North America

Kurds Protesting in Iraq Turn Their Anger Against U.S.

21 Oct 2017   Iraq, USA

Security forces standing guard as Iraqi Kurds take part in a demonstration outside the U.S. consulate in Erbil, the capital of the semiautonomous Kurdish region, on Friday. Many have questioned why U.S. President Donald Trump didn’t intervene to defend them against Iraqi forces, which include Shiite paramilitary groups—some of them backed by Iran. As the U.S. has sought to remain neutral in the latest conflict between the Kurds and Baghdad, Iraqi forces pushed Kurdish Peshmerga fighters out of much of the territory outside the official boundary of the Kurds’ semiautonomous region, including the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. In the eyes of many Kurds, Washington and Tehran were now on the same side against them. “America is allied with its own enemy,” said 24-year-old Dilshad Shahab, referring to Iran. “This is a duplicitous American policy we cannot get our heads around. We want clarification: are you a friend, or an […]

Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension

21 Oct 2017   Mexico

OPEC has not yet approached Mexico to discuss the possibility of extending the oil production cut deal sealed last November, Mexico’s deputy energy minister Aldo Flores told Reuters. Mexico was one of the ten non-OPEC producers that agreed to join the cut in December 2016. Yesterday, OPEC’s Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo told reporters at the Oil & Money conference in London that the platform of 24 countries should be made permanent, and that it would be discussed at the November 30 meeting in Vienna. Flores added that Mexican officials will not travel to Vienna for the November OPEC meeting, as this meeting is strictly for OPEC members. Talk about extending the agreement beyond the March 2018 deadline has intensified during the last few weeks as the meeting’s date draws near, but nothing is yet certain. Mexico pumped 1.73 million bpd last month, down by a tenth from August, as […]

U.S. oil drillers cut rigs for a third week in a row: Baker Hughes

21 Oct 2017   USA

(Reuters) – The U.S. oil rig count fell for a third week in a row, extending a two-month drilling decline, although producers have sharply ramped up bets against a fall in oil prices, which could spur another investment surge. The oil rig count fell seven to 736 in the week to Oct. 20, the lowest level since June, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday. The rig count, an early indicator of future output, is still much higher than a year ago when only 443 rigs were active after energy companies boosted spending plans as crude recovered from a two-year price crash. The recovery in drilling, however, lasted for 14 months before stalling in August and September after producers trimmed spending plans due to softer prices. U.S. crude futures have averaged over $49 a barrel so far in 2017, easily […]

Rig Count Plunge Set To Boost Oil & Gas Prices

21 Oct 2017   Prices, USA

The number of active oil and gas rigs in the United States took a steep dive this week, dipping 15 rigs —the third straight weekly loss. The total oil and gas rig count in the United States now stands at 913 rigs, up 360 rigs from the year prior, with the number of oil rigs in the United States decreasing by 7 this week and the number of natural gas rigs decreasing by 8. The oil rig count now stands 293 above the count one year ago, shedding a total of 32 oil rigs in the last ten weeks. Natural gas rigs have fallen four rigs in the last 10 weeks, but the trendline for both types of rigs is distinctly downward. (Click to enlarge) The spot price for WTI fell on Friday despite the disturbance in Iraq over the Kurdish referendum that sparked controversy over oil production and […]

API: US petroleum product demand hits 10-year September peak

21 Oct 2017   USA

US petroleum product demand averaged more than 20.2 million b/d in September, 2.4% more than a year earlier and the highest level for the month since 2007, the American Petroleum Institute reported.  Deliveries, which API uses to measure demand, rose 2.1% year-to-year to an average of 20.4 million b/d during this year’s third quarter, and climbed 1.2% in the first 9 months to an average of 19.9 million b/d from the comparable 2016 period, API said in its latest monthly statistical report.  “Strong petroleum demand is good news for the overall economy, which grew for the 100th consecutive month, and economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September,” said API Statistics Director Hazem Arafa.

September’s gasoline deliveries fell 0.8% from a year earlier to an average 9.4 million b/d, but still were the second-highest for the month on record, API said.  It said that the US Energy Information Administration reported that regular gasoline prices averaged $2.761/gal during the month, 27.6¢ more than in August and 43.4¢ higher than in September 2016. It also was the highest price for any month since July 2015 but remained the third-lowest for September since 2010, API said.  It said distillate fuel deliveries averaged more than 4 million b/d during the month, up 3.4% from a year earlier. They averaged more than 3.9 million b/d during the third quarter, up 3.7% from the same 2016 period, and more than 3.9 million b/d in 2017’s first 9 months, 2.3% higher than a year earlier.

