US Weekly Energy Report - 28 September 2017

Market Commentary

In its latest Weekly Petroleum Status Report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported crude oil exports at nearly 1.5 million barrels per day, an all-time record high. U.S. crude exports had been down in the weeks following Hurricane Harvey, but increased 563,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Higher exports combined with an ongoing recovery in Gulf Coast refinery utilization to erode U.S. crude oil inventories by 1.846 million barrels.

Ahead of meetings with the Public Utility Commission of Texas, NRG Energy filed a report highlighting issues related to the state’s electricity generation network following Hurricane Harvey in August. Texas’ second-largest generation owner was forced to switch two units at its W.A. Parish power plant from coal to natural gas after 38 inches of rainfall saturated external coal stockpiles to the point that it could not be delivered on the existing conveyor system. The units hadn’t used natural gas for operational purposes since 2009.

According to data released this week by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), nuclear power plant outages averaged just 4.6 gigawatts over the summer period June through August in 2017. This represents a decline of 10% from the same period last year and near the lower end of the five-year range. Nuclear outages are typically low in the summer, when demand for electricity is high, but unscheduled shutdowns can result from things like equipment failure and environmental concerns.

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