Moody’s analysts are have weighed in on prospects for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the US, forecasting that chemical companies and utilities could see some negative impact from higher domestic natural gas prices, but not enough to bring down their credit ratings.
Moody’s expects US LNG export capacity to rise to 6.3 billion cubic feet per day by 2020 – equivalent to 178.4 million cubic meters per day, compared with global exports totaling 330.8 billion cubic meters per day in 2011, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy. “We do not expect the volume of exports from North America will have a significant impact on the global LNG trade during this decade,” the rating agency said in a report, The Prospect of US LNG Exports Influences Pricing and Gas Markets Worldwide. Keep reading →
As we transition over from Breaking Energy to the new Breaking Energy site on May 6, we will be offering a new feature that seeks to explain, in simple, accessible language, some of the terms that we throw around in our stories. We will also provide links to help direct you to resources that can offer more exhaustive detail.
There’s no reason an electrical engineer should be able to make the immediate mental leap from GTL to gas-to-liquids, the expensive process that can turn gas into liquid automotive fuel, or that an oil and gas lawyer will have any idea what ISO stands for (Independent Systems Operator). We aim to make our coverage accessible to as wide an energy audience as possible, and we also hope to offer a resource for newcomers to the energy industry who just don’t speak the language yet. Keep reading →
The need to secure the electric grid against cyberattacks has attracted attention at both the corporate and policy level. But no one actually knows what “secure” really means, and making that determination may prove challenging.
Decision-makers at energy companies and on Capitol Hill have been alerted to the danger of a cyber attack on the electric grid. While those concerns may be valid, calls to “secure the grid” assume a level of knowledge of the state of grid security that even experts in the field may not possess, said IBM Energy Security Lead Andy Bochman at the Advanced Energy Conference in New York this week. Keep reading →
Sophisticated worms – automated software that spreads between computer devices – can infect an entire electric grid in a matter of seconds, but there may be effective defenses against them, according to Rob Johnson, assistant professor of computer science at Stony Brook University.
The critical role various computing devices have assumed in the daily functioning of the power grid has dramatically altered the security needs of utilities. While safeguards are already in place to protect against physical threats, like natural disasters, utilities may lack the tools to protect their networks from cyber attacks, such as worms. Keep reading →
A focus on the atmospheric impact of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 100 years from now distracts from immediate steps, such as reducing natural gas leakage from the production process, that could offer substantial medium-term climate benefits, according to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
Natural gas in power generation offers an obvious advantage over coal in cutting CO2 emissions. “If we think simply of the CO2 emitted per unit of electricity generated, you would say gas is a hands-down winner,” said EDF Chief Scientist Steven Hamburg at the Advanced Energy Conference in New York on Tuesday. Keep reading →
It was a record year for solar installations in the United States in 2012, boosting an industry still struggling with consolidation and bankruptcies.
Over 3.3 gigawatts of solar power were installed last year, according to a report Thursday from the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group. That’s enough to power about 500,000 homes, and it was a 76% increase from 2011. Keep reading →
Crude oil production in Alaska has been steadily declining for years with potentially dire consequences for the Trans Alaska Pipeline System and the state’s tax revenue base.
“Alyeska today is working to respond to the challenges posed by declining throughput. Throughput peaked at 2.1 million barrels a day in 1988. It has only steadily decreased since. In 2011, Alyeska on average moved about 600,000 barrels per day. With the lower flow levels, the crude oil takes longer to reach the Valdez Terminal – about 2 weeks, on average – and the oil is colder on arrival. The slower, colder oil has more potential for water and wax to settle and drop out, and as throughput declines further, the potential for ice to form during shutdown or flowing conditions increases,” according to operator Alyeska Pipeline Service Company’s website. Keep reading →
It’s been a long road, but the government-backed ZeaChem cellulosic ethanol demonstration plant in Oregon is finally turning out fuel.
The company announced the step this week, calling the Boardman plant “among the first operational cellulosic biorefineries in the world.” It’s a bit of good news in the seemingly illusory realm of ethanol made from non-food feedstocks, which have been slow to fulfill their promise of extricating the industry from the food vs. fuels debate. Keep reading →
China recently surpassed the US as the world’s largest net oil importer, as the US produces more and consumes less while Chinese demand steadily increases. US net oil imports have fallen from a peak of 13 million barrels per day in October 2006 to under 6 mmb/d in December 2012, according to a Citi research note issued February 28, titled “Milestones Toward US Energy Independence – Alert: US net Oil Imports Plummet to Second Place Behind China.”
“Meanwhile, since China flipped from a net exporter to a net importer of oil in 1993, its net oil imports have risen steadily to 6.3 mmb/d in January 2013, just under last May’s peak,” the Citi analysts said in the note. Keep reading →
The Keystone oil pipeline may have won approval from Nebraska’s governor Tuesday, but the final decision rests with President Obama.
And after the heavy emphasis on climate change in his inaugural speech Monday, analysts say Obama is likely to feel even more pressure to reject the pipeline. Keep reading →