Crude oil production, meanwhile, remained robust at an average of more than 9.5 million b/d during September, 2.3% more than in August and 11.3% higher than a year earlier. It also came in above 9 million b/d for the eighth consecutive month, API said.  “Domestic crude oil production was the highest September production in 47 years, since 1970, and was the highest production level for any month in 29 months, since April 2015,” API said. Crude production during 2017’s first 9 months averaged 9.1 million b/d, 2.9% more year-to-year and the second highest for the period in 44 years, since 1973, API said.

Baker Hughes: US Oil Drillers Cut Rigs For A Third Week In A Row

21 Oct 2017   USA

The U.S. oil rig count fell for a third week in a row, extending a two-month drilling decline, although producers have sharply ramped up bets against a fall in oil prices, which could spur another investment surge. The oil rig count fell seven to 736 in the week to Oct. 20, the lowest level since June, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday. The rig count, an early indicator of future output, is still much higher than a year ago when only 443 rigs were active after energy companies boosted spending plans as crude recovered from a two-year price crash. The recovery in drilling, however, lasted for 14 months before stalling in August and September after producers trimmed spending plans due to softer prices. U.S. crude futures have averaged over $49 a barrel so far in […]

Cash-poor Alaska eyes foreign capital to jump-start energy projects

21 Oct 2017   Arctic, USA

Alaska is pursuing foreign investors for its oil and gas industry, hoping to advance recent discoveries while struggling to compete with lower-cost shale projects and reverse a decades-long output decline. FILE PHOTO: The sun sets behind an oil drilling rig in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska on March 17, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo Sovereign wealth funds, banks and state-owned energy companies have met with Alaskan officials, John Hendrix, chief energy adviser to Alaska Governor Bill Walker said in an interview. China Investment Corp (CIC) and state-owned Chinese energy company Sinopec held talks with state officials last month, he said. Alaskan crude production has fallen by three-quarters since 1988, a decline that has contributed to budget deficits and jeopardized the operation of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline, which runs from the North Slope to the southern port of Valdez. This year, a state budget shortfall led the state to withhold […]

Crude oil and petroleum product exports reach record levels in the first half of 2017

20 Oct 2017   exports, USA

 Crude oil exports in the first half of 2017 increased by more than 300,000 barrels per day (b/d) from the first half of 2016, reaching a record high of 0.9 million b/d. Petroleum product exports also grew over the same period with propane and distillate exports reaching record highs of 0.9 million b/d and 1.3 million b/d, respectively. Following the removal of restrictions on exporting U.S. crude oil in December 2015, total volumes of crude oil exports and the number of destinations for those exports both increased. The United States exported crude oil to 27 countries in the first half of 2017 compared with 19 countries in the first half of 2016. Canada remained the largest recipient of U.S. crude oil exports at 307,000 b/d, but imported an average of 63,000 b/d less compared with the first half of 2016. China […]

Higher U.S. exports draining storage levels

20 Oct 2017   exports, USA

An increase in crude oil exports, which reached an all-time high, helped lead to the decline in storage levels for the U.S. market, data analysis show. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, published Wednesday , show oil exports averaged 1.6 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, a span than included the all-time high of 1.9 million bpd for the week ending Sept. 29. The four-week moving average for exports last year was 467,000 bpd. Geoffrey Craig, oil futures editor for commodity pricing group S&P Global Platts, said in an after-market commentary that U.S. oil exports were supported by the discount for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, […]

The Approaching US Energy-Economic Crisis

20 Oct 2017   Economy, USA

I was recently asked to give a talk called, “ The Approaching US Energy-Economic Crisis .” In other words, how might the United States encounter problems that lead to a crisis? As we will see, many of the problems that could lead to a crisis (such as increased wage disparity and difficulty in collecting enough taxes) are issues that we are already beginning to encounter. In this talk, I first discuss the connection between energy and the economy. Without this connection, it doesn’t make sense to talk about a crisis arising with respect to energy and the economy. I then discuss seven issues that could lead to a US energy-economic crisis. Economic Growth Is Closely Tied to Energy Consumption If we look at world data, it is clear that there is a close tie between energy consumption and economic growth. Slide 2 On an individual country basis, there can […]

Have the US passed peak shale?

