Cactus II Pipeline Tariff Waiver Request Denied

A new request to remove import tariffs on steel for Plains All American's Cactus II crude oil pipeline system got rejected by the Trump administration.

The U.S. Commerce Department had already denied Cactus II's similar request last year, citing the same reason that the waiver request was not a "complete submission". The company requested to waive import tariffs on hundreds of miles of steel pipeline imported from Greece.

The 25% steel import tariff announced in March 2018. The department has rejected waivers for 517.6K metric tons of steel, while granted waivers for 153.7K metric tons of steel, Argus reports.

Although, majority of requests from the oil and gas industry to win exemptions was lost to Department of Commerce, the department lifted the tariff on pipeline that Cheniere had proposed to import from Canada for its planned 1.4 billion cubic feet per day Midship natural gas.


U.S. Achieves New "Net Petroleum Exporter" Status for First Time in 70 Years - Loses It One Week Later

The United States has lost its newly acquired status of being a net petroleum exporter in as quick as a week after achieving the status in the end of November.

It had been almost 70 years since the U.S. last shipped out more combined crude oil and refined petroleum products than it imported. The federal government made waves when it revealed last week that it had achieved that feat again.

Exports fell in the first week of December, returning the U.S. to its prior status.

Crude exports fell from a record weekly high of 3.2 million barrels a day to 2.3 million barrels a day last week.

The fall resulted in the U.S. going from an overall petroleum net exporter of 211,000 barrels a day to a net importer of 1.3 million barrels a day.

The U.S. is expected to eventually become a sustained net exporter.


Texas Gulf Coast Oil Exports Exceed Imports for First Time

In April, oil exports in the Houston-Galveston port district exceeded imports by 15,000 barrels a day, and that difference grew to 470,000 barrels a day in May. It marks the first time that oil exports exceed imports on record, according to the data from the Department of Energy.

The Houston-Galveston port district includes the ports of Houston, Texas City, Galveston, Freeport, Port Lavaca, and Corpus Christi.

May’s total U.S. crude oil exports rose to a record 2 million barrels a day. That marks a 100 percent increase from last year’s numbers, which were just over 1 million barrels a day.  The Houston-Galveston port district was responsible for 70 percent of total U.S. crude oil exports.

The Energy Department linked the growing export volumes to efforts of expanding infrastructure at the ports of Corpus Christi and Houston. Only the port district of Port Arthur is seeing similar significant crude oil export volumes.

Houston Chronicle

U.S. Pipeline Developers Plan to Seek Exemption to Steel Tariff

Pipeline developers in the U.S. are intending to pursue exemptions to the Trump Administration's proposed 25 percent tariff on imported steel as worry looms over the impact that the cost increase would have on a number of pipeline projects.

Energy companies have argued against the tariff that was declared last week, saying the U.S. does not provide key metal grades or diameters needed for some pipeline projects. They also argue that U.S. manufacturers have a longer production time than importers overseas, which would impede pipeline development.

According to a 2017 study conducted for the pipeline industry, steel imports account for 77 percent of the steel used in U.S. pipelines.

NAmerico Partners, which is planning a multibillion dollar pipeline from the Permian to the Gulf Coast, said it estimates the tariff would raise the cost of the project to its customers by two to four percent. Construction has not yet started on the project.

The U.S. Commerce Department is working to come up with a procedure for companies to apply for exemptions from the tariffs on steel and aluminum. The department has 10 days to do so.

Austin attorney Adrian McTyre said tariffs could still raise costs and slow down projects even with exemptions because of the development of a new regulatory hurdle and the many unknowns to that process right now.


Proposed U.S. Steel Import Tariff Could Slow New Pipeline Projects, LNG Exports

Natural gas trade groups in the U.S. are worried that a new U.S. steel import tariff may delay new pipeline projects and slow exports of liquefied natural gas.

President Donald Trump on Thursday said the U.S. will impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports starting next week.

The steel used to make large, thick-walled pipe for interstate natural gas pipelines is a specialized product that is not available from a wide variety of manufacturers, according to a spokesperson for the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America.

Another trade group representing LNG companies worry that the proposed tariff on steel could potentially negatively affect U.S. LNG export projects.

Trump tweeted that the tariffs would help the U.S. win a "trade war" that it was currently losing.

Critics say the tariffs could fail to protect American jobs and ultimately raise prices for consumers.

BBC News

Low U.S. Gas Stockpiles, Pipeline Delays Cause Challenge for Fuel Exports to Mexico

Low natural gas inventories in the U.S. and delays in pipeline infrastructure may slow exports this year to Mexico, which is dependent on U.S. fuel, according to analysts.

Cold temperatures pushed U.S. gas stockpiles far below the five-year average in early January, from 2.471 trillion cubic feet to 2.078 trillion cubic feet, the lowest it has been since 2014.

Analysts say operators will find it difficult to completely replenish U.S. gas inventories during the 2018 gas injection season, which will impact exports from the country.

When inventory levels are weak, operators normally put more gas into rebuilding storage than exporting it, which hampers shipments to Mexico.

Delays in the Nueva Era pipeline, which is designed to move gas from the U.S. into Mexico, is also causing challenges for Mexico to increase U.S. gas pipeline imports.

The pipeline, a joint venture between Howard Energy Partners and Grupo Clisa, was originally supposed to come online in June 2017 but has been delayed until the third quarter of 2018.


U.S. Expected to Become Net Exporter of NatGas for First Time Since 1950s

The U.S. in 2018 could become a net exporter of natural gas for the first time since 1957 due to increased natural gas and LNG exports to various countries and decreased imported gas from Canada.

The U.S. Department of Energy expects that U.S. LNG capacity will be the third largest in the world by 2019 as terminals on the Gulf Coast continue to reach full capacity and plans begin for construction of additional terminals in Maryland, Georgia, Texas, and Louisiana.

U.S. natural gas exports to Mexico are also on the rise and are expected to double by 2019. But this expected growth will depend on the completion of Mexico's connecting pipelines, which have been experiencing construction delays.

Fuel Fix