US: GAS DEMAND GROWS
Relatively low prices of natural gas have contributed to steady increases in US industrial gas consumption since 2009, especially as a feedstock for chemical production.
According to the US Energy Information Administration's most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook, growth in US industrial demand will continue through 2015, with consumption averaging 21.3 bcfd in 2014 and 22.1 bcfd in 2015, a 4% increase, boosted by newly proposed chemical plants.
Two methanol plants are set to begin service this year—a small facility in Pampa, Tex., and another in Geismar, La. A handful of fertilizer plants have begun service, and an expansion is planned at a plant near Beaumont, Tex., later this year.
Continued growth in industrial demand is also supported by two large facilities coming online in 2015, a methanol plant in Clear Lake, Tex., and a fertilizer-urea plant in Wever.
"Many plants are on the Gulf Coast, but proximity to shale development in the Marcellus, Bakken, and Niobrara areas have led to proposals for facilities outside of Texas and Louisiana," EIA said.
Abundant gas in the Bakken shale falls in the spectrum of developments. Two ammonia-based fertilizer plants are proposed for North Dakota for 2018. Farm-owned cooperative CHS Inc.'s proposed plant in Spiritwood and Northern Plains Nitrogen's proposed plant for Grand Forks are both in permitting stages. Both have expected production of 2,400 tons/day of ammonia and would use close to 100 MMcfd of gas each, according to Bentek Energy estimates.
While most of the proposed methanol plants are on the Gulf Coast, two are proposed for 2018 in the Pacific Northwest. Northwest Innovation Works, a Chinese company, is planning two methanol facilities on the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon. The company hopes to export methanol produced in the US to Asian markets.
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WNA - Apart from adding capacity, utilisation of existing plants has improved markedly since 2000. In the 1990s capacity factors averaged around 60%, but they have steadily improved since and in 2010, 2011 and 2014 were above 81%. Balakovo was the best plant in 2011 with 92.5%, and again in 2014 with 85.1%.
WNA - India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power programme and expects to have 14.6 GWe nuclear capacity on line by 2024 and 63 GWe by 2032. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.
WNA - Mainland China has 38 nuclear power reactors in operation, about 20 under construction, and more about to start construction. The reactors under construction include some of the world's most advanced, to give a 70% increase of nuclear capacity to 58 GWe by 2020-21. Plans are for up to 150 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050.
PLATTS - "The domestic uranium mining industry needs US government assistance to survive the foreign onslaught -- particularly from Russia and Kazakhstan -- that has undermined the US uranium industry while new players -- particularly China -- will soon make the situation worse," Energy Fuels and Ur-Energy said in a petition they jointly filed with the department.