20 Oct 2017   Shale Oil, USA

The worm is turning for the crude oil price and American petroleum’s latest reporting season will likely announce a telling maturation of the US shale industry according to Woodside Petroleum chief executive, Peter Coleman. “The market is feeling pretty positive and we think there will be strengthening of crude prices before the end of the year,” Coleman said on Thursday after the release of Woodside’s wholly predictable but encouraging third quarter production numbers . “Oil demand is up this year by 1.6 [million barrels a day] and is expected to be up another 1.4 next year. And the US reporting season is going to be very interesting,” he recommended. “It will signal whether people are still free to chase volumes or capital preservation has started in earnest. Anadarko is first out of the blocks with that buyback. This is going to tell us how far shale has got to […]

Iowa governor says Trump, EPA chief promise to protect US ethanol law

19 Oct 2017   Biofuels, USA

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said President Donald Trump and the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency both promised to protect the US biofuel mandate in calls to her Wednesday, despite recent signs the administration may want to weaken the law. “Both of them personally affirmed to me their continued commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard,” Reynolds said in a press conference after calls with the White House and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Markets for Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs, did not react sharply to the news. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump “didn’t make any assurances” on the RFS during the call with Reynolds. Article continues below… Request a free trial of: Biofuelscan Would you like to get a closer look at Platts Biofuelscan? Use the request a free trial link and we will send you five issues free for your review. Biofuelscan covers the latest worldwide […]

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending October 13, 2017

19 Oct 2017   Oil Supply, USA

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged over 15.4 million barrels per day during the week ending October 13, 2017, 819,000 barrels per day less than the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 84.5% of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production increased last week, averaging over 10 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production decreased last week, averaging 4.8 million barrels per day. U.S. crude oil imports averaged 7.5 million barrels per day last week, down by 134,000 barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports averaged over 7.4 million barrels per day, 1.9% below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 690,000 barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 107,000 barrels per day last week. U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) […]

The Energy 202: Interior greenlights desert water project, prompting call for investigation

19 Oct 2017   Environment, USA

Last week, the Interior Department sent a letter to Cadiz Inc. that the company long had hoped to receive. For years, the renewable resource company had been trying to build a drinking-water pipeline between land it owned over an aquifer in the Mojave Desert and thirsty residents of Southern California. To help get the go-ahead from the federal government, it hired the law and lobbying firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to help grease the wheels in Washington. But in 2015, Cadiz’s effort sputtered when the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency within Interior, said the company would have to obtain permission from the government to build the 43-mile pipeline along an existing railroad. President Trump’s Interior Department, under new management, has mpw changed course and told Cadiz that the pipeline “does not require authorization […]

Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw

18 Oct 2017   Prices, USA

Crude oil inventories are still coming down. The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a huge draw of 7.130 million barrels in United States crude oil inventories, compared to an S&P Platts’ survey of analysts that expected inventories would draw down by 3.9 million barrels for the week ending October 13. Gasoline inventories, according to the API, saw a surprise build of 1.941 million barrels for the week ending October 13, against an expected draw of 340,000 barrels. Both WTI and Brent benchmarks were up on Monday on concerns that a US/Iran standoff could disrupt oil supplies, along with internal struggles in Iraqi Kirkuk oilfields as the referendum continues to pit Turkey, Iran, and Iraq governments against the Iraqi Kurds—a volatile situation that could spark a civil war. A further boost to oil prices came as Gulf Coast oil production continued to see significant disruptions through last week caused by […]

Goldman: U.S.-Iran Standoff Is A Long-Term Threat To Oil Supply

18 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

While the Kurdistan-Iraq standoff is a risk to shorter-term oil production, the increased tensions between neighboring Iran and the U.S. are a longer-term and bigger threat to global oil supplies, according to Goldman Sachs. On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was officially withdrawing his certification of Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal, in what is being billed as part of a tougher strategy on Iran. President Trump passed the nuclear deal back to Congress to review and amend the law. “That is why I am directing my administration to work closely with Congress and our allies to address the deal’s many serious flaws so that the Iranian regime can never threaten the world with nuclear weapons,” President Trump said . The tougher stance from the U.S. may lead to more sanctions and to a prolonged tension between the U.S. and Iran. “In the case of Iran, there […]

