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News & Updates
Fall 2020
Center Releases Gulf Coast Energy Outlook 2021

On November 18, 2020, the LSU Center for Energy Studies released the 2021 edition of the Gulf Coast Energy Outlook (GCEO). Authored by David E. Dismukes, executive director and professor, and Greg Upton, associate professor-research, the report examines the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 hurricane season, trade negotiations with China, and potential policies of a Biden administration on the region’s upstream oil and gas activity, downstream investments in refining and petrochemicals, energy exports, electricity demand, and energy sector-specific employment.

For its economic modeling, the GCEO assumes that COVID-19 attenuates globally and that the world will return to some level of normalcy over the next two years. It also assumes that trade talks with China will not deteriorate, that new tariffs will not be implemented, and that export commitments on net do not impact demand for Gulf Coast energy products. And it assumes that the Biden policy of banning permits offshore will not go into effect, at least over the forecast horizon.

Findings include:
  • Both U.S. and Gulf Coast oil production are anticipated to decline over the next three years.
  • Today, futures markets are anticipating that there will be enough supply to meet global oil demand at between $40 and $50 per barrel for the next decade.
  • Natural gas prices are expected to be higher in 2021 and 2022 than futures markets suggested over the past two years.
  • Since 2013, U.S. and Gulf Coast total CO2 emissions from power generation have been down 13.8 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively. The CO2 emissions per MWh of electricity produced has declined by almost exactly 16 percent in both the U.S. and Gulf Coast region.
  • Gulf Coast wind capacity has increased by more than 19 GW over the past decade. Another 18 GW of wind capacity are currently being planned. Solar capacity is anticipated to increase by 33 GW in coming years.
  • The energy manufacturing investment outlook, until the year 2029, totals $105 billion. This investment is composed of $58 billion in LNG investments (55 percent) and $47 billion (45 percent) in energy manufacturing investments (non-LNG). Most of the total investment will be in Louisiana ($63.5 billion or 60 percent), followed by Texas ($41.5 billion or 40 percent).
  • Model results suggest that Louisiana’s upstream employment “bottomed out” in September of 2020. The GCEO anticipates that the worst is over for the upstream oil and gas extraction and services sectors. By the end of 2021, Louisiana is expected to regain about 2,600 upstream jobs relative to the trough in September of 2020.
  • Louisiana refining and chemical manufacturing employment is expected to increase by about 300 jobs by the end of 2021, or about a 0.8 percent increase.
  • Louisiana continues to employ more workers in refining and chemicals manufacturing than in upstream oil and natural gas extraction.

Missed the GCEO 2021 Kickoff?
The Center launched the Gulf Coast Energy Outlook 2021 with a Zoom webinar, presented by authors David E. Dismukes and Greg Upton. More than 190 people attended the first-ever virtual GCEO kickoff.

This YouTube video includes the presentation, as well as the Q&A session at the end.
The Gulf Coast Energy Outlook 2021 was made possible by our sponsors.
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freight trucks
Study Examines Role of Diesel Fuel Taxes in Freight Trucking Collision Externalities

In a paper recently published in the journal Regional Science and Urban Economics, CES Assistant Professor Cody Nehiba investigates how diesel fuel taxes for freight trucking may be contributing to traffic accidents, one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Nehiba examines how truck weights and truck miles traveled affect truck-involved collisions to determine if increasing the federal diesel fuel tax---which leads to fewer but heavier trucks on the road---provides benefits for society.

Shipping firms are known to minimize fuel costs by reducing the number of shipments they make while simultaneously increasing the cargo on each shipment when fuel prices rise. In the study, Nehiba uses 3.5 billion truck-weight observations to estimate how truck miles traveled and truck weight affect both the total number of collisions as well as the distribution of collision severity. His estimates reveal that both truck miles traveled and truck weight increase the total quantity of collisions, and heavier trucks skew the collision distribution toward fatal outcomes.

“A $0.37 diesel fuel tax increase---equivalent to a carbon tax of $36 per metric ton of CO2---significantly reduces pollution, congestion, and the total number of truck-involved collisions by over 4,100 crashes annually,” Nehiba said. “Unfortunately, these benefits are more than offset by an increase of 7,495 fatal collisions.”

Cumulatively, the diesel tax is shown to increase the external costs of trucking by $55.7 billion annually in the U.S., while also creating deadweight loss in the trucking industry.

The results suggest that truck weight is a first-order policy concern, and that policies that directly price truck weight, like an axle-weight-mile tax, would dominate the currently used diesel taxes. By jointly pricing mileage and weight, such a tax would be able to deliver pollution and congestion reductions similar to a diesel tax, while also saving lives and preserving roads by reducing truck weights.
cover of book the offshore pipeline construction industry
Kaiser Authors Offshore Pipeline Text

CES Professor Mark Kaiser has authored The Offshore Pipeline Construction Industry: Activity Modeling and Cost Estimation in the United States Gulf of Mexico (Gulf Professional Publishing, 2020). The book presents technical concepts and economic calculations to help pipeline engineers to better understand the choices and alternatives in designing, constructing, and operating offshore pipelines. 
Subjects include flow assurance, development strategies, and the construction service side from a global perspective, with special focus on assets in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Kaiser also examines pipeline construction and decommissioning cost, estimation methods, and pipeline trends related to installation and decommissioning activity.

prof wang and abhp logo
Wang Named Chair of American Board of Health Physics

Wei-Hsung Wang, LSU Center for Energy Studies professor and Radiation Safety Office director, has been appointed chair of the American Board of Health Physics (ABHP) for 2021. Wang was installed as a board member of the ABHP in 2019 and currently serves as vice chair. The ABHP grants professional certification in the field of health physics. The certification process is accredited by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as chair of the ABHP, which plays a vital role in assuring the highest standards in the practice of health physics and advancing the profession of health physics,” Wang said.

The ABHP board includes representatives from the Mayo Clinic, Philips Healthcare, Tidewater, Inc., the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Y-12 National Security Complex. Wang is the only board member from academia. His term as a board member ends in 2023.

About health physics: Health physics is the area of public health and environmental health engineering that deals with the safe use of ionizing and non-ionizing radiation in order to prevent harmful effects of the radiation to individuals, population groups, and the biosphere via the application of diverse scientific principles. Health physicists are responsible for the safety and security aspects in the design of processes, equipment, and facilities utilizing radiation sources, as well as for the adequate disposal of radioactive waste, ensuring that radiation exposure to personnel is minimized and is at all times within regulatory limits.

CES faculty have been quoted in and/or interviewed by media outlets more than 60 times, so far this year, on topics including the pandemic, oil prices, the presidential election, the Gulf Coast Energy Outlook, and more.

CES Events Update

The Center continues to follow University policy regarding on-site meetings and conferences. At this time, no in-person events are planned. The annual Energy Summit, which had been rescheduled to be a spring 2021 event, even before the pandemic began, will likely be presented virtually in late spring. Check the Center's Upcoming Events page for updates.
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Remember 2019?
Take a look back with the CES Annual Report, featuring research highlights, faculty achievements, and departmental updates.

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