Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline’s Mainline Alternative Route in a 3-2 vote. The new route maximizes co-location of the new system with the existing Keystone pipeline while having potential impacts on fewer miles of threatened or endangered species’ ranges, PSC said in its Nov. 20 final order.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp., The Woodlands, Tex., reported its 2018 capital expectations and guidance. In 2018, the company expects to make capital investments of $4.2-4.6 billion.
The US Trade and Development Agency (TDA) called for initial development proposals as it launched its US Gas Infrastructure Exports Initiative. Officials from the Departments of Energy, Interior, and State, as well as a House Energy and Commerce Committee member, expressed strong support during the Nov. 17 event at the US Chamber of Commerce.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC has opted for a complete exit from the Woodside Petroleum Ltd. share register just hours after an initial agreement to sell 64% of its holdings (OGJ Online, Nov. 13, 2017).
Light, sweet crude oil futures gained more than $1/bbl on Nov. 17 on the New York market as did Brent crude oil futures in London that same day. But oil prices ended lower for the week for the first time in 6 weeks. Recently, oil prices rallied to break above $60/bbl for the first time in more than 2 years.
International news for oil and gas professionals
The US House of Representatives approved tax reform legislation Nov. 16 in a 227-205 vote as 11 Republicans joined Democrats in opposing the bill. “We’ve got a long road ahead of us, and we have a timeline to get this done by the end of the year,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said after the vote.
TransCanada Corp. shut down its Keystone pipeline at about 6 a.m. CST Nov. 16 after a pressure drop was detected in its operating system resulting from an oil leak that is now under investigation. The estimated volume of the leak is 5,000 bbl. The section of pipe along a right-of-way roughly 35 miles south of the Ludden pump station in Marshall County (about 3 miles south of Amherst, SD) was isolated within 15 min, TransCanada reported.
OMV AG has joined a joint venture of automakers committed to building a network of fast and powerful charging stations for electric vehicles in Europe. The joint venture, IONITY, includes BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Co., and Volkswagen Group. OMV joins as a strategic partner.
The Norwegian government has been advised to shed equity holdings in oil and gas companies from its sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest. In a letter to the Ministry of Finance, officials of Norges Bank cited the amplified vulnerability of the government’s wealth to oil-price risk.
Light, sweet crude oil futures dropped to approach $55/bbl on the New York market Nov. 16 during a week in which the US benchmark declined nearly daily, but crude prices gained in early Nov. 17 trading.
Brazil plans to use many approaches as it tries to maintain the momentum from its successful Oct. 27 presalt production-sharing bidding round that raised $1.9 billion in signing bonuses, the leader of its National Petroleum, Natural Gas, and Biofuels Agency (ANP) told a Washington audience on Nov. 16.
The American Petroleum Institute, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, and Mexican Association of Hydrocarbon Companies jointly reiterated their support for the North American Free Trade Agreement as its renegotiation resumed in Mexico City on Nov. 15. Their latest joint position paper also repeated the need to maintain robust investor protections to keep North American energy integration strong.
According to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2017, up until the mid-2020s, oil demand growth remains robust in the New Policies Scenario (NPS) but slows markedly thereafter as greater efficiency and fuel-switching bring down oil use for passenger vehicles. IEA’s NPS models current and announced energy policies, including those from the Paris Climate Agreement.
Angola’s new president has fired the president of state-owned Sonangol, who was appointed to the position in June 2016 by her father, the former president. Isabel dos Santos implemented a series of reforms at the financially ailing oil and gas company aimed cutting costs and improving efficiency.
Light, sweet crude oil futures dropped modestly on the New York market Nov. 15 after the US government reported a gain in crude oil inventories along with rising production. Total US crude oil production for the week ended Nov. 10 was 9.645 million b/d, up 25,000 b/d of which the Lower 48 accounted for 20,000 b/d and Alaska accounted for the rest.
The US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee adopted Chair Lisa Murkowski’s proposal to authorize oil and gas leasing on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain for federal budget reconciliation purposes. The final 13-10 vote on Nov. 15 ran along party lines, with Republicans voting aye and Democrats, with Independents Bernie Sanders and Angus S. King Jr., voting no.
