Natural gas already is reducing US greenhouse gas emissions more effectively than what congressional Democrats proposed in their Green New Deal Resolution, US Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Energy Subcommittee, said on Feb. 14.
The US natural gas and oil industry broke several records in January, according to the latest Monthly Statistical Report from the American Petroleum Institute. US total petroleum demand, as measured by total domestic petroleum deliveries, was 20.7 million b/d in January, which was down 0.2% from December but up 1.1% compared with January 2018. This was the strongest petroleum demand for January since 2005.
The US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration, issued a final rule requiring railroads to develop and submit comprehensive oil spill response plans covering route segments used by high hazard flammable trains.
Light, sweet crude oil prices gained for a third consecutive trading session on the New York market Feb. 14, settling above $54/bbl. Meanwhile, the gap between Brent and US futures widened with Brent settling at about a $10/bbl premium above light, sweet crude. Analysts said oil prices also climbed this week because of expectations that US President Donald Trump would extend a March deadline for implementing additional US tariffs on Chinese goods. Trade talks are continuing.
Vintage Energy has acquired 100% and operatorship of onshore Bonaparte basin permit EP 126 in the Northern Territory from Beach Energy. The 6,700-sq km permit stretches east from the border of Western Australia and Northern Territory to the Victoria River and contains the Cullen-1 wildcat drilled by Beach in 2014 that encountered strong natural gas shows in a thick fractured carbonate reservoir.
A lack of training, familiarity, and experience with the drill floor equipment and drillship layout could have contributed to the Dec. 2, 2017, accident that killed a floor hand aboard the Petrobras 10000 drillship working in the Gulf of Mexico’s Walker Ridge 469 area, the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said in a Feb. 13 report of its investigation into the incident.
Chevron USA Inc. has entered into a long-term LNG supply agreement with GS Caltex Corp. that calls for the delivery of LNG to South Korea from Chevron’s global supply portfolio.
With US shale activity in 2019 beset by uncertainty, Rystad Energy identifies three trends for US light tight oil production that will have a profound impact on the evolution of the industry in 2019 and 2020.
US Lower 48 exploration and production companies are under pressure from investors demanding greater capital discipline, positive free cash flow, and increasing returns. The Lower 48’s independents, who traditionally pursued growth at all costs, must now rein in their impulses and focus on delivering returns to their shareholders.
Most of the concerns heard by the US Bureau of Land Management during eight public meetings about the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for proposed oil and gas activity on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain have involved possible impacts on the porcupine caribou herd there, a US Department of the Interior official said during the final public meeting in Washington on Feb. 13.
Saudi Aramco and Total SA have signed an agreement to form a 50-50 joint venture that will invest $1 billion to develop a network of fuel and retail services in Saudi Arabia. Total will be the first major international oil company to invest in the kingdom’s fuel retail network.
Light, sweet crude oil for April delivery rose to settle above $54/bbl on the New York market Feb. 13 while Brent for April climbed more than $1/bbl to settle above $63/bbl in London. A weekly US inventory report showed higher oil inventories, but US oil production held unchanged. While many analysts have closely monitored US-China trade talks, Standard Chartered analysts suggest another risk facing world oil demand is Germany.
PetroQuest Energy emerged from bankruptcy after meeting conditions of its Chapter 11 plan of reorganization, which was confirmed by the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas on Jan. 31. Through the process, the company eliminated $295 million in debt and preferred equity obligations.
Global supply fell 1.4 million b/d to 99.7 million b/d in January, according to data from the International Energy Agency’s latest Oil Market Report. The decline reflected factors including sanctions against Iran, a supply fall in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries of 930,000 b/d in January, US sanctions against Venezuela’s state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), and Alberta supply cuts.
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management plans to hold a Gulf of Mexico-wide oil and gas lease sale in March that will include all available unleased areas in federal waters covering about 78 million acres. Lease Sale 252 will include about 14,696 unleased blocks in a range of 3-231 miles offshore across the gulf’s western, central, and eastern planning areas in 9-11,115 ft of water.
A Suncor Energy Inc. subsidiary is building a network of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles across Canada. More than 50 charging facilities will be installed at Petro-Canada service stations along the Trans-Canada Highway between Victoria, BC, and St. John’s, Newf.
US crude oil inventories for the week ended Feb. 8, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increased by 3.6 million bbl from the previous week, data from the US Energy Information Administration showed.
Brent crude for April delivery rose by nearly $1/bbl on the London market Feb. 12 following a report that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reduced oil production in January by 797,000 b/d compared with December 2018.