U.S. regulator hints at changes to plan boosting coal, nuclear plants

18 Oct 2017   Coal, Nuclear, USA

The head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said on Tuesday that a directive from the U.S. energy secretary to prop up struggling nuclear and coal power plants has initiated an important conversation, but hinted the agency may not pass the plan without changes. Late last month, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry directed FERC, an independent agency, to pass a rule within 60 days that would allow certain coal and nuclear plants that store 90 days of fuel on site to recover full costs through regulated pricing, saying the plan increases reliability of the nation’s power grid. “There’s real value in Secretary Perry initiating a conversation” on whether FERC adequately compensates certain power generators for their contributions to reliability, FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee told an energy conference in Washington on Tuesday. Last week, Chatterjee told reporters that he did not want to do anything to disrupt […]

Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities

18 Oct 2017   Canada

A modest rebound in oil and gas prices in international markets has given Calgary and Alberta the distinction of being the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Canada this year, according to a report by The Conference Board of Canada carried by Markets Insider “The worst appears to be over for Calgary and Edmonton. Alberta’s economy has been getting stronger thanks to a rebound in drilling and increases in oil production, which has helped to fuel renewed economic growth in the province’s largest cities,” said Alan Arcand, associate director for the Centre for Municipal Studies at the Conference Board of Canada. “But with oil prices struggling to rise above $50 per barrel, Edmonton and Calgary should expect to see more moderate growth in 2018.” Calgary will grow by 4.6 percent this year, but the jumpstart will slow to 2.1 percent by 2018. Similarly, Edmonton’s economy will expand by 3.9 percent […]

U.S. shale output seen posting 11th straight rise in November: EIA

17 Oct 2017   Shale Oil, USA

U.S. shale production for November is forecast to rise for a 11th consecutive month, the U.S. government said on Monday, as U.S. prices CLc1 stabilize around $50 a barrel. U.S. oil output is expected to increase by 82,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 6.12 million bpd, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration’s drilling productivity report. North Dakota’s Bakken output is set to rise by 7,600 bpd to 1.1 million bpd, the most since March 2016, while Eagle Ford oil output in Texas is set to rise by 2,500 bpd to 1.2 million bpd. Permian production is forecast to rise by 50,000 bpd to 2.7 million bpd, a new record, the EIA said. Meanwhile, U.S. natural gas production was projected to […]

U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls

17 Oct 2017   Oil Supply, Shale Oil, USA

U.S. oil production is set to increase in November, according the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Drilling Productivity Report published on Monday. (Click to enlarge) The EIA has forecast an increase of 81,000 barrels per day in November over October levels, even as the number of active oil rigs in the United States dipped steadily over the third quarter, shedding 20 rigs over the last eight weeks. The EIA is also predicting that U.S. crude oil production will hit 9.9 million barrels per day in 2018, a new high for the United States, according to the agency’s Short-Term Energy Outlook. The previous high was 9.6 million barrels per day, which was reached in 1970. The largest increase to crude oil production is expected to come from the Permian Basin, where the EIA is predicting an increase of 51,000 barrels per day to hit 2.66 million bpd in November. Anadarko and […]

Asia oil buyers turn to U.S. in hunt for cheap supply

16 Oct 2017   East Asia, exports, USA

Asia is set to ramp up crude oil imports from the United States in late 2017 and early next year, with buyers searching out cheap supplies after hurricanes hit U.S. demand for the commodity at a time of rising production in the country. As many as 11 tankers, partly or fully laden with U.S. crude, are due to arrive in Asia in November, with another 12 to load oil in the United States later in October and November before sailing for Asia, according to shipping sources and data on Thomson Reuters Eikon. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude benchmark stands at its largest discount in years against the Atlantic Basin’s Brent, with local appetite curbed as U.S. refineries are still pushing to get back on track in the […]

Coal plant closures continue even as U.S. ends ‘Clean Power Plan’

