U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged about 15.5 million barrels per day during the week ending May 31, 2013, 433 thousand barrels per day above the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 88.4 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging over 9.3 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.8 million barrels per day.
U.S. crude oil imports averaged just under 7.3 million barrels per day last week, down by 549 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged over 7.7 million barrels per day, about 1.2 million barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 514 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 143 thousand barrels per day last week.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 6.3 million barrels from the previous week. At 391.3 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.4 million barrels last week and are near the upper limit of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased while blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 2.6 million barrels last week but remained in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 1.9 million barrels last week, and are in the middle of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels last week.
Total products supplied over the last four-week period..
Data Overview (Combined Table 1 and Table 9)
Tropical weather outlook
nws national hurricane center miami fl
800 am edt wed jun 5 2013
for the north atlantic...caribbean sea and the gulf of mexico...
1. A broad area of low pressure over the central gulf of mexico is
producing a large area of disorganized thunderstorms and strong
gusty winds over the southeastern gulf of mexico. Although the
thunderstorm activity associated with the low has increased
overnight...the circulation remains poorly-defined. Environmental
conditions could become a little more conducive for development
during the next day or so...and a tropical depression or storm
could form before the system moves northeastward over northern
florida late thursday or thursday night. This system has a medium
chance...50 percent...of becoming a subtropical or tropical cyclone
during the next 48 hours. An air force reserve reconnaissance
aircraft is scheduled to investigate this disturbance this
afternoon...if necessary. Regardless of development...locally
heavy rains and gusty winds are likely over portions of central and
western cuba...the florida keys...and the florida peninsula during
the couple of days. Additional information on this system can be
found in high seas forecasts issued by the national weather
service...and in products issued by your local national weather
service office or national meteorological service.
elsewhere...tropical cyclone formation is not expected during the
next 48 hours.
high seas forecasts issued by the national weather service can be
found under awips header nfdhsfat1 and wmo header fznt01 kwbc.
another Canadian company is quietly building a 5,000-mile network of new and expanded pipelines that would achieve the same goal as the Keystone
Canadian energy giant Enbridge is quietly building a 5,000-mile network of new and expanded pipelines that would achieve the same goal as the Keystone.
By Lisa Song, InsideClimate News
Jun 3, 2013
Canadian company Enbridge Inc. is expanding its network of pipelines to carry thousands of additional barrels of oil to and through the United States each day. Credit: Paul Horn.
While all eyes are on TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline, another Canadian company is quietly building a 5,000-mile network of new and expanded pipelines that would achieve the same goal as the Keystone. In fact, the project by Enbridge, Inc., Canada's largest transporter of crude oil, would bring even more Canadian oil into the U.S. than the much-debated Keystone project.
Enbridge has already begun growing its existing pipeline infrastructure to increase the flow of Canadian and U.S.-produced oil into refineries and ports in the Midwest, Gulf Coast and Northeastern Canada. The company's plans have largely escaped public scrutiny, in part because its expansion has proceeded in many segments and phases.
The linchpin of Enbridge's Canadian oil transport system is its proposal to increase the capacity of Line 67 (often referred to as the Alberta Clipper pipeline) to bring an additional 430,000 barrels a day of oil into the United States. Line 67 runs from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisc. and currently ships up to 450,000 barrels of oil a day. Enbridge wants to expand the line’s capacity to 570,000 barrels a day, with the possibility of future growth to 880,000 barrels a day. That's larger than the Keystone XL's proposed daily capacity of 830,000 barrels.
Because Line 67 crosses the U.S.-Canada border, it needs a presidential permit from the State Department before it can be expanded. That’s the same kind of permit TransCanada is seeking for the northern segment of Keystone XL. The Obama
June 4, 2013, 4:16 p.m. ET
By Ryan Tracy
WASHINGTON--The U.S. Interior Department on Tuesday set a date next month for the first-ever competitive auction of federal acreage to offshore-wind developers, taking another stride toward permitting wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean.
The department said it would hold a lease sale on July 31 for 164,750 acres off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Nine companies have previously expressed interest, including France's Electricite de France SA (EDF.FR) and Spain's Iberdrola SA (IBDRY, IBE.MC).
There are no large offshore wind farms currently operating in the U.S., though a team led by the University of Maine recently launched a prototype floating turbine.