US gross greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions totaling 6,472 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) in 2017 came in 21.1 million tCO2e, or 0.3% less, than 2016’s 6,493 million tCO2e, the US Environmental Protection Agency reported.
In 2018, publicly traded US oil and gas exploration and production companies issued the lowest amount of new funding since at least 2013, raising $14 billion in debt and $2 billion from public equity markets, according to an analysis by the US Energy Information Administration.
Karen A. Harbert, who has led the US Chamber of Commerce’s energy program for the past decade, will become the American Gas Association’s next president on Apr. 1. She will succeed David K. McCurdy, who plans to retire on Feb. 28. Harbert will be the first woman to lead AGA’s staff.
In its most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook, the US Energy Information Administration forecasts Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude oil spot prices in 2020 will average $62/bbl and $58/bbl, respectively. Both prices are $3/bbl lower than EIA’s STEO from January. The lower price reflects the expectation of looser global oil market balances in 2020 compared with last month’s outlook.
Eclipse Resources Corp., State College, Pa., and Blue Ridge Mountain Resources Inc., Irving, Tex., moved closer to completing the all-stock deal to combine as the boards and stockholders from each company granted their respective approvals.
Encana Corp. and Newfield Exploration Co. expect to close on a deal to combine on Feb. 13 following approval of necessary proposals at the special shareholder meetings held Feb. 12.
Antero Resources Corp. has agreed to pay $3.15 million for Clean Water Act violations at 32 sites in three West Virginia counties affected by Antero’s Marcellus shale natural gas operations, the US Department of Justice reported. DOJ, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said the West Virginia counties involved are Harrison, Doddridge, and Tyler.
Light, sweet crude oil prices on the New York and London markets declined modestly Feb 11 pending release of a monthly production report by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. On Feb. 12, OPEC reported it reduced oil production in January by 797,000 b/d compared with December 2018. The cartel’s January production averaged 30.81 million b/d, OPEC’s secondary sources indicated.
Six public and trade associations have asked US Transportation Sec. Elaine Chao “to act expeditiously” to approve revisions to the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s federal natural gas pipeline safety regulations. “PHMSA’s rule will advance gas transmission pipeline safety by defining specific requirements to facilitate the use of 21st-century pipeline safety technologies and processes,” the groups said in their Feb. 7 letter.
India has launched the third bid round under its Open Acreage Licensing Policy, offering 23 onshore and offshore blocks covering more than 31,000 sq km for exploration. Dharmendra Pradhan, minister of petroleum and natural gas, announced OALP-3 at the Petrotech conference in Noida, outside Delhi.
Venezuela’s oil industry has been in a tailspin in recent years, with the country’s crude oil production falling to just 1.34 million b/d at yearend 2018 from 2.4 million b/d in 2015. This freefall is poised to carry over into 2019, according to energy research and consulting firm Rystad Energy.
Crude oil benchmark prices rose modestly Feb. 8 with light, sweet crude oil for March delivery settling above $52.70/bbl and Brent settling above $62/bbl although both crude benchmarks declined for the week overall ended Feb. 8. US futures tumbled 4.6% for the week, which Dow Jones Market Data said was the largest loss since the week ended Dec. 21, 2018. Brent oil prices dropped 1% for the week ended Feb. 8.
The US House Judiciary Committee approved a fresh bill by voice vote on Feb. 7 to amend the Sherman Antitrust Act to make oil producing and exporting cartels illegal. H.R. 948, which committee member Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) introduced on Feb. 4, reportedly gained traction following reports that OPEC was considering formalizing its relationship with Russia and other non-OPEC producers and might discuss the matter when it meets with those countries’ representatives in Vienna on Apr. 18.
Houston independent Apache Corp. reduced its preliminary upstream capital budget for 2019 by 20% but expects full-year total adjusted production to trend to the midpoint of the projected 410,000-440,000 boe/d target—a 3% reduction from previous estimates.
Michael K. McFadyen, executive vice-president, offshore, of Murphy Oil, will assume responsibility for exploration following the Feb. 28 retirement of Eugene T. Coleman, executive vice-president, exploration and business development. The responsibility for business development will be assumed by David R. Looney, executive vice-president and chief financial officer.
Light, sweet crude oil prices fell to their lowest level in more than a week on the New York market Feb. 7 on what analysts called concerns about world economics that could slow oil demand. The Bank of England warned of a world economic slowdown. Meanwhile, a White House economic adviser told Fox Business Network that US-China negotiations are not close to reaching a trade agreement. China is a major oil consumer.