16 Oct 2017   Coal, USA

U.S. power firm Vistra Energy Corp said on Friday that it would shut two coal-fired plants for economic reasons, as closures in the industry continue apace despite the environment regulator saying this week he wanted to end the “war on coal.” U.S. President Donald Trump turns to wave at a coal barge on the Ohio River as he delivers remarks on his potential infrastructure proposals during an event at the Rivertowne Marina in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst Vistra’s ( VST.N ) subsidiary Luminant will close two Texas power plants, it said in a statement on Friday. The announcement came just a week after Luminant revealed the closure of a further Texas plant. Together the three plants will remove more than 4,200 megawatts (MW) of coal-generated power, enough to supply electricity to more than four million homes. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott […]

U.S. sanctions to complicate, not disrupt, Iran oil trade

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

A looming ramp-up in U.S. sanctions on Tehran will further spook potential buyers of Iranian oil although supplies to Europe will most likely remain uninterrupted, top trading houses told the Reuters Global Commodities Summit this week. FILE PHOTO: A security personnel looks on at oil docks at the port of Kalantari in the city of Chabahar, 300km (186 miles) east of the Strait of Hormuz, Iran January 17, 2012. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/File Photo U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to take a major step against the Iran nuclear deal on Friday, marking a more aggressive approach to Iranian activities in the Middle East. Trump will lay out his plan in a 12:45 p.m. EDT (1645 GMT)speech at the White House, the product of weeks of internal discussions between him and his national security team. Any big increase in sanctions will effectively leave the oil market where it […]

Trump’s Wrangling With Tehran Raises Alarm Bells for Multinationals in Iran

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

Iran’s South Pars facility. Total struck a $1 billion deal in July that gave it access to the giant gas field. Mr. Trump said Friday he won’t recertify the 2015 international deal struck with Tehran , which lifted sanctions in exchange for promises by Iran to curtail its nuclear program. He also vowed to cancel the deal himself if Congress and U.S. allies don’t act to address his concerns about the accord. The moves stopped short of pulling the U.S. out of the deal. But they send the clearest signal yet that the Trump administration is serious about considering reimposing sanctions, raising the risk for companies doing business in Iran of falling foul of such restrictions. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the steps announced Friday shouldn’t affect American firms that have applied for special licenses to do business authorized under the nuclear deal. Boeing Co. BA -0.34% […]

World powers hit back at Trump over repudiating Iran nuclear deal

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

International powers that signed the nuclear deal with Iran have hit back strongly at President Donald Trump’s repudiation of the landmark pact. Germany, France, the UK and Russia rallied together with the EU late on Friday in support of an agreement they said boosted international security by stopping Iran from building atomic weapons.  “We can’t afford as an international community to dismantle a nuclear agreement that’s working and delivering — especially now,” Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said in Brussels. “It’s not a bilateral agreement. It doesn’t belong to any single country — and it’s not up to one single country to terminate it.”

The leaders of France, Germany and the UK said in a joint statement that they were all “committed” to the deal and were “concerned by the possible implications” of Mr Trump’s refusal to recertify it. President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Theresa May, the UK prime minister, urged the Trump administration and the US Congress to “consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies” before taking steps that might further undermine the deal. Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, said that Mr Trump’s position was “extremely troubling”, RIA news agency reported. Moscow now saw its main task as preventing the nuclear deal from collapsing, Mr Ryabkov was quoted as saying.

Interview: Trump’s Iran decision sends powerful risk signal to oil market

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

US President Donald Trump Friday officially renounced the Iran nuclear agreement, yet urged Congress to remain in the deal as he asked lawmakers to ultimately decide its fate. Elizabeth Rosenberg, a sanctions expert, also spoke Friday with S&P Global Platts on the impact Trump’s announcement may have on oil flows, global energy sector investment and Congress’ most likely path forward. Rosenberg is a senior fellow and director of the energy, economics and security program at the Center for a New American Security and a former senior advisor at the US Treasury Department. The interview was edited for brevity and clarity. PLATTS: What is the near-term impact, if any, that Trump’s decision to disavow the Iran deal will have on the global oil market? ROSENBERG: Though I think this was widely expected, this confirmation really sends a very powerful signal of risk to the market. I think many people have […]