"This is history in the making," said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in a statement accompanying Tuesday's announcement. "As we experience record domestic oil and gas development, we are also working to ensure that America leads the world in developing the energy of the future."
Ms. Jewell's department found that issuing the wind leases "would have no significant impact on the environment" after a review that took nearly two years and ended up excluding a swath of "high value fishing grounds."
Even with the trimmed-down acreage, the lease area could produce enough electricity to power more than 1 million homes, the department said.
Developers are still a long way from building wind farms that could harness that energy. The winning bidders at the July auction will have to first construct towers to measure wind speeds in the area. Then they will have to clear another federal environmental review and find customers for the new power plant, which is likely to cost more up-front than power plants that run on natural gas.
"It will really be up to industry to decide the time frame" on which offshore wind projects get built, Ms. Jewell said on a conference call with reporters Monday
Regional Gas Price Spikes Pose New Challenges for Industry, Lawmakers
By Lauren Gardner
Roll Call Staff
June 4, 2013, 1:57 p.m.
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to the summer driving season — and in recent years that has meant steadily rising gas prices. But for the second consecutive year, drivers filling their tanks for holiday road trips paid less at the pump on average than a year earlier.
And AAA motor club, which pegged the average retail price for a gallon of gasoline nationally at $3.63 on May 27, projects that prices will continue to drop this summer.
Despite this bright picture nationally,not everybody has been enjoying cheap gasoline. Across much of the upper Midwest and the Pacific Coast, price spiked to more than $4 a gallon just before Memorial Day. Ironically, some of the hardest-hit areas — such as North Dakota, Minnesota and Nebraska — are near the sources of booming North American oil production, such as the Bakken shale formations and the Western Canadian tar sands.
The regional price spikes pose new challenges for industry and policymakers. In past summers, the primary driver of higher gas prices has been supply shortages and the high cost of crude oil on world markets. But crude oil prices are down from a year earlier, and the Energy Information Administration projects they will fall further in the year ahead.
Private sector and government analysts say the regional spikes in gasoline prices can be blamed on a high number of planned and unplanned refinery outages, which affect areas served by the facilities. Earlier this year, malfunctions or breakdowns caused unplanned refinery shutdowns on top of
A battery made of cheap materials could store power when it’s windy for use when it’s not.
By Kevin Bullis on June 4, 2013
On the cheap: EOS is working on a battery based on such cheap materials as water, zinc, and air. If successful, the result could be a boon to the renewable energy industry.
Investors recently chipped in $15 million to fund battery startup EOS Energy Storage, a company that says its batteries could eventually compete with natural-gas power plants to provide power during times of peak demand.
Cheap energy storage is becoming increasingly important as greater numbers of wind turbines and solar panels are added to the grid. If renewable energy is to replace the fossil fuels that dominate power supplies and serve to backup wind turbines and solar panels, very large-scale, inexpensive batteries like the ones EOS is developing will be needed (see “Wind Turbines, Battery Included, Can Keep Power Supplies Stable,” “Battery Could Provide a Cheap Way to Store Solar Power,” and “A Solution to Solar Power Intermittency”).
EOS is trying to commercialize a type of battery that’s based on inexpensive materials: water, zinc, and air (see “Startup Promises a Revolutionary Grid Battery” and “Years in the Making, Promising Rechargeable Metal-Air Batteries Head to Market”). Such batteries—in which zinc reacts with oxygen in air to generate electricity—have been around for a long time, but it’s been difficult to make them rechargeable. Electrodes deteriorate, for example, and the batteries are inherently inefficient because of the difference in voltage levels when charging and discharging them—they waste nearly half the energy it takes to charge them.
EOS has addressed these issues in a couple of ways. It uses a slightly acidic water-based electrolyte that helps prevent deformations of the zinc electrode that can damage the battery.
The company is also
Jun. 4, 2013 4:42 PM
Written by Christopher Doering
The U.S. oil and gas industry on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to strike down a decision by the Environmental Protection to allow a higher blend of ethanol in newer automobiles.
The American Petroleum Institute, which represents 500 oil and natural gas companies, appealed the case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled last August that trade groups representing the automobile, food and other industries did not have sufficient grounds to challenge the use of the new blend known as E15 — a fuel that contains 15 percent ethanol.
