As the White House kicks off “Energy Week,” here’s a look at how energy markets are faring so far this year — and how the Trump administration stands to change them:
- COAL: President Donald Trump has killed a stream-water protection rule that threatened to curb coal operations, directed the Interior Department to lift a moratorium on new coal leases on federal land, and started chipping away at environmental regulations that made coal-fired power plants increasingly expensive to run. U.S. coal production is up in 2017 from the same period a year ago amid supply cuts in China and Australia that spurred a price rally for metallurgical coal (the kind used to make steel).
- CRUDE: Oil prices are tanking this year, in part because U.S. production keeps rising. West Texas Intermediate, the American benchmark, reached a high of $54.45 in February before sinking into a bear market last week amid concerns that a supply glut may stick around for years. Rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. are at their highest since April 2015, and more shale supplies are heading abroad than ever before. The Trump administration cleared the way for the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline to start service, and granted a permit to build the Keystone XL crude pipeline from Canada into the U.S.
- NATURAL GAS: With Cheniere Energy Inc.’s liquefied natural gas export terminal in Louisiana now online, the U.S. is sending record volumes of the heating and power-plant fuel to countries including Mexico, China, Japan, Turkey and Spain. The White House has been ramping up efforts in recent months to promote overseas sales.
- POWER: Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord and gut the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s climate policy hasn’t stopped clean power from continuing to grow. While the White House works to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, which would’ve required electricity generators across the U.S. to curb emissions, solar and wind farms now make up 10 percent of America’s power supplies, their highest share yet and up from about one percent a decade ago.
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