The number of drilling rigs at work in Texas rose to 351 according to Baker Hughes, an oil services firm. Nationally, there were 712 rigs at work, a number that has been steadily increasing for several months. Likewise, US crude oil inventories are stabilizing at around 183 million barrels according to the Energy Information Administration. Overall, US crude production rose throughout the month, now about 8,961 million barrels/day – although this remains down from 9,235 million barrels/day from this time last year.
The new Presidential administration of President Donald Trump took the first steps towards reviving the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines – two controversial projects that had been halted by the Obama administration. Meanwhile in Texas, two protestors were arrested in a construction area for the Trans-Pecos Pipeline, a project meant to export natural gas to Mexico that has drawn concern from some West Texas conservationists.
In Washington, former Texas Governor Rick Perry testified before the Senate as part of his nomination as Secretary of Energy, a job that includes overseeing federal energy programs as well as the country’s nuclear arsenal.
The year also began with good news for renewable energy. For the first time, there were more than 100,000 jobs in the US wind sector, and more Americans now work in wind than in nuclear, coal, natural gas, or hydroelectric power plants. Overall, wind and solar accounted for a record 60% of new generation capacity in 2016, a trend likely to continue despite the ongoing phase-out of federal tax credits for renewable energy.