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Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending March 7, 2014
U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 15.0 million barrels per day during the week ending March 7, 2014, 225,000 barrels per day less than the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 86.0% of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging nearly 9.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased slightly last week, averaging over 4.6 million barrels per day.
U.S. crude oil imports averaged over 7.3 million barrels per day last week, up by 199 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged over 7.2 million barrels per day, 5.3% below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 395,000 barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 271,000 barrels per day last week.
U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 6.2 million barrels from the previous week. At 370.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 5.2 million barrels last week, but are near the upper limit of the average range. Both finished gasoline inventories and blending components inventories decreased last week. Distillate fuel inventories decreased by 0.5 million barrels last week and are below the lower limit of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories fell 1.1 million barrels last week and are near the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels last week.
Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 18.6 million barrels per day, up by 0.4% from the same period last year. Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline prod
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Inside West Virginia’s Struggle To Break Its Coal Addiction
WEST VIRGINIA — If there’s one thing January’s massive chemical spill in West Virginia taught Jeremy Richardson, it’s this: no matter what his power bill says every month, coal is “not cheap.”
“This was a chemical used to process coal,” said Richardson, senior energy analyst and West Virginia specialist at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It really points to the need to not have all of our economic activity reliant on just one or two things.”
The spill that contaminated the drinking water of 300,000 West Virginians has reignited debate in the state, not just over the need for stricter chemical and coal industry regulations but how the state’s reliance on these industries is affecting its residents and environment.
“People’s health here has been sacrificed so that the world — not just the U.S., but the world — can flip on lights,” said Maria Gunnoe, a community organizer in Boone County. “And it just doesn’t make sense.”
Diversifying the state’s economy has been a focus of Mike Manypenny, a member of the state House of Delegates, for years — so long that he can’t even remember how many energy bills he’s introduced into the state legislature. Increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency, areas of focus for Manypenny, aren’t priorities for many lawmakers in West Virginia, he said; remaining on good terms with the coal ind
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Ukraine crisis fuels gas debate
The Ukraine crisis is intensifying Washington’s debate over lifting tight restrictions on exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Europe’s reluctance to impose sanctions on Russia following its military takeover of Crimea is focusing attention on Europe’s dependency on Russian energy and giving ammo to those demanding fast approval of transatlantic sales of U.S. energy.
“This just gives them one more reason why the U.S. government should do it,” Ed Chow, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said, adding, “It adds a geo-political and foreign policy dimension to what has been up until now mostly a domestic debate.”
Ambassadors from Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia wrote to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Saturday asking that Congress fast-track natural gas exports to Central and Eastern Europe.
“The presence of U.S. natural gas would be much welcome in Central and Eastern Europe, and Congressional action to expedite LNG exports to America’s allies would come at a critically important time for the region,” the ambassadors wrote.
They joined Boehner in criticizing U.S. rules that limit exports of natural gas to countries that lack a free-trade deal with the U.S. That excludes their countries, which are known as the Visegrad Group.
“With the current shale gas revolution in the United States, American companies are seeking to export gas, including to Europe. But the existing bureaucratic hurdles for the approval of the export licenses to non-FTA [free-trade agreement] countries like the Visegrad countries are a major hurdle,” they said.
But energy experts say the real problem for the U.S. isn’t a slow approval process. It’s that the U.S. doesn’t yet have the infrastructure to liquefy the natural gas for shipping overseas.
“The government hurdles are not the major barrier at this point,” said Richard Newell, professor of energy econ