Editor’s note: Each Friday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Energy In-depth,” a round-up of energy and regulatory news.
U.S. MINING AND EXPLORATION INVESTMENT DECLINED 35% IN 2015
Mining and exploration investment declined 35% in 2015, the second largest year-over-year decline since the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) began reporting the series in 1948. Most mining and exploration investment reflects petroleum exploration and development, but the category also includes natural gas, coal and other minerals. Mining and exploration investment declined from $135 billion in 2014 to $87.7 billion in 2015, weighing down investment growth more than any other segment of nonresidential investment.
Total private fixed investment, of which mining and exploration is a small subset, grew 4% in 2015 to $2.7 trillion. Low commodity prices remain a significant factor in U.S. firms’ investment decisions.
IEA SAYS OIL STOCKPILES TO DECLINE CONSIDERABLY IN 2016
Having peaked, at a five-year high of 1.6 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2015, global oil demand growth will ease back considerably in 2016, to 1.2 mb/d, pulled down by notable slowdowns in Europe, China and the United States, according the highly-watched International Energy Agency’s Oil Market Report (OMR) for February. Early elements of the projected slowdown surfaced in the last quarter of 2015, IEA said.
COAL TRADE GROUP SAYS CLEAN POWER PLAN WOULD INCREASE ARKANSAS ELECTRIC RATES BY 14%
Fresh off the U.S. Supreme Court’s stay this week of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, a coal industry trade group has released its own analysis that the federal carbon emission rules could increase electricity prices in Arkansas by an average of 14% per year, with peak year increases of as much as 18%.
Because lower-income and middle-income families spend a larger percentage of their incomes on energy, electricity price increases caused by EPA’s Power Plan would fall disproportionately on lower-income and middle-income Arkansas families, according to the 50-state analysis by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. Minorities and senior citizens are especially vulnerable to these electricity price increases due to their lower household incomes.