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Last Updated: January 30, 2020
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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release updated projections of future U.S. energy production and use in its Annual Energy Outlook 2020 (AEO2020) today at 11:00 a.m. ET. The AEO2020 Reference case, which serves as a baseline for exploring the effects of different assumptions about the economy, policy, and technology, projects renewables to be the fastest-growing source of electricity generation through 2050, driven by continued declines in the capital costs for solar and wind technologies. Slow growth in U.S. energy consumption, as a result of continued increases in energy efficiency, and technologically enabled growth in domestic oil and natural gas production lead the United States to remain a net energy exporter through 2050.

The AEO2020 Reference case projects domestic energy demand to grow 0.3% per year on average through 2050, slower than the average annual growth of 1.9% in U.S. gross domestic product. This projection is largely driven by continued increases in energy efficiency in the end-use sectors. Gains in appliance efficiency in the residential and commercial sectors, increases in efficiency of new capital equipment in the industrial sector, and increases in fuel economy partially offset the growth in the number of households, industrial activity, and vehicle-miles traveled.

energy consumption by sector

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2020

The AEO2020 Reference case also projects the share of U.S. electricity generation from renewable sources to double from 19% of total generation in 2019 to 38% by 2050. Solar contributes the most to the growth, more than tripling from 14% of total renewable generation in 2019 to 46% by 2050. Although coal and nuclear generation decline through the mid-2020s as a result of capacity retirements, their generation stabilizes over the longer term as the more economically viable plants remain in service.

electricity generation from selected fuels

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2020

At the same time, the United States continues to produce historically high levels of crude oil and natural gas. In the AEO2020 Reference case, U.S. crude oil production continues to set annual records through the mid-2020s and remains near 14.0 million barrels per day (b/d) through the mid-2040s. EIA projects U.S. dry natural gas production will reach 45 trillion cubic feet by 2050. The continued development of tight oil and shale gas resources supports growth in these fuels.

AEO2020 crude oil production

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2020

With the production growth outpacing growth in domestic consumption of crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas, U.S. net exports of these fuels increase. In the Reference case, the United States will continue to export more petroleum and other liquids than it imports, with a peak at more than 3.8 million barrels per day (b/d) in the early 2030s before gradually declining to 0.2 million b/d in 2050 as domestic consumption slowly rises. U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and natural gas pipeline exports to Canada and to Mexico continue to rise through the 2020s before flattening for the remainder of the projection period.

After falling in the first half of the projection period, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions resume modest growth in the 2030s, but they remain lower than 2019 levels through 2050. Until about 2030, U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions decrease as a result of retirements of coal-fired generation capacity and corresponding changes in the mix of fuels consumed by the electric power sector. After 2030, increases in energy demand in the other sectors—predominantly transportation and industrial—result in increases in emissions.

AEO2020 U.S. energy-related co2 emissions

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2020

EIA’s AEO2020 also includes eight side cases that show the effects of changing key model assumptions, including two new cases (High Renewables Cost and Low Renewables Cost) that explore the uncertainty of future costs of renewable power generation technologies on U.S. electricity markets. The Issues in Focus article to be released later today with the AEO2020 discusses the results of these new cases.

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The Growing Divergence In Energy

Two acquisitions in the energy sector were announced in the last week that illustrate the growing divergence in approaching the future of oil and gas between Europe and the USA. In France, Total announced that it had bought Fonroche Biogaz, the market leader in the production of renewable gas in France. In North America, ConocoPhillips completed its acquisition of Concho Resources, deepening the upstream major’s foothold into the lucrative Permian Basin and its shale riches. One is heading towards renewables, and the other is doubling down on conventional oil and gas.

What does this say about the direction of the energy industry?

Total’s move is unsurprising. Like almost all of its European peers operating in the oil and gas sector, Total has announced ambitious targets to become carbon-neutral by 2050. It is an ambition supported by the European population and pushed for by European governments, so in that sense, Total is following the wishes of its investors and stakeholders – just like BP, Shell, Repsol, Eni and others are doing. Fonroche Biogaz is therefore a canny acquisition. The company designs, builds and operates anaerobic digestion units that convert organic waste such as farming manure into biomethane to serve a gas feedstock for power generation. Fonroche Biogaz already has close to 500 GWh of installed capacity through seven power generation units with four in the pipeline. This feeds into Total’s recent moves to expand its renewable power generation capacity, with the stated intention of increasing the group’s biomethane capacity to 1.5 terawatts per hour (TWh) by 2025. Through this, Total vaults into a leading position within the renewable gas market in Europe, which is already active through affiliates such as Méthanergy, PitPoint and Clean Energy.

In parallel to this move, Total also announced that it has decided not to renew its membership in the American Petroleum Institute for 2021. Citing that it is only ‘partially aligned’ with the API on climate change issues in the past, Total has now decided that those positions have now ‘diverged’ particularly on rolling back methane emission regulations, carbon pricing and decarbonising transport. The French supermajor is not alone in its stance. BP, which has ditched the supermajor moniker in favour of turning itself into a clean energy giant, has also expressed reservations over the API’s stance over climate issues, and may very well choose to resign from the trade group as well. Other European upstream players might follow suit.