Devon Energy Corp. expects to increase net production in its Oklahoma STACK development to more than 120,000 boe/d by yearend, bringing an estimated 25 wells online in the fourth quarter.
SandRidge Energy Inc., Oklahoma City, will deepen its inventory of drilling locations in the Denver-Julesburg basin of Colorado under a definitive merger agreement it has entered with Bonanza Creek Energy Inc., Denver.
Light, sweet crude oil futures dropped more than $1/bbl on Nov. 14 in New York as did the Brent crude oil contract for February delivery in London as it settled just above $62/bbl.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC has opted for a complete exit from the Woodside Petroleum Ltd. share register just hours after an initial agreement to sell 64% of its holdings.
Demand for oil will grow through 2040 even as dominance of the internal combustion engine weakens in road transportation, according to base-case projections by IHS Market. But gasoline consumption will decline as fuel economy improves and as gasoline-fueled vehicles lose their share of new-vehicle sales, the firm says in research it calls Reinventing the Wheel.
EQT Corp. has completed its $8.2-billion acquisition of Rice Energy Inc, Canonsburg, Pa. Acquired properties include 421,000 net acres in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, average natural gas sales of 1.3 bcfd, and midstream interests.
The California Air Resources Board formally began its study of neighborhood air near petroleum sources, or SNAPS, as it launched a web site on Nov. 13 and prepared to hold its first public meeting a day later. The Nov. 14 meeting will be held at the California Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Sacramento.
Light, sweet crude oil futures traded mixed Nov. 13 but held fairly flat on the New York market while Brent crude oil prices fell modestly in London yet still settled above $63/bbl.
Bahraini officials blamed Iran for a Nov. 10 oil pipeline explosion south of Manama in an escalation of Persian Gulf tensions dismissed by Iranian counterparts as “absurd and false.” The blast at the village of Buri, 10 miles south of Manama, damaged several buildings. The fire was quickly extinguished after Bapco cut flow through the damaged AB3 pipeline.
Strong federal prosecutions will occur when individuals or groups vandalize oil and gas pipelines or other US energy transportation systems, the Department of Justice pledged. “This department is committed to vigorously prosecuting those who damage this critical energy infrastructure in violation of federal law,” a DOJ spokesperson said Nov. 10.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC has signed an agreement to sell part of its stake in Woodside Petroleum Ltd. to equity investors. Shell subsidiary Shell Energy Holdings Australia Ltd. has entered into an underwriting agreement with two investment banks for the sale of 71.6 million shares in Woodside, representing 64% of its interest in Woodside and 8.5% of the issued capital in Woodside, at a price of $31.10 (Aus.)/share, resulting in total pretax proceeds of $2.2 billion (Aus.).
Hess Corp. said it has shut in production at three of its Gulf of Mexico platforms after a Nov. 8 fire at Shell Oil Co.’s Enchilada platform. The fire was associated with a 30-in. export pipeline.
Light, sweet crude oil prices on the New York market fell Nov. 10 to settle below $57/bbl while Brent crude oil prices fell modestly in London but still settled above $63/bbl.
Chinese and Alaskan officials signed a five-party, $43-billion joint development agreement for the Alaska LNG project on Nov. 8 in Beijing. US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were present for the signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, where other deals between the two countries were announced.
The board of the Independent Petroleum Association of America elected Michael Watford as the organization’s chairman and Steven Hinchman as its vice-chairman.
Troubled Perth-based producer Empire Oil & Gas NL (EOG) has been acquired by its largest shareholder, Mineral Resources Ltd. (Min Res), also of Perth.
Saudi Aramco has signed agreements with several international oil and gas service contractors for oil and gas megaprojects as part of its Saudi Vision 2030 that are valued at a combined $4.5 billion. The agreements are designed to enhance the company’s energy sustainability, diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy, expand gas production, and localize domestic content, Aramco said.
