1.0 in the fourth quarter to 16.3 in the first quarter. Likewise, the natural gas production index turned positive and increased 18 points to 15.9. 

U.S. Chemical Production Dropped in February

The U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index (U.S. CPRI) fell 3.6% in February following a 0.7% gain in January and a 1.3% gain in December, according to the American Chemistry Council. During February, chemical output fell in all regions as winter storms disrupted chemical production in the Gulf Coast and other parts of the country that rely on raw materials from the region. Chemical output for the Gulf Coast region fell 5.8% compared with January, the largest monthly drop since September 2008 and the second-largest drop in the series, which goes back to 1988. The U.S. CPRI is measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis.

As measured on a 3MMA basis, chemical production fell sharply in categories except consumer products, manufactured fibers, fertilizers and other specialty chemicals. The largest declines occurred in petrochemical and other organic chemicals and plastic resins. Smaller declines were seen in the production of inorganic chemicals, coatings, adhesives and pesticides. 

China Surpassing U.S. in Crude Oil Refining

In April 2020, refinery processing of crude oil in China was higher than net inputs of crude oil to U.S. refineries for the first month on record, and that trend continued for all remaining months in 2020 except for July and August. China processed more crude oil than the U.S. not only because of the unique effects of the pandemic-related restrictions in 2020, but also the differences in the longer-term structural trends in refining between the two countries. 

U.S. Solar Industry Saw Record Growth in 2020

In 2020, the U.S. solar market installed a record 19.2 GW of solar capacity, a 43% increase over 2019. According to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie, solar accounted for 43% of all new electricity-generating capacity added in the U.S. in 2020, representing solar’s largest ever share of new generating capacity and ranking first among all technologies for the second year in a row. 

IEA: World Oil Demand Won’t Recover Until 2023

World oil markets are rebalancing after the COVID-19 crisis spurred an unprecedented collapse in demand in 2020, but they may never return to “normal,” according to Oil 2021, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest medium-term outlook.

Global oil demand, still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, is unlikely to catch up with its pre-COVID trajectory. In 2020, the start of the IEA forecast period, oil demand was nearly 9 million b/d below the level seen in 2019, and it is not expected to return to that level before 2023. 

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