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Global Chemicals Output Starts 2021 on a Solid Note

Global chemicals production rose 1.4% in January, a slightly slower pace than December and continuing the global recovery that began in June, according to data collected and tabulated by the American Chemistry Council. During January, chemical production grew across all regions. Headline global production was up 9.5% year-over-year on a three-month moving average basis. Global output stood at 129.0% of its average 2012 levels. Output was down a year ago due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


U.S. Crude Oil Production Had Largest Ever Decline in 2020

U.S. crude oil production averaged 11.3 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2020, down 935,000 b/d (8%) from the record annual average high of 12.2 million b/d in 2019. The 2020 decrease in production was the largest annual decline in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s records. The production decline resulted from reduced drilling activity related to low oil prices in 2020.

In January 2020, U.S. crude oil production reached a peak of 12.8 million b/d. In March 2020, crude oil prices decreased because of the sudden drop in petroleum demand that resulted from the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The declining prices led crude oil operators to shut in wells and limit the number of wells brought online, lowering the output for the major oil-producing regions. In May, U.S. crude oil production reached its lowest average monthly volume for the year at 10.0 million b/d. 

NRC: Nearly Every U.S. Nuclear Facility Receives Highest Rating

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued annual letters to the nation’s 94 operating commercial nuclear reactors, regarding their performance in 2020.

“Ninety reactors reached the highest performance category and fully met our safety and security performance objectives,” said acting director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation Andrea Veil. “Those 90 units will receive thousands of hours of inspection under our ‘baseline’ inspection program.”

Three reactors were in the second performance category, needing to resolve one or two items of low safety significance. For this performance level, regulatory oversight includes additional inspection and follow-up of corrective actions. Plants in this category are Callaway (Missouri); Clinton (Illinois); and Surry 2 (Virginia). 

S&P Global: Midstream Mergers Drove February M&A

North American pipeline companies drove large-scale oil and gas M&A deal-making in February with several proposed transactions aimed at industry consolidation, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.

During the month, the sector announced 17 whole-company and minority-stake deals, compared to six in February 2020. The combined value of the February 2021 deals skyrocketed year over year from $43 million to nearly $25 billion. 

U.S. Produced Less Natural Gas in 2020

U.S. natural gas production—as measured by gross withdrawals—averaged 111.2 billion cubic feet per day (cf/d) in 2020, down 0.9 billion cf/d from 2019 as result of a decline in drilling activity related to low natural gas and oil prices in 2020.

The 2019 record-high increase in natural gas production led to higher volumes of natural gas in storage and lower natural gas prices. Beginning in March 2020, warmer-than-average weather along with the effects of the responses to COVID-19 drove down natural gas demand and further reduced prices. The lowest average monthly U.S. natural gas production volume was in May 2020 at 106.4 billion cf/d. By December 2020, natural gas production had increased to 113.0 billion cf/d. 

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