Total SA reported increases in adjusted net income for the fourth quarter and full year 2018 as production reached a record level for the year. With a 10% increase from the previous quarter, Total reported adjusted net income of $3.2 billion in fourth-quarter 2018.
Seadrill Ltd. and Sonangol EP affiliate Empresa de Servicos e Sondagens de Angola Ltda. will each bareboat two drillships into Sonadrill—a 50-50 joint venture focused on opportunities in Angolan waters. Seadrill will manage and operate the drillships for the partnership for an initial 5-year term.
US Bureau of Land Management state offices generated more than $1.1 billion of revenue from onshore oil and gas lease sales during 2018, a record amount nearly triple the previous record of $408 million for the comparable period in 2008, Acting Interior Sec. David Bernhardt announced on Feb. 6.
As US crude oil production is set to rise substantially over the next decade, analysts still debate whether shale drilling is an actual profitable endeavor. Some skeptics claim operators overstate their well production profiles, while others say operational cash flow from shale wells will never be enough to cover corporate costs and old debt.
DNO ASA, Oslo, plans to drill as many as 20 exploration and production wells in the Kurdistan region of Iraq this year as it expands in Norway through acquisition. Spending more than 40% above the 2018 level of $300 million, the company will drill 14 wells in Kurdistan’s Tawke field, 4 at Peshkabir, and 2 on the Baeshiqa license. The company also plans five wells in Norway.
Light, sweet crude oil prices settled higher for the first gain in three trading sessions on the New York market Feb. 6 after a government weekly inventory report showed a smaller-than-expected increase in US oil supplies. The US Energy Information Administration estimated crude supplies, excluding the strategic petroleum reserve, rose 1.3 million bbl to a total of 447.2 million bbl for the week ended Feb. 1.
BP PLC reported profits for the fourth quarter and full year 2018 of $766 million and $9.38 million, respectively, compared with $27 million and $3.39 million for the same respective periods in 2017.
Equinor reported adjusted earnings of $4.4 billion in fourth-quarter 2018, citing high production at higher prices as a contributor to the increase from the $4 billion reported in fourth-quarter 2017. Adjusted earnings after tax were $1.5 billion, up from $1.3 billion in the same period last year.
A federal appeals court vacated the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYSDEP) denial of a water-quality certificate to the proposed Northern Access natural gas pipeline project on Feb. 5. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit remanded the matter back to the state agency with instructions to more clearly articulate its basis for denial.
US crude oil inventories for the week ended Feb. 1, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increased by 1.3 million bbl from the previous week, data from the US Energy Information Administration showed. At 447.2 million bbl, US crude oil inventories are about 6% above the 5-year average for this time of year, the report indicated.
Essar Oil UK Group will acquire logistics assets from BP serving the 200,000-b/d Stanlow refinery near Ellesmere Port, UK, which it bought from Royal Dutch Shell in July 2011. Essar will acquire an equity stake in the UKOP pipeline, a share of the contractual joint venture with Shell that runs the Kingsbury Terminal, and a 100% interest in the Northampton Terminal.
US President Donald Trump called on the 116th Congress to reject the politics of revenge and retribution for compromise and the common good in his 2019 State of the Union address. “I am ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans,” he told a packed US House of Representatives chamber in a nationally broadcast address on Feb. 5.
ExxonMobil Corp. reported additional discoveries offshore Guyana with the Tilapia-1 and Haimara-1 wells in southeastern Stabroek block, bringing the total discoveries on that block to 12. The latest discoveries contributed to an estimated resource of more than 5 billion boe.
Light, sweet crude oil for March delivery dropped to settle below $54/bbl on the New York market Feb. 5 as participants awaited a weekly US government report on oil and product inventories. Oil prices continued to decline on Feb. 6 after the American Petroleum Institute released weekly inventory data late Feb. 5 showing US crude stockpiles rose by 2.5 million bbl for the week ended Feb. 1.
US House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) and chairs of two subcommittees sent a letter to US Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler reiterating their demand for documents and information on what they consider the agency’s lack of enforcement action.
ExxonMobil Corp. and partner Qatar Petroleum have made a final investment decision to develop the Golden Pass LNG export project in Sabine Pass, Tex. Construction will begin in this year’s first quarter with the plant expected to begin operations in 2024.
New training courses on pipeline construction safety will begin soon in West Virginia, Ohio, and California as part of a groundbreaking partnership that was launched less than a year ago, the presidents of the American Petroleum Institute and North America’s Building Trade Unions (NABTU) jointly announced on Feb. 4.