Crude oil prices on the New York market gained modestly Nov. 9 as did Brent crude oil prices in London while conflict intensified between Middle Eastern rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.
SRC Energy Inc., Denver, has agreed to acquire certain undeveloped land and nonoperated production in the DJ basin from Noble Energy Inc., Houston, for $608 million.
Husky Energy Inc., Calgary, has completed its acquisition of Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP subsidiary Calumet Superior LLC’s 47,500-b/cd refinery in Superior, Wis., and other regional downstream assets.
Total SA has agreed to acquire LNG assets from Engie SA for as much as $2.04 billion. The deal includes interests in liquefaction plants, long-term LNG sales and purchase agreements, an LNG tanker fleet, and access to regasification capacities.
US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-Alas.) released proposed legislation on Nov. 8 that would authorize oil and gas leasing on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain to raise nearly $1 billion for the proposed Fiscal 2018 federal budget.
An American Petroleum Institute official urged the US Environmental Protection Agency to keep renewable fuel quotas at reasonable levels as Congress considers ways to reform the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.
Crude oil prices on the New York market dropped in volatile trading Nov. 8 after a weekly US government inventory report showed a gain in crude supplies and rising production.
The US House Natural Resources Committee approved a bill by a 19-14 vote on Nov. 8 that would reform federal onshore and offshore energy resource management policies. H.R. 4239, which Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and three cosponsors introduced on Nov. 3, now heads to the House floor for further consideration.
ConocoPhillips plans an average annual capital budget of $5.5 billion during 2018-20 based on a flat real West Texas Intermediate price of $50/bbl. The Houston independent also intends to reduce its debt to $15 billion in 2019.
A US House Natural Resources Committee subcommittee heard more support for offshore than onshore policy reform proposals at a Nov. 7 hearing as two of the four witnesses differed on whether to transfer federal onshore oil and gas responsibilities to agencies in producing states.
Crude oil prices on the New York and London markets dropped on Nov. 7 and continued to retreat on Nov. 8 following a recent surge to 2-year highs.
Tension is rising between Saudi Arabia and Iran through a succession of events leading to accusations of warlike behavior.
Total Marketing Services SA and ERG SPA have agreed to sell their remaining assets in TotalErg SPA, an oil product distribution and refining joint venture, to Italy’s Anonima Petroli Italiana (API). ERG holds 51% of the combine and Total has 49%.
Light, sweet crude oil prices soared by more than $1.70 on Nov. 6 on the New York market while Brent crude oil prices jumped by more than $2 in London. The oil benchmarks reached 2-year highs although they were edging down in Nov. 7 trading.
US House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) introduced legislation on Nov. 3 that would reform federal onshore and offshore energy resource management policies substantially. Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) and two Texas Democrats, Reps. Henry Cuellar and Vincent Gonzalez, were cosponsors.
US President Donald Trump has nominated Linda A. Capuano, currently a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Energy Studies, to lead the US Energy Information Administration.
Eighty congressional Democrats and US Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) petitioned US Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke to implement and begin to enforce the US Bureau of Land Management’s 2016 methane venting and flaring rule.
Light, sweet crude oil prices gained more than $1 to close above $55/bbl on the New York market Nov. 3—the second consecutive day the US benchmark reached a settlement high since July 2015.
The US Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency separately reported energy regulatory burdens discovered within their operations and steps under way to relieve them. Other federal departments and agencies also issued reports on Oct. 25 in response to US President Donald Trump's Executive Order 13783 directing departments and agencies across the government on Mar. 28 to review and possibly change rules that impede the nation's energy development.
The US Senate confirmed the nominations of Kevin McIntyre and Richard Glick to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Nov. 2. McIntyre, who co-leads the global energy practice at the Jones Day law firm, will serve the remainder of a term that ends in June 2018 and a full term that ends 5 years later.
Nigerian oil production came under renewed threat Nov. 3 when a militant group canceled a ceasefire in effect this year and warned of a “brutish, brutal, and bloody” campaign against oil companies.
The Texas upstream industry continues to expand thanks to a more-stable oil market.
