Due to a surge in oil hedges, the oil-price weakness will not prompt US producers to pull back on drilling. The producers rushed to lock in oil prices above $50 a barrel after the OPEC production cuts announcement in November, and will use hedging gains to help plug any budget deficits caused by sub-$50 spot prices. However, most of the hedges expire by 2018, and oil futures prices must recover before producers can lock in prices over $55 a barrel for next year – a level needed for significant tight-oil production growth.
Trump’s “Energy Independence” Order: Both Uncertainty And Opportunity
03/28/17 •lweb.es/f2693 •bit.ly/2ocvx54
President Trump has issued an executive order to dismantle the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. The “Energy Independence” order lifts a moratorium on federal coal leasing, triggers a review of methane and hydraulic fracturing restrictions, and eliminates use of the Environmental Protection Agency’s “social cost of carbon” in policymaking. From a climate action perspective, there is widespread agreement that the order is bad news for U.S. emissions. Interestingly, 62 percent of Trump voters support taxing and/or regulating pollution causing global warming, and nearly three-quarters think the U.S. should use more renewable energy in future.
Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron plan to spend a combined $10 billion this year in American shale. If successful, they’ll scramble the U.S. energy business, boost American oil production, keep prices low, and steal influence from big producers. Furthermore, they are transforming shale drilling into a more economical operation. At Bongo 76-43, Shell is drilling five wells in a single pad for the first time, each about 20 feet apart, and is now able to drill 16 wells with a single rig every year, up from six in 2013.
American oil explorers are shrugging off the 14% slide in prices this year. The price would have to drop to the $30s or lower to dent the bottom line of many drillers now working U.S. shale fields. That’s because many producers have already locked in future returns with financial contracts that guarantee the price of their oil for most of the rest of the decade. “We’re in a boom again in Texas…” said Michael Webber of the University of Texas’ Energy Institute in Austin. “The cowboy spirit is back. Hedging is playing a big role.”
A pioneer of the U.S. shale revolution, Paul Basinski, wants to take fracking to America’s final frontier – Alaska. His venture, Project Icewine, has gained rights to 700,000 acres inside the Arctic Circle and they could hold 3.6 Billion barrels of oil, rivaling the legendary Eagle Ford. “The oil is there,” he said, “Now it’s a question of how quickly we can get it to flow and whether we can get the economics to work.” One exploratory well has been drilled, he added, and a second is planned by mid-year.
Last year the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) certificated 17.6 billion cubic feet per day of new natural gas pipeline capacity, and so far this year the Commission has certificated more than 7 Billion cubic feet per day. The seven projects certificated during the first few weeks of 2017 include more than 1,500 miles of natural gas pipeline construction and expansions. The pipeline projects are concentrated in the eastern half of the United States to improve access to markets for growing eastern natural gas production, and they have projected 2017 and 2018 in-service dates.
Gulf Of Mexico Lease Sale To Reduce Dependence On Foreign Oil
03/06/17 •lweb.es/f2717 •bit.ly/2nWZ0NX
73 million acres offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida will be offered for oil and gas exploration and development. The proposed lease sale scheduled for August this year would include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and is part of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy independent. The estimated amount of resources projected to be developed as a result of the proposed lease sale ranges from 0.211 to 1.118 Billion barrels of oil and from 0.547 to 4.424 Trillion cubic feet of gas.
The largest U.S. government agency – the Department of Defense, which is also the world’s largest single petroleum buyer – plans to forge ahead under the new administration with a decade-long effort to convert its fuel-hungry operations to renewable power. Why? In combat zones, green energy saves lives. The military’s zeal for renewable power has already had broad impacts on energy contractors, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts for solar companies and helping to reduce fuel consumption. Trump’s Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, has long supported efforts to reduce troop dependence on petroleum.
EIA: U.S. Expected To Become Net Exporter Of Natural Gas By 2018
02/29/17 •lweb.es/f2648 •bit.ly/2peDp3W
The transition of the U.S. to net exporter of natural gas by 2018 is to be driven by declining pipeline imports, growing pipeline exports, and increasing exports of liquefied natural gas. The Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana became the first operating LNG export facility in the Lower 48 states in 2016. By 2021, four LNG export facilities are expected to be completed with a combined operational export capacity of 9.2 billion cubic feet per day. The EIA also projects the U.S. to become a net exporter of total energy in the 2020s.