“E15 could leave millions of consumers with broken down cars and high repair bills,” said Bob Greco, API’s downstream director. “It could also put motorists in harm’s way when vehicles break down in the middle of a busy highway. We are asking the Supreme Court to step in and protect consumers by striking down EPA’s dangerous E15 mandate before it’s too late.”
The Environmental Protection Agency, which approved the new blend in January 2011, finally gave the OK for it to go on sale last June. The blend, which has been approved for use in cars and light trucks built since 2000 but is banned from older vehicles and light equipment, has been slow to get off the ground because of the time and cost it takes to comply with the new requirements. Only a few stations in the Midwest, including a half dozen in Iowa, have sold the E15 blend.
The API and others have argued the EPA approved E15 prematurely and without conducting enough testing of its impact on automobiles. They have cited a handful of studies questioning the impact of the fuel on vehicle engines, and have warned that it could lead automobile makers to void warranties when the corn-based fuel was used.
Ethanol groups said appeal to the Supreme Court was the latest sign of desperation
Carly Rose Sonenclar covers One Direction
Published on Jun 4, 2013
June 4, 2013 Joshua S Hill
In the space of two days at the end of May three separate reports were released covering the soaring growth of Japan’s solar industry. Not only can solar replace nuclear power in Japan, but it is also set to become the world’s largest solar revenue market in 2013, thanks at least in part to a surge in installations in Q1.
In the wake of the tragic Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March of 2011 there was renewed public and political support for weaning the country off nuclear power altogether. Currently 27% of Japan’s electricity demand is met by nuclear power, but according to a new report by researchers at the University of Texas, Tokyo could use solar photovoltaic (PV) generation as a “baseload” power.
According to the report, “Potential for rooftop photovoltaics in Tokyo to replace nuclear capacity”, 300 square kilometres of suitable rooftop space in Tokyo could support 43.1 GW of PV to offset the demand currently filled by nuclear, alongside an existing 7.28 GW of pumped hydro storage available.
Replacing nuclear isn’t just a researchers pipe dream, either, given what we’ve seen in the first quarter of 2013. According to information and analytics provider IHS Inc., a total of 1.5 GW of PV capacity was installed in the first quarter of 2013 in Japan, and that growth is expected to continue through the rest of the year.
That 1.5 GW translates to a growth of 270%, according to the report “The Photovoltaic Market in Japan” – a level of growth that IHS Inc believe sets Japan up to overtake Germany as the world’s largest photovoltaics market in terms of revenue this year.
“Following the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 that led to the shutdown of nuclear facilities and a shortage of electricity, Japan has aggressively moved to promote solar energy,” said Sam Wilkinson, solar research manager at IHS. “Japan’s government has
American farmers are potentially planting the largest corn crop in history. Theoretically farmers require slightly more time than normal to achieve their 100% planting potential.
Floods stall barge traffic on Mississippi River
Jun 4, 2013 4:45 PM
Chicago | Reuters
Deferred U.S. corn and soybean futures stumbled on Tuesday as forecasts for a pause in rainy weather raised expectations that farmers will follow through on plans for massive plantings.
Traders are keeping a close eye on the weather because cool, wet conditions have slowed planting so far this spring, fueling fears that farmers would not plant as many acres as expected.
The latest forecasts "suggest that we're going to catch up and we're going to get a lot of grain planted," said grain analyst Tim Hannagan of Walsh Trading.
"The planting window won't open all the way, but it's going to be about three-fourths open," he said.
Chicago Board of Trade December corn, which represents the crop that will be harvested this autumn, fell 1.3 per cent to $5.53 a bushel, after losing 1.3 per cent on Monday. November soybeans slipped 0.7 per cent to $13.16 a bushel (all figures US$).
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a weekly report on Monday that the U.S. corn crop was 91 per cent planted as of Sunday, up from 86 per cent a week earlier but behind the five-year average of 95 per cent. Soybeans were 57 per cent planted, up from 44 per cent the previous week but far behind the five-year average of 74 per cent.
"The progress report indicated that the corn is gradually getting planted, and there looks like a window of opportunity for producers later this week," said analyst Tomm Pfitzenmaier of Summit Commodity Brokerage.
