Last updateThu, 06 May 2021 8pm

Chemical Activity Barometer Rose in April

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) from the American Chemistry Council rose 0.7% in April on a three-month moving average basis following a 1.1% increase in March and a 0.9% gain in February. On a year-over-year basis, the barometer rose 12.0% in April.

The unadjusted data show a 0.3% increase in April following a 1.4% gain in March. The diffusion index reached 100% in April. The diffusion index marks the number of positive contributors relative to the total number of indicators monitored. The CAB reading for March was revised downward by 0.35 points and the reading for February was revised downward by 0.58 points. 

EIA Predicts Decline in Commercial Energy Growth

In its Annual Energy Outlook 2021, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that commercial floorspace will grow significantly over the next 30 years in the United States; however, energy use grows at a much slower pace. EIA assumes wider adoption of commercial building sensors and controls over time and other factors, including energy efficiency gains and warmer weather, will all contribute to declines in commercial energy consumption to meet heating, ventilation, and lighting needs. Other commercial energy uses will increase. EIA projects an 8% decline in the energy intensity of commercial buildings by 2050 (a measure of energy consumed per square foot of floorspace). Commercial floorspace grows by 33%, and total commercial energy use grows by 22% between 2020 and 2050. 

U.S. Remained a Net Energy Exporter in 2020

Energy exports from the U.S. exceeded imports by 3.4 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) in 2020, the largest margin on record, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). U.S. energy exports totaled 23.4 quads, nearly equaling the record high set in 2019, and energy imports fell 13% to 20.0 quads, the lowest level since 1992. The U.S. exported more energy than it imported for the second consecutive year. 

U.S. Drilling on Path to Recovery

After the number of drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells demonstrated a dramatic drop across multiple U.S. basins in the past year, heightened drilling activity and stable commodity prices are starting to reveal a recovery of young DUCs.

Drilling and completions activity continued its strong recovery trajectory during the first quarter of 2021 as higher rig and frac crew counts led to higher U.S. production, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics. In general, completions outpaced drilling which led to a higher utilization of the U.S. DUC inventory.  

Six Subsectors Account for 87% of Manufacturing Energy Consumption

In 2018, the U.S. manufacturing sector consumed 19.4 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) of energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest Manufacturing Energy Consumption Survey (MECS). In 2018, six energy-intensive subsectors—chemicals, petroleum and coal products, paper, primary metals, food, and nonmetallic mineral products—consumed 16.9 quadrillion Btu, or 87% of the total energy consumed in the manufacturing sector.

MECS is a mandatory survey EIA conducts once every four years that collects information on energy consumption by type and expenditure from a sample of establishments from 21 subsectors within U.S. manufacturing. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) established these subsector definitions and categorizes manufacturing establishments according to the types of production processes they primarily use. 

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