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Last updateWed, 22 Mar 2017 3pm

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U.S. Crude Oil Production Decreased in 2016

Even with a rising crude oil price throughout most of 2016, total U.S. oil production in 2016 was below its 2015 level. However, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports, monthly production began growing in the fourth quarter of the year after declining over its first three quarters. Total production managed to stay above the five-year average thanks to prior year increases. With the removal of restrictions on exports of domestically-produced crude oil at the end of 2015, crude oil exports increased and the difference between Brent and WTI crude prices narrowed, which made crude imports relatively more attractive. 


CO2 Emissions Flat for Third Straight Year

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were flat for a third straight year in 2016 even as the global economy grew, according to the International Energy Agency, signaling a continuing decoupling of emissions and economic activity. This was the result of growing renewable power generation, switches from coal to natural gas, improvements in energy efficiency, as well as structural changes in the global economy.

The biggest drop came from the U.S., where carbon dioxide emissions fell 3%, or 160 million tons, while the economy grew by 1.6%. The decline was driven by a surge in shale gas supplies and more attractive renewable power that displaced coal. Emissions in the U.S. last year were at their lowest level since 1992, a period during which the economy grew by 80%. 

Major Reforms Needed for Nuclear Power to Flourish

In a guest column for Forbes, author Kazuyasu Makabe argues that, “the current regime does not do enough to enable commercial development and deployment of technologies that can be 60 times more efficient than current reactors and burn much of the fuel waste piling up around the world today,” he writes.

“For example, after almost eight years of hand-wringing, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission finally issued a rule last year creating a variable fee structure for small reactors so that they do not pay as much as the current one-size-fit-all $5 million per year per reactor, but for traditional light water reactors only.” 

Oil Slump's Effect on Houston Bigger Than Previously Thought

“Revised federal labor statistics show the Houston metro region lost more than 81,000 oil and gas jobs during the downturn in the energy sector, which is nearly 14,000 more jobs than originally believed,” the Associated Press reports.

“The job losses in 2015 and 2016 are seen as representing the worst downturn in the energy sector in 30 years” as “more than 100 companies went bankrupt in Texas and capital expenditures shrunk by more than half.” 

China to Drive Global Petrochemical Market Growth

Despite a slowing economy, high debt levels and overcapacity for some chemicals, China will continue its dominance of the global petrochemical marketplace, both in terms of consumption and production, but growth will moderate during the next few years, according to analysis from IHS Markit.

IHS Markit forecasts Chinese demand growth for key chemicals will be slower at around 5-7% for at least the next four years, significantly below the historical growth rate, as the country’s economy is driven less by manufacturing and capital investment.

“China has not been spared by the global economic slowdown, but the country will still drive growth in the worldwide chemical industry in the years ahead,” said Paul Pang, vice president of greater China chemical at IHS Markit. “China remains the largest growth market for chemicals, although we expect Chinese growth to moderate.” 

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