Industry News & Events

September 26th, 2014

Companies Exploring Bids to Purchase Oncor

Companies like CenterPoint Energy, Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Hunt Consolidated Inc. are beginning to explore bids for Energy Future Holding’s (EFH) Oncor utility. After it’s bankruptcy in April, EFH planned to split Oncor from the rest of the companies. Valued at more than $17.5, Oncor has a total of 10 bidders who have signed non disclosure agreements.

Oncor delivers electricity to more than 3 million homes and businesses in Texas.

For more information please click here.

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September 26th, 2014

Panda Power Plant Comes Online

Yesterday, September 25, Panda Power commissioned a 758-MW combined-cycle power plant in Temple, Texas. The facility has the capacity to power the needs of up to 750,000 homes. A second power plant will come online next summer. It has an expected output of 1,516 MW.

For more information please click here or here.

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August 21st, 2014

CNG Motor Fuel Lucrative For Texas

As we all know, the abundant natural gas supply the United States has discovered has helped make natural gas prices decrease. In turn, natural gas has become an attractive alternative motor fuel.

Especially popular in Texas, compressed and liquefied natural gas sales accounted for nearly $2.2 million in tax revenue in the first half of 2014. In order to encourage use of the fuel, Texas changed its taxing structure on compressed natural gas to make it a more attractive option for station operators.

According to the Department of Energy, compressed natural gas (used to fuel vehicles) sold for $2.15 per the gasoline equivalent in April. This is approximately $1.50 per gallon cheaper than gasoline.

Natural gas fueling stations are more expensive to build than a gasoline fueling station and availability remains sparse. There are 51 public compressed natural gas fueling stations in the state of Texas – mainly clustered in the Dallas and Houston area.
Source: FuelFix

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August 15th, 2014

Natural Gas Production Increases in July

According to Bentek Energy, natural gas production rose by 0.5 Bcf/day during the month of July versus June. On July 30, production set a one day record high of 69.3 Bcf/day, surpassing the previous record in June.

“The U.S. has moved past 68 Bcf/d and we’re now talking about what day production will surpass 70 Bcf/d,” said Jack Weixel, Bentek director of energy analysis. He added that 70 Bcf/day in production would calm most fears about depleted storage levels going into winter.

Please see the Platt’s article here.

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August 15th, 2014

LNG Facilities Use New Process For Approval

The US Department of Energy announced in May changes to the process for approving liquefied natural gas export facilities. Now, the DOE will only issue final rulings after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has completed an environmental review of the project.

The FERC process costs companies up to $100 million to complete, while the export application with the DOE costs about $20,000. This new rule will shift focus away from the DOE and onto FERC.

This policy will not affect companies that have already received conditional approvals but does affect Cheniere’s Corpus Christi project. The project is due to receive its final environmental review in October. From there – they will seek DOE approval.

For more information, please see the Reuters article here.

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July 30th, 2014

Low Electricity Demand a Result of Economic and Technological Changes

According to a Wall Street Journal article, electricity use no longer follows overall economic conditions, including GDP. Technological advances and government regulation have led to Americans using less energy.

American Electric Power Co., a Columbus, Ohio based power company saw customers starting to retract energy usage in early 2009 because of the recession. Executives assumed businesses and consumers were being conservative with usage and it would bounce back eventually. Five years later, electricity sales still haven’t reached the peak from 2008.

Historically, economic expansion meant expanding electricity sales. The EIA stated it, “no longer foresees any sustained period in which electricity sales will keep pace with GDP growth.”

For more, please read the WSJ article in which this information was derived from.

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July 30th, 2014

Where are the East Coast LNG Facilities?

Several liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants with up to 9 Bcf/day of combined export capacity will begin shipment from the United States in 2016. Exporting LNG from the US is based on the simple fact that natural gas is cheaper in the US than anywhere else in the world (see image below).

World LNG Prices

Cheniere Energy, who is constructing the Sabine Pass liquefaction plant, presents comparisons of current natural gas prices in LNG-importing regions to the effective price of US originated LNG based on the structure of their contracts (SeekingAlpha). The image below shows one of these price comparisons assuming a $4.00/MMBtu Henry Hub price. Delivered costs to Asian countries is about $11/MMBtu, and $9/MMBtu to European countries.

Cheniere Cost Comparisons

So far, 9 of the 13 proposed terminals in the United States are located on the Gulf Coast. Another two are off the coast of Oregon, one off the coast of Georgia and one Eastern location off the coast of Maryland. While the gulf coast region plants make the most sense for shipment to Asian countries, LNG facilities in the Northeast would make for an easier route to European countries.

As far as production goes, the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in the northeast have emerged as the largest and fastest growing in terms of production. Pipeline issues and a lack of capacity have hindered takeaway and production growth in both shale plays. It has also caused many producers to flare off natural gas.

If more LNG facilities, and therefore infrastructure, are built for take away from the eastern shale plays, it could provide a direct answer to the production surplus. Europe wishes to diversify its sources of natural gas in order to reduce dependence on Gazprom and constructing facilities to ship would benefit producers and communities alike in the northeast region.


Marcellus and Utica Shale Plays. Courtesy of the EIA.

To read more, please view the following SeekingAlpha article here.

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July 11th, 2014

2014 Natural Gas Fast Facts

  • Natural gas futures hit a six-month low on Thursday, July 10, settling at $4.12/MMBtu – a 14% drop since June 12 (WSJ)
  • Extreme winter weather in January resulted in seven out of the 10 biggest demand days on record for the U.S. (Bentek)
  • The week ending January 10 posted a record-high withdrawal of 287 Bcf – the largest for the 20 years which data exists (EIA)
  • Natural Gas production hit a record 72 Bcf/day the in the first three months of 2014 (WSJ)
  • Since mid-May, gas inventories have risen 28% faster than the five-year average – see chart below (WSJ)

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July 3rd, 2014

Wyoming vs. The EPA

The newly overturned EPA standards seek to cut carbon pollution created by power plants by an average of 30% by 2030. The new emission standards will accelerate the United State’s transition to using alternative sources of energy for electricity generation. Coal is considered the dirtiest fossil fuel and since 202, 297 coal-fired units at power plants have already retired or are scheduled for retirement.

Wyoming produces approximately 40% of the coal for our nation and, similarly, accounts for the most carbon per capita in the US. While the United States still relies on coal for nearly 40% of it’s electricity needs, Wyoming governor, Matt Mead, believes the emissions standards will hurt not only his state but also the rest of the nation. Because coal is so prevalent in Wyoming, it obviously provides quite a number of jobs to its citizens. They have vowed to keep coal as an ‘economic bedrock’ even if it means shipping overseas.

For more information please click here.

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July 3rd, 2014

North Dakota Gas-Flaring

North Dakota, where you can find the oil and natural gas-rich Bakken Shale, lacks adequate infrastructure. This means any natural gas that isn’t captured is flared off and in April alone, these wells burned off 10.3 Bcf of natural gas – equating to nearly $50 million dollars. Flaring off natural gas degrades air quality and energy companies lose out on revenue though many companies make the money back in the amount of crude oil they generate.

On Tuesday, a new set of restrictions were introduced. The North Dakota Industrial Commission, which regulates and promotes the state’s oil industry, is now requiring oil producers to abide by production allowances that limit flaring at new and existing wells. The guidelines go into effect on September 30 and set targets for flaring at 23% of all gas produced by January 2015. After, the target is reduced to flaring only 20% of natural gas produced by 2020.

For more detail on this matter please visit the WSJ articles here and here.

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