"If the weather straightens out after this midweek rain and allows planting to progress, then the bean price may be as high as it needs to be for this run," he said.
With worries easing about planting, traders are beginning to shift their focus to how weather will impact the development of crops.
In its first corn condition ratings of
Erik Wasson - 06/04/13 03:08 PM ET
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will file a cloture motion in the Senate on Tuesday to begin the process of forcing an end to debate on the $955 billion farm bill.
The motion would set up a 60-vote threshold vote on ending debate on Thursday, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) told reporters on Tuesday.
“The leaders is going to file cloture today,” she said.
That would create a Monday final vote on the farm bill, which governs food stamps, agricultural subsidies and crop insurance.
Stabenow is trying to broker an agreement with Republicans to consider a limited number of amendments to the farm bill. She said that with some 234 amendments filed, senators are having trouble whittling down the list.
“Every day it is something different. The longer we go, the more people look to use the farm bill for anything they can think of,” she said. “We tried to move forward on four amendments this morning and ran into objections.”
“Many of the amendments filed are not germane and there are multiple objections coming from lots of places,” she added. “We need to move forward and get it done.”
Stabenow said if a time agreement can be reached, Reid will cancel the cloture vote.
“One or the other, we are going to get the bill done,” she said.
Stabenow said about 20 amendments are non-controversial and could easily pass to improve the bill.
Major disagreements remain such as on attempts to pass payment limitations for crop insurance and to end a catfish inspection program that opponents say distorts free trade with Vietnam.
The chairwoman has already defended her draft text against liberal attempts to reverse $4 billion in food stamp cuts and a conservative attempt to deepen them.
Reid is eager to move the Senate on to tackling rising student loan rates and an immigration overhaul.
Ben Goad - 06/04/13 01:47 PM ET
The oil and gas industry’s leading trade association renewed its call on Tuesday for the Supreme Court to strike down Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations allowing a high-ethanol fuel blend into the marketplace.
The action is the latest salvo in an ongoing legal battle between the Obama administration and the American Petroleum Institute (API), which first urged the high court in February to take up consideration of the EPA’s decision to approve E15 fuel for cars made in 2001 or after.
The agency and the biofuels industry say the blend — which contains 15 percent ethanol, rather than the standard 10 percent — is safe for those vehicles.
But the oil and gas industry has produced studies finding that the mix would damage vehicle engines, and some automakers have said they would not honor warranties in cases where E15 was used.
“E15 could leave millions of consumers with broken down cars and high repair bills,” said Bob Greco, API group downstream director. “It could also put motorists in harm’s way when vehicles break down in the middle of a busy highway. We are asking the Supreme Court to step in and protect consumers by striking down EPA’s dangerous E15 mandate before it’s too late.”
Specifically, the group is asking the court to reverse a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that upheld the EPA’s approval of E15.
API supported the request with a brief filed Tuesday that responded to arguments from E15 supporters, who have asked the court to pass on the case.
In the brief, API cites the opinion of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the lone dissenter to January’s appeals court decision, who said, “EPA’s action simply cannot be squared with the statutory text.”
Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, said the matter had been settled in the lower court.
Zack Colman 06/04/13 02:17 PM ET
The State Department is looking to hold a public hearing in Washington, D.C., on the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline this summer, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said Tuesday.
The department recently held a Keystone hearing in Nebraska, which covered its draft environmental review of the project. Cindy Schild, the API’s downstream director for refining and oil sands, said she had thought it was the last and said more public hearings would delay a final decision.
“They’ve held already probably a dozen hearings, we thought that that was the last public hearing,” Schild said in a Tuesday media call. “But then they discussed having another one, possibly this summer.”
A State official told The Hill, “No decision has been made on whether the department will hold an additional public meeting.”
The official said it would allow for more public input once Foggy Bottom reaches the phase where it will determine whether the project is in the nation's interest. That would come after it finalizes an environmental impact statement for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline.
That phase would determine whether to grant a cross-border permit to TransCanada Corp. so it could finish the pipeline’s northern leg.
But Schild said a hearing on that part of the process is unnecessary.
"We think this project is in the national interest," Schild told The Hill on Tuesday. She argued that if a hearing is held it should be on concerns other than the environment, saying "that one has been put to bed" by the department's draft environmental analysis.