Trump Disavows Iran Deal: What’s at Stake for Oil Markets

14 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

Iran, already struggling to attract investors to its energy industry, may find things tougher still as Trump refuses to certify the nuclear deal. (Bloomberg) — Iran, already struggling to attract investors to its energy industry, may find things tougher still as U.S. President Donald Trump refuses to certify the nuclear deal that eased sanctions on OPEC’s third-largest crude producer. In a speech Friday, Trump stopped short of abandoning the nuclear agreement but said he would impose new sanctions on Iran, particularly its Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the armed forces that owns many businesses including in the oil industry. The move won’t immediately curb the flow of some 2.3 million barrels of daily Iranian crude exports — more than three times the amount of oil the U.S. has sold abroad over the past year. For energy producers, however, the administration’s more confrontational approach does raise the risk of […]

About 30 percent of Gulf oil production still offline because of Nate

14 Oct 2017   Oil Supply, USA

More than 30 percent of the oil production in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico is offline because of the shut-ins from Hurricane Nate, the government said. Nate bounced along the southern U.S. border during the weekend, making landfall twice as a Category 1 hurricane. On Monday, the government said about 92 percent of the total Gulf oil production and 77 percent of the natural gas production was offline because of the impact from Nate. Two refineries, which at a combined capacity of 587,000 barrels per day represented 6 percent of the total regional capacity, were closed down at the peak of the outage. In its latest incident report, the U.S. Energy Department […]

U.S. Oil-Rig Count Fell by Five in Latest Week

14 Oct 2017   USA

The number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. fell by five in the past week to 743. The number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. fell by five in the past week to 743, according to oil-field services company Baker Hughes Inc. BHGE -0.56% The U.S. oil-rig count is typically viewed as a proxy for activity in the sector. After peaking at 1,609 in October 2014, low oil prices put downward pressure on production and the rig count fell sharply. The oil-rig count has generally been rising over the past year, but last week, the count declined by two. The nation’s gas-rig count fell by two to 185 in the past week, according to Baker Hughes.

Oil Prices Rise Amid Falling U.S. Rig Count

14 Oct 2017   USA

The number of active oil and gas rigs in the United States decreased this week by 8 rigs. The total oil and gas rig count in the United States now stands at 928 rigs, up 389 rigs from the year prior, with the number of oil rigs in the United States decreasing by 5 this week and the number of natural gas rigs decreasing by 2. Miscellaneous rigs decreased by a single rig. The oil rig count now stands 311 above the count one year ago, shedding a total of 20 oil rigs in the last eight weeks. (Click to enlarge) The spot price for WTI rose earlier on Friday as reports surfaced on Thursday that China’s oil imports hit a new high in the month of September, and that its thirst for oil imports would be robust for at least the short term, and the uncertainty around the […]

Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports

14 Oct 2017   exports, USA

U.S. crude oil exports hit an all-time high at the end of September, and are poised to surge even more to hit unprecedented levels in the coming two or three weeks, Marco Dunand, chief executive of trading house Mercuria, told the Reuters Global Commodities Summit on Friday. U.S. crude oil exports hit a record-high of 1.98 million bpd in the week to September 29, EIA data showed. This was the highest weekly average since the U.S. removed restrictions on crude oil exports at the end of 2015, after a four-decade ban. Oversupply due to Harvey drove the higher exports, but most of all, it is the wide spread of around $6 between WTI and Brent prices that drives buyers to lust after the cheaper U.S. crude grade. The spread is also wide enough to offset shipping costs to destinations like Asia and Europe. Mercuria’s Dunand thinks that the excess […]

Canada Wants to Solve U.S. Nuclear Woes With Faraway Dams

14 Oct 2017   Canada, Hydro

Hydro-Quebec seeks to supply energy to New York, Massachusetts Power would help replace losses from closing nuclear reactors The key to replacing aging nuclear plants in the U.S. Northeast may lie 1,000 miles away, along a remote river tumbling through the Canadian wilderness. In boreal forests above the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Hydro-Quebec is building a series of dams that will generate enough electricity for more than one million homes. The $5.2 billion project on the Romaine River is part of a sweeping expansion the government-owned utility began in 2007, with the intention of selling power to the U.S. where nuclear reactors are closing. It’s not clear Americans will buy. While New York and Massachusetts want to avoid fossil fuels when they replace the soon-to-be-shuttered Indian Point and Pilgrim nuclear plants, wind and solar developers are also jockeying for the job. That’s left Hydro-Quebec, Emera Inc. , Nalcor Energy […]