Democrats on the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee questioned whether it was appropriate to hold a Nov. 2 hearing on possibly allowing oil and gas leasing on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge’s Coastal Plain when it was not yet clear why the issue needs to be considered now.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) and BP PLC have signed a letter of intent to jointly identify and evaluate business opportunities involving assets or ventures in Brazil and abroad.
Light, sweet crude oil prices closed above $54.50/bbl on the New York market Nov. 2, marking the near-month’s highest settlement since July 2015 while Brent crude oil prices in London held above $60/bbl.
The US Appeals Court for the District of Columbia denied three Sierra Club petitions for reviews of US Department of Energy approvals for LNG exports from terminals at Cove Point, Md.; Sabine Pass, La.; and Corpus Christi, Tex.
Chrysaor Holdings Ltd., London, has completed its acquisition of UK North Sea interests from Royal Dutch Shell PLC for $3 billion, subject to adjustments.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC posted a third-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders on a current cost of supplies basis of $4.1 billion, up from $2.7 billion in third-quarter 2016.
Oil prices briefly climbed above $55/bbl on the New York market Nov. 1 before trading lower to settle fairly flat with the previous day at $54.30/bbl for the December contract. The Nov. 1 trading high for the December contract was $55.22/bbl.
American Midstream Partners LP has agreed to acquire interests in certain subsidiaries of Southcross Holdings LP and merge Southcross Energy Partners LP into a wholly owned subsidiary in two separate deals valued at $815 million, including the repayment of net debt. The moves create a South Texas-focused partnership with an enterprise value of $3 billion.
The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has responded appropriately to US Energy Sec. Rick Perry’s call for an examination of whether competitive markets might be jeopardizing the US power grid’s resilience and reliability by forcing utilities to retire nuclear and coal-fired power plants prematurely, a panel of stakeholders generally agreed on Oct. 31.
Consol Energy Inc., Pittsburgh, will be split into a coal company and a natural gas exploration and production company focused on the Marcellus and Utica shale plays of the Appalachian basin.
US House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) released a new draft of proposed legislation to overhaul federal lands energy policy late on Oct. 31. The committee’s Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, which discussed two earlier drafts at hearings in October, will examine this one on Nov. 7.
ExxonMobil Corp. agreed to spend about $300 million for new air pollution control and monitoring equipment at five petrochemical plants in Texas and three in Louisiana.
US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator E. Scott Pruitt issued a directive on Oct. 31 aimed at ensuring that any member of an EPA federal advisory committee is independent and free of any real, apparent, or potential interference with his or her objectivity on matters the committee considers.
Sydney and Port Moresby-based Oil Search Ltd. has spread beyond Papua New Guinea to buy into oil permits in Alaska west of the Prudhoe Bay oil fields.
Ineos Shale has expanded its onshore exploration and development license area in the UK with an acquisition from Total E&P Ltd.
US crude oil inventories and gasoline stockpiles both dropped last week, according to US Energy Information Administration data.
Oil prices climbed on the New York market Oct. 31 and reached above $55/bbl in early Nov. 1 trading on what analysts called growing optimism that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will extend its production-cut targets.
Ineos has completed its purchase of the Forties oil pipeline system and associated facilities in the UK North Sea from BP PLC.
Chevron Global Ventures Ltd. has canceled plans to sell its wholly owned indirect subsidiaries in Bangladesh to Himalaya Energy Co. Ltd. of China, according to press reports.
BP PLC reported an underlying replacement cost profit attributable to shareholders for the third quarter of $1.865 billion, up from $684 million in the second quarter and $933 in third-quarter 2016.
A coalition of independent refiners, retailers, and labor unions called on the Trump administration to move ahead on a previously announced review of biofuel quotas under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) despite opposition from renewable fuels organizations and two US senators from Great Plains states.
Brent crude oil price for December delivery moved toward $61/bbl on Oct. 30 while the US light, sweet December crude price settled above $54/bbl in New York.
Alex Pourbaix has been named president and chief executive officer of Cenovus Energy Inc., Calgary. He succeeds Brian Ferguson, who is retiring.