US President Donald Trump formally nominated David Bernhardt as secretary of the Interior. Bernhardt has led the department in an acting capacity since Ryan Zinke resigned late last year. His nomination requires the US Senate’s confirmation.
Canberra-headquartered petroleum lobby group Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) has reported the appointment of Andrew McConville as the association’s new chief executive officer.
Pierre Breber has been named vice-president and chief financial officer of Chevron Corp., effective Apr. 1. He succeeds Patricia Yarrington who will retire after 38 years of service with the company.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. reported that Mozambique LNG1 Co. Pte. Ltd.—the jointly owned sales entity of the Mozambique Area 1 co-venturers—has entered into LNG supply agreements with Shell International Trading Middle East Ltd., as well as a co-purchasing agreement with Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd. and Centrica LNG Co. Ltd.
Crude oil benchmarks dropped on New York and London markets on Feb. 4 while market participants watched developments in Venezuela’s oil exports since US President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions on state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA. The sanctions are an effort to support Juan Guaido as interim president and undermine the government of President Nicolas Maduro. Trump has recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s president.
Occidental Petroleum Corp. will invest $244 million, including a participation fee, in exploration of onshore Block 3 in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. awarded the 5,782-sq-km block as part of its competitive bidding round launched in April 2018. The block is in the Al Dhafra region near Shah, Asab, Haliba, and Sahl fields.
Several US Bureau of Land Management state offices resumed preparations for scheduled oil and gas lease sales soon after the 35-day federal government partial shutdown ended. Lease sales in Alaska, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, and South Dakota are in various stages, but all are moving ahead, OGJ has found.
Ineos has asked UK government officials to change the shale seismicity limit from what Ineos calls “an unworkable 0.5 to a more sensible level on the Richter scale” to help companies development shale gas onshore the UK.
Light, sweet crude futures prices for March and April delivery each gained more than $1 on Feb. 1 with the front-month price settling above $55/bbl on the New York market while Brent for April gained nearly $2 to approach $63/bbl in London. US crude futures prices rallied in January after having dropped about 40% during the last quarter of 2018. Although crude prices regained about half of that in January alone, analysts note that markets remain volatile given worldwide geopolitical uncertainties.
Chevron Corp. reported earnings of $3.7 billion for the fourth quarter of 2018 compared with $3.1 billion in the same quarter in 2017, which included $2.02 billion in tax benefits related to US tax reform. Included in the current quarter was an asset write-off totaling $270 million. Foreign currency effects increased earnings in the 2018 fourth quarter by $268 million.
ExxonMobil Corp. reported estimated 2018 earnings of $20.8 billion compared with $19.7 billion a year earlier. Excluding US tax reform and asset impairments, earnings were $21 billion compared with $15.3 billion in 2017.
Light, sweet crude prices for March delivery fell slightly to settle just above $54/bbl on Jan. 31 with trade concerns again in the spotlight. In a session to sign an executive order that recommends federal money earmarked for infrastructure projects be directed to American companies, US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House a trade deal with China would be a big one, or “one we’ll just postpone for a little while.”
US energy security improved for a sixth consecutive year in 2017 and neared a modern-day best, the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute reported as it released its 2018 Index of US Energy Security Risk. In 2017, the most recent year of actual available data, the risk score fell to 77.5, the lowest score since 1995, and just a few points from the best-ever score of 75 in 1992, it said on Jan. 31.
The government of Alberta is easing the production cut in effect since Jan. 1 to address historic price discounting due to pipeline congestion. Saying it is responding to “new storage data,” the province will allow production to increase to 3.63 million b/d in February and March from the January limit of 3.56 million b/d.
AGL Energy Ltd., Sydney, has ended the agreement to sell its natural gas assets in north Queensland to the Order Moranbah Holdings group that was originally announced in August 2017. Order Moranbah is a consortium of Chinese gas distribution company Shandong Order Gas Co. and Australian energy investment company Orient Energy Pty. Ltd.
ExxonMobil Corp. will streamline its upstream organization and centralize project delivery across the company to support its plans to double operating cash flow and earnings by 2025. Effective Apr. 1, three new upstream companies will be created: ExxonMobil Upstream Oil & Gas Co., ExxonMobil Upstream Business Development Co., and ExxonMobil Upstream Integrated Solutions Co.