Three scenarios if Trump decertifies Iran nuclear deal

13 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

1. Deal survives The deal’s supporters and the Trump administration convince Congress not to reimpose, or “snap back”, US nuclear sanctions on Iran, which would put Washington in violation of the agreement and risk triggering its collapse. Congress also amends legislation that requires the president to certify whether Iran is in compliance with the deal every 90 days, extending the certification timeframe or changing criteria. This would give Mr Trump a way out of having to publicly declare Iran is not in breach of an agreement he has described as the “worst deal ever”. A smooth ride also means convincing Mr. Trump to waive a congressional requirement, mandated by an act he signed into law in August, to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization by October 30. Tehran has suggested that if Washington targeted the Guards, one of the Islamic republic’s most powerful forces, it would consider it a termination of the agreement. 2. Renegotiation Congress does not vote to reimpose sanctions and the US stops short of falling out of the deal, but Washington attempts to renegotiate it. The Trump administration uses the uncertainty to press European allies to lean on Iran to fix what it believes are the deal’s flaws and to adopt a harsher strategy towards the Islamic republic. European signatories maintain the deal cannot be altered but push for

2. Renegotiation Congress does not vote to reimpose sanctions and the US stops short of falling out of the deal, but Washington attempts to renegotiate it. The Trump administration uses the uncertainty to press European allies to lean on Iran to fix what it believes are the deal’s flaws and to adopt a harsher strategy towards the Islamic republic. European signatories maintain the deal cannot be altered but push for stricter interpretation of the rules and greater access to military sites. They suggest ways to address the Trump administration’s concerns beyond the scope of the agreement itself, such as starting talks to address a new arrangement to cover the period after 2025, when the deal is due to expire, or Iran’s ballistic missile programme. The Senate lends support to any tougher strategy pursued by Mr Trump in a non-binding resolution. The US drags its heels on a deal for Boeing to sell $20bn of aircraft to Iran and imposes new non-nuclear sanctions against the Islamic republic but stops short of designating the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization. Uncertainty over US international commitments following decertification makes it harder to work with European allies to address Iran’s regional activities and for the US to move towards talks with North Korea. Iran argues that the US has undermined the deal by stymieing much needed foreign investment into the Islamic republic and pursues actions against US interests in the region, including in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq. Regional instability increases. 3. Back to sanctions Congress reimposes nuclear sanctions, prospects for the deal’s survival diminish and the US is criticised for being the unilateral aggressor against the agreement. Allies accuse Washington of failing to live up to international accords and the Trump administration’s touted preference for talks with North Korea falls on fallow ground.

3. Back to sanctions Congress reimposes nuclear sanctions, prospects for the deal’s survival diminish and the US is criticised for being the unilateral aggressor against the agreement. Allies accuse Washington of failing to live up to international accords and the Trump administration’s touted preference for talks with North Korea falls on fallow ground. Mr Trump designates the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization, which Tehran regards as a hostile act and a sign that Washington is moving towards regime change. Europeans introduce so-called blocking legislation in an attempt to insulate their business operating in Iran from US sanctions. But the promised economic dividend of the deal is further undermined. Efforts to keep the accord alive without the US fail, Iran is free to pursue nuclear enrichment unfettered and with better know-how. Tensions escalate in the Middle East.

U.S. energy head: Nuclear power rescue helps national security

13 Oct 2017   Nuclear, USA

The U.S. energy secretary defended his plan to reward nuclear plants with incentives against criticism it would manipulate markets by telling a congressional hearing on Thursday that a strong domestic nuclear industry boosted national security.  Rick Perry pushed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Sept. 29 to issue a rule within 60 days that would reward aging nuclear and coal-fired power plants that store 90 days of fuel on site. He has said those plants should be supported for their ability to boost the reliability of the U.S. power grid. Sponsored Many U.S. representatives at the hearing, including Democrat Frank Pallone, said the plan favored aging industries, killed free markets and would saddle consumers with higher power bills. […]

Richard Branson To Invest In Elon Musk’s Hyperloop One

13 Oct 2017   USA

Richard Branson is jumping on the Hyperloop train, the transport concept which could reduce the time it takes to travel between London and Edinburgh to just 50 minutes. The British billionaire has announced an investment in Hyperloop One by Virgin Group, which will now be renamed Virgin Hyperloop One. “This is an incredibly innovative and exciting new way to move people and things at airline speeds on the ground,” the entrepreneur said in a blog post , describing Hyperloop as “the world’s most revolutionary train service. The Hyperloop concept was invented by Elon Musk , but Hyperloop One is a separate company and one of many working on the transport technology. The idea is that pods will travel at hundreds of miles per hour through tubes under the ground, reducing hours-long journeys to mere minutes. Tests of Hyperloop One in the desert of Nevada have resulted in speeds of […]