Keystone’s supporters, which include Republicans, centrist Democrats, industry groups and some unions, contend the State Department already has taken too long to render a decision. They say it would provide a burst of short-term construction jobs and strengthen energy security.
“The president needs
U.S. to Hold Sale for Offshore Wind Energy Leases
By JOHN M. BRODER
Published: June 4, 2013
WASHINGTON — The federal government will hold the first lease sale for commercial offshore wind energy projects at the end of July, the Interior Department announced Tuesday.
The sale will offer 164,750 acres of federal waters off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. If that is fully developed, officials said, it could produce as much as 3,400 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than one million homes.
The lease sale shows the Obama administration’s determination to pursue a wide range of domestic energy production, from fossil fuels and renewable sources. Sally Jewell, the new secretary of the interior, said the department would accelerate offshore wind leasing if the July 31 lease sale was successful.
“Today we are moving closer to tapping into the enormous potential offered by offshore wind to create jobs, increase our sustainability and strengthen our nation’s competitiveness in this new energy frontier,” Ms. Jewell said in a statement. “As we experience record domestic oil and gas development, we are also working to ensure that America leads the world in developing the energy of the future.”
Tue Jun 4, 2013 4:28pm EDT
(Reuters) - The Department of Interior said Tuesday its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold the first ever competitive lease sale for renewable energy in federal waters south of Rhode Island and Massachusetts on July 31.
The Interior Department said in a release BOEM will auction commercial wind energy leases to 164,750 acres located about 9.2 nautical miles south of Rhode Island.
BOEM said it will auction the area as two leases - the 97,500 acre North Lease and the 67,250 acre South Lease.
According to a report recently released by the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the North Lease has the potential for installed capacity of 1,955 megawatts (MW), and the South Lease, 1,440 MW.
Together, the Interior Department said these areas could support enough electricity to power more than 1 million homes.
BOEM will auction the lease areas simultaneously and said it will consider nonmonetary and monetary factors. Nonmonetary factors mentioned by the BOEM are whether a bidder holds a joint development agreement or a power purchase agreement.
Deepwater Wind has a joint development agreement with Rhode Island and wants to build two wind farms off Rhode Island. A 30-MW wind farm in state waters off Block Island, and a 1,000-MW wind farm in the federal waters covered by this auction.
The BOEM said the nonmonetary phase of the auction will begin on July 29 and the monetary phase on July 31.
BOEM said companies eligible to participate in the auction include wind power units of Deepwater Wind, Electricite de France SA, Energy Management Inc (which owns Cape Wind), Fishermen's Energy LLC, Iberdrola SA, Neptune Wind LLC, Sea Breeze Energy LLC, U.S. Mainstream Renewable Power (Offshore) Inc, and US Wind Inc.
The first federal lease to build a commercial wind farm went to Cape Wind in 2010 for its planned
June 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm by Emily Pickrell
Oil and gas companies are continuing to increase their investment into North American exploration, reaching a record $185.6 billion for capital expenditures in 2012, according to a study on oil and gas reserves released Tuesday.
Independent energy companies are continuing to chase domestic oil prospects, investing larger and larger shares of their profits in future projects, Ernst & Young said in the report, which analyzed the 2012 reserve estimates of the 50 largest companies in the oil and gas industry.
“The increased exploration and development spend we’re seeing in this year’s study speaks to the incredible opportunity unfolding in tight oil from shale formations and the high cost of developing these unconventional resources,” said Marcela Donadio, Americas oil & gas leader for the global Ernst & Young organization, speaking to reporters at the report’s release.
“Everyone wants in and they are paying a premium to play,” she said.
More than 30 of the 50 companies studied have increased their level of capital spending domestically, investing in more expensive extraction techniques, such as enhanced oil recovery projects, that had been considered too costly in earlier years.
Military helicopters: Battlefield engines take on oil field mission
The shift is pulling capital towards the US, fueling job growth and the further development of ancillary industries, such as seismic technologies.
“A lot of companies are selling international assets to bring cash back into the US,” said John Russell, a partner with Ernst & Young.
The investments, however, come even as the industry profits decreased almost 60 percent for these companies, driven by historically low natural gas prices in 2012.
Natural gas prices have been hard hit by a flood of new supply, with spot prices falling from an average of $4.12 per million British