India’s second round of bidding on licenses encompassing discovered small fields attracted 145 bids for 24 of the 25 blocks on offer. Vedanta Ltd. submitted the most bids by a single company, 21.
ConocoPhillips reported fourth-quarter 2018 earnings of $1.9 billion compared with fourth-quarter 2017 earnings of $1.6 billion. Excluding special items, fourth-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings were $1.3 billion compared with fourth-quarter 2017 adjusted earnings of $500 million.
Driven by its large investment in Guyana, ExxonMobil Corp. is leader of the pack among the top oil and gas explorers of 2018, according to Rystad Energy’s annual exploration review. “ExxonMobil was exceptional, both in terms of discovered volumes and value creation from exploration,” said Espen Erlingsen, Rystad Energy head of upstream research.
Chevron Corp. subsidiary Chevron USA Inc. has signed a share purchase agreement with Petroleo Brasileiro SA subsidiary Petrobras America Inc. to acquire all outstanding shares and equity interests of Pasadena Refining System Inc., which includes the refinery in Pasadena, Tex., and PRSI Trading LLC for $350 million, excluding working capital.
ExxonMobil Corp. has let a contract to TechnipFMC PLC to provide detailed engineering, procurement, and construction for the operator’s recently approved project to expand refining capacity by more than 65% at its 366,000-b/d integrated refining complex in Beaumont, Tex.
US House Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill that would repeal the foreign tax credit, a provision US multinational oil companies consider essential for them to compete with overseas enterprises that receive government subsidies.
New US sanctions against Venezuela’s national oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) could push the South American country’s crude oil production to a 700,000-900,000 b/d range for 2019, IHS Markit said in a Jan. 30 report. “It is uncertain how much of the 500,000–600,000 b/d of US imports will be absorbed by other buyers and at what price,” said Jim Burkhard, a vice-president in IHS Markit’s Washington office.
Light, sweet crude oil for March delivery rose nearly $1 to settle above $54/bbl on Jan. 30 as analysts continue to monitor political struggles in Venezuela. A weekly US government inventory report showed US gasoline supplies fell for the first time in 9 weeks.
Deteriorating investor confidence “weighs heavily” on the drilling industry in Canada, according to the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC). In the first update of its 2019 drilling forecast, the trade group lowered its forecast for wells drilled, which it measures as rigs released, to 5,600 from 6,600 in the November 2018 revision—a 15% decline.
During the last 18 months, Chaparral Energy Inc., Oklahoma City, has added to its senior leadership team.
US crude oil inventories for the week ended Jan. 25, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increased by 900,000 bbl from the previous week, data from the US Energy Information Administration showed. At 445.9 million bbl, US crude oil inventories are about 7% above the 5-year average for this time of year, the report indicated.
ExxonMobil Corp., Plains All American Pipeline LP, and Lotus Midstream LLC have formed the Wink to Webster Pipeline LLC joint venture and ordered nearly 650 miles of US-sourced 36-in. line pipe to construct a common-carrier pipeline to transport more than 1 million b/d of crude oil and condensate from multiple locations in the Permian basin to the Texas Gulf Coast.
Benchmarks for light, sweet crude oil and Brent crude both jumped to settle more than $1/bbl higher on Jan. 29 after the US announced sanctions on Venezuela and as US-China talks were scheduled in Washington, DC, Jan. 30-31. New US sanctions were imposed on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA to block US imports of Venezuela’s heavy crude oil.
ExxonMobil Corp. has reached a final investment decision to proceed with a previously announced plan to expand crude refining capacity by more than 65% at its 366,000-b/d integrated refining complex in Beaumont, Tex.
Lundin Petroleum AB subsidiary Lundin Norway AS has agreed to acquire the Utsira High acreage position covering the Rolvsnes and Goddo basement area from Lime Petroleum AS, a subsidiary of Rex International Holding Ltd.
Paul D. McKinney will succeed William M. Griffin as president and chief executive officer of SandRidge Energy Inc., Oklahoma City, effective Jan. 29.
US sanctions against Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) will deal a meaningful blow to President Nicolas Maduro’s administration’s cashflow, but the effects will not be as harsh as the US expects, according to Rystad Energy.
The US government has imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s national oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) on Jan. 28 following a determination by US Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin, in consultation with US Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, that persons in PDVSA are plundering operations to smuggle drugs and otherwise increase their personal gain.
Near-month contracts for light, sweet crude and Brent crude oil benchmark both fell about $1.70/bbl Jan. 28 on concerns about a slowing world economy. Oil investors are watching China’s economy in particular for possible signs of slowing world oil demand.