US oil producers paying off debt

Publicly traded U.S. oil and gas producers are, as a whole, paying off debt while funding investment through the sale of assets and the issuance of equity, according to a U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) review of first-quarter 2017 financial results of 54 producers. While revenue has grown for these companies in recent months through higher oil prices, the growth of net cash from operations has been slow because of increased upstream costs.

US fuel ethanol production continues to grow

Weekly ethanol production in the U.S. averaged 1.02 million barrels per day (b/d) through the first six months of 2017, representing a 5 percent increase compared to the same period in 2016, according to the EIA. U.S. ethanol production has averaged near or above 1 million b/d every week of 2017 with the exception of a few weeks in April, when ethanol typically undergo seasonal maintenance. If it remains high through the second half of the year, as the EIA’s Short Term Energy Outlook expects, 2017 will set a new record for annual fuel ethanol production.

As temperatures rise, natural gas-fired electricity generation increases

Natural gas for electricity generation reached its highest daily level in 2017 during the week ending July 19, exceeding 39 billion cubic feet, according to PointLogic. Power burn typically peaks at the end of July or beginning of August because of the high demand for electric-powered air conditioning, according to the EIA.

US crude oil production forecast to average 9.9M b/d in 2018

Total U.S. crude oil production will average 9.3 b/d in 2017, an increase of 0.5 million b/d from the year prior, according to the EIA. In 2018, crude oil production is expected to surpass the previous record of 9.6 million b/d set in 1970 with a forecasted average of 9.9 million b/d.

Brent and WTI crude oil prices to average around $50 per barrel

Brent crude oil spot prices are expected to average $51 per barrel (b) this year and $52/b in 2018, according to the EIA. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices are expected to be $2/b lower than Brent prices both this year and next. However, these daily and monthly average prices could vary significantly because upcoming global economic developments and geopolitical events may push oil prices higher or lower than the current Short Term Energy Outlook price forecast.

Access Northeast pipeline project withdrawn from FERC pre-filing

Enbridge Inc. withdrew its pre-filing application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last month for its proposed $3.2 billion Access Northeast pipeline expansion of the Algonquin Gas Transmission, according to the EIA. The project would have expanded or upgraded about 125 miles of the Algonquin pipeline system, which funnels gas from an interconnect with the Texas Eastern Pipeline in New Jersey to the Boston area.