However, the core of the API will remain American energy firms. And the stance among these companies remains pro-oil and gas, despite shareholder pressure to bring climate issues and clean energy to the forefront. While the likes of ExxonMobil and Chevron have balanced significant investments into prolific shale patches in North America with public overtures to embrace renewables, no major US firm has made a public commitment to a carbon-neutral future as their European counterparts have. And so ConocoPhillips acquisition of Concho Resources, which boosts its value to some US$60 billion is not an outlier, but a preview of the ongoing consolidation happening in US shale as the free-for-all days give way to big boy acquisitions following the price-upheaval there since 2019.

That could change. In fact, it will change. The incoming Biden administration marks a significant break from the Trump administration’s embrace of oil and gas. Instead of opening of protected federal lands to exploration, especially in Alaska and sensitive coastal areas and loosening environmental regulations, the US will now pivot to putting climate change at the top of the agenda. Although political realities may water it down, the progressive faction of the Democrats are pushing for a Green New Deal embracing sustainability as the future for the US. Biden has already hinted that he may cancel the controversial and long-running Keystone XL pipeline via executive order on his first day in the office. His nominees for key positions including the Department of the Interior, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and Council on Environmental Quality suggest that there will be a major push on low-carbon and renewable initiatives, at least for the next 4 years. A pledge to reach net zero fossil fuel emissions from the power sector by 2035 has been mooted. More will come.

The landscape is changing. But the two approaches still apply, the aggressive acceleration adopted by European majors, and the slower movement favoured by US firms. Political changes in the USA might hasten the change, but it is unlikely that convergence will happen anytime soon. There is room in the world for both approaches for now, but the future seems inevitable. It just depends on how energy companies want to get there.

Market Outlook:

  • Crude price trading range: Brent – US$54-56/b, WTI – US$51-53/b
  • Global crude oil benchmarks retreated slightly, as concerns of rising supplies and coronavirus spread impact consumption anticipations; in particular, new Covid-19 outbreaks in key countries such as Japan and China are menacing demand
  • Mapped against the new OPEC+ supply quotas, there is a risk that demand will retreat more than anticipated, weakening prices; however, a leaking pipeline in Libya has reduced oil output there by about 200,000 b/d, which could provide some price support
  • However, the longer-term prognosis remains healthier for oil prices factoring out these short-term concerns; the US EIA has raised its predicted average prices for Brent and WTI to US$52.70 and US$49.70 for the whole of 2021

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January, 22 2021
EIA expects crude oil prices to average near $50 per barrel through 2022

In its January Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects global demand for petroleum liquids will be greater than global supply in 2021, especially during the first quarter, leading to inventory draws. As a result, EIA expects the price of Brent crude oil to increase from its December 2020 average of $50 per barrel (b) to an average of $56/b in the first quarter of 2021. The Brent price is then expected to average between $51/b and $54/b on a quarterly basis through 2022.

EIA expects that growth in crude oil production from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and partner countries (OPEC+) will be limited because of a multilateral agreement to limit production. Saudi Arabia announced that it would voluntarily cut production by an additional 1.0 million b/d during February and March. Even with this cut, EIA expects OPEC to produce more oil than it did last year, forecasting that crude oil production from OPEC will average 27.2 million b/d in 2021, up from an estimated 25.6 million b/d in 2020.

EIA forecasts that U.S. crude oil production in the Lower 48 states—excluding the Gulf of Mexico—will decline in the first quarter of 2021 before increasing through the end of 2022. In 2021, EIA expects crude oil production in this region will average 8.9 million b/d and total U.S. crude oil production will average 11.1 million b/d, which is less than 2020 production.

EIA expects that responses to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases will continue to limit global oil demand in the first half of 2021. Based on global macroeconomic forecasts from Oxford Economics, however, EIA forecasts that global gross domestic product will grow by 5.4% in 2021 and by 4.3% in 2022, leading to energy consumption growth. EIA forecasts that global consumption of liquid fuels will average 97.8 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2021 and 101.1 million b/d in 2022, only slightly less than the 2019 average of 101.2 million b/d.

EIA expects global inventory draws will contribute to forecast rising crude oil prices in the first quarter of 2021. Despite rising forecast crude oil prices in early 2021, EIA expects upward price pressure will be limited through the forecast period because of high global oil inventory, surplus crude oil production capacity, and stock draws decreasing after the first quarter of 2021. EIA forecasts Brent crude oil prices will average $53/b in both 2021 and 2022.

quarterly global liquid fuels production and consumption

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO)

You can find more information on EIA’s expectations for changes in global petroleum liquids production, consumption, and crude oil prices in EIA’s latest This Week in Petroleum article and its January STEO.

January, 22 2021
Skullcandy Jib True Wireless Earbuds

The Skullcandy Jib True is a pair of well-built headphones that resemble its premium sibling Skullcandy Sesh Truly Wireless. They are low-profile Truly wireless headphones that look good and don't feel too cheap. They are definitely some of the smaller earbuds that we have tested and do not protrude too much from your ears.

Ratings > 7.6

+ In-expensive TWS earbuds

+ Secure and stable fit

+ Use either bud solo

- No app support

- Average battery life

Skullcandy Jib True Wireless are perfect for commute and travel. They are portable and comfortable. We can confidently add them to the list of cable-free and economical in-ear headphones.

Click for in-depth Review & Technical Specifications >

https://www.osralz.com/jib-true-wireless-review

January, 21 2021