Since 2013, the average wellhead break-even price (BEP) for key shale plays has decreased from $80 a barrel to $35/bbl. This represents a drop of over 55%, on average. The wellhead BEP decreased across all key shale plays, with Permian Midland falling by over 60% from $98/bbl in 2013 to $38/bbl in 2016 (for horizontal wells only). Rystad Energy forecasts an average WTI oil price of $60/bbl, which implies a 40% improvement in the cash from operations. This improvement will result in higher investments of the shale operators.
For every dollar invested this year in North American shale plays another dollar will be allocated for planned projects offshore racking up spending of $70 billion in each sector, analysts at Rystad Energy said: “Offshore projects that were uncommercial at $110 per barrel in 2013 are now commercial at an oil price of $50 per barrel.” However, Rigzone Data Services said offshore investment declined 30-35% in 2016 and offshore capital expenditure is expected to decline for the current year. According to Diamond Offshore, it’s difficult for deepwater operators to compete with the unconventional space.
Oil expert T. Boone Pickens says that America is in the midst of an energy renaissance, and President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to set the nation on a course toward self-sufficiency: “We are still a long way from securing our nation’s energy future and are not without risk of failing” he states. “I suggest President Trump pursue an energy plan with two parts. The first part is to not screw up what we have going for us. The second part is to not settle for what we’ve done so far.”
Record prices for drilling rights in the Permian Basin, the most fertile U.S. shale field – where wells can generate profit with crude selling for less than $40 a barrel – are prompting oil companies and private equity investors to look elsewhere for the next big gushers. Explorers eager to tap the basin’s mile-thick stack of oil-soaked rock layers have paid as much as $60,000 an acre. That marks a 50-fold explosion in deal prices over four years. It also pushes the cost 10 times higher than in the Bakken of North Dakota.
The International Energy Agency’s Annual Energy Outlook provides modeled projections of U.S. domestic energy markets through 2050, and includes scenarios with different assumptions of macroeconomic growth, world oil prices, technological progress, and energy policies. With strong domestic production and relatively flat demand, the United States becomes a net energy exporter in most Outlook cases as petroleum liquid imports fall and natural gas exports rise over the projection period under consideration. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions decline in most of the cases, with the highest emissions projected in the “no Clean Power Plan” projection.
While the plan lacks specifics about implementation, it lays out a foundation for US energy policy for at least the next four years: “Energy is an essential part of American life and a staple of the world economy. The Trump Administration is committed to energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.” Highlights are: Eliminating “harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan”; Embracing US shale and gas; Having a commitment to clean coal technology; Eliminating US dependence on OPEC; Protecting the environment.
Petra Nova is the world’s largest post-combustion carbon capture system, being able to capture more than 5,000 tons of CO2 per day. It is built on an existing coal unit, and delivers captured CO2 through an 80-mile pipeline to the West Ranch oilfield. This captured CO2 will boost production at the oilfield through Enhanced Oil Recovery operations. Over the next few years, oil production at the field is estimated to increase from approximately 300 barrels per day to up to 15,000 barrels per day using captured carbon dioxide.
Critical U.S. infrastructure, including oil and gas pipelines, is vulnerable to cyberattacks. Because no major breaches have recently been announced, the topic of cybersecurity in the oil and gas space has been quiet. That doesn’t mean that the threat of cyberattacks has gone away, Ken Talanian from Evercore said. The Saudi Aramco hack in 2012 – when an unleashed virus erased data from three-quarters of Aramco’s corporate personal computers – would have served as a wakeup call for the industry if the Stuxnet attack in 2010 on an Iranian nuclear facility didn’t.
In the early 2000s, presidents Putin and Bush convened two U.S. – Russia Commercial Energy Summits. Igor Yusufov, Russia’s energy minister from 2001 to 2004 now emphasizes how the two countries could cooperate to stabilize a volatile oil market and hopes that President Donald Trump will restart the high-level meetings…
ExxonMobil has developed cMISTTM technology, which dehydrates natural gas using a patented absorption system inside pipes and replaces the need for conventional dehydration tower technology. This new technology reduces corrosion and equipment interference helping to ensure the safe and efficient transport of natural gas through the supply infrastructure and ultimately to consumers. It has been licensed to the Chemtech division of Sulzer, a leading player in separation technologies, to facilitate deployment across the oil and gas industry.
OPEC is not the name it was compared to the early 1970s when it controlled more than 50% of global market share. Its recent deal to cut production has kept the oil price above $50 a barrel, but gains will be effectively capped once low-cost shale producers ramp up production again. And this is happening when oil is waning in importance in the global energy mix; when U.S. domestic production has almost doubled because of the shale revolution; and when Canada has become the major supplier of oil to the U.S.