Trump resists pressure to soften stance on Iran nuclear deal

12 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump finds himself under immense pressure as he considers de-certifying the international nuclear deal with Iran, a move that would ignore warnings from inside and outside his administration that to do so would risk undermining U.S. credibility. U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts Trump is expected to unveil a broad strategy on confronting Iran this week, likely on Friday. There was always the chance he could still have a last-minute change of heart and certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 accord, which he has called an “embarrassment” and the “worst deal ever negotiated.” Senior U.S. officials, European allies and prominent U.S. lawmakers have told Trump that refusing to certify the deal would leave the U.S. isolated, concede the diplomatic high ground to Tehran, and ultimately risk the unraveling of the agreement. Signed by […]

US lawmakers urge Trump to stay in Iran deal on eve of decision

12 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

US President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would soon reveal his strategy toward Iran and that he alone would decide on it, despite disagreement among his top advisers. Earlier Wednesday, Republican and Democratic leaders of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee urged Trump against abandoning the Iran nuclear deal. Trump is widely expected to make a speech Thursday laying out a new Iran strategy and decertifying the country’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. The agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action gave Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curtailing its nuclear program. Representative Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Trump administration should preserve the deal to protect US national security, even though he opposed the deal at the time. “As flawed as the deal is, I believe we must now enforce the hell out of it,” Royce said. “Let’s work […]

Nigerian producers eye India’s new-found appetite for US crude

12 Oct 2017   Nigeria, USA

The competition that Nigerian crude oil cargoes has faced from US crude oil grades in Northwest Europe over the past two years has begun to expand into other regions, according to trading sources. Largest buyer of Nigerian oil India importing more US oil NNPC pragmatic on US crude threat Since the US crude export ban was lifted in December 2015, there has been a gradual increase in shipments of US barrels to Northwest European and Mediterranean refiners, with the flow increasing sharply in recent weeks due to a wider Brent/WTI futures spread. As Northwest Europe is a major demand center for Nigerian light sweet barrels, this could be a rather bearish development for Nigerian differentials. In recent weeks, this competition has also extended east, with India increasingly looking to the US for its crude oil buy tenders. India is the largest buyer of Nigerian crude and as such plays […]

Trump tries to save coal, but probably in vain: Kemp

12 Oct 2017   Coal, USA

Senior officials appear to have an almost romantic attachment to the hard physical labor of the coal mines and saving existing coal-fired power plants, most of which are now more than 40 years old and wearing out. At the Department of Energy, Secretary Rick Perry has proposed a grid resiliency rule which would increase payments to coal-fired power producers that can promise secure on-site fuel supplies. And Environmental Protection Administration chief Scott Pruitt has announced his intention to repeal the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan to try to keep coal-fired power plants running longer. The Trump […]

Most U.S. oil executives see prices below $60/barrel through 2018

12 Oct 2017   Prices, USA

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. oil executives see crude oil prices remaining below $60 per barrel through 2018 and not hitting $70 until at least the next decade, according to a survey published on Wednesday by consultancy Deloitte Services LP [DLTE.UL]. FILE PHOTO – A pump jack used to help lift crude oil from a well in South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale formation stands idle in Dewitt County, Texas, U.S. on January 13, 2016. REUTERS/Anna Driver/File Photo The survey, based on a poll of 250 executives at companies that produce, transport and refine oil and natural gas, reflects a shift from last year when many respondents forecast commodity prices would rise and capital spending budgets grow. U.S. oil prices CLc1 fell slightly on Wednesday to $50.79 per barrel. This year’s more dour view, especially among shale industry managers, comes as executives are focusing on cost controls and […]

Is The War On Coal Really Over?

12 Oct 2017   Coal, USA

“The war against coal is over.” That was the claim from EPA chief Scott Pruitt ahead of his announcement that he would rewrite a signature climate change program from the Obama era. On Tuesday, Pruitt’s EPA proposed to withdraw the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a controversial step that seeks to roll back the clock on arguably the most important environmental achievement of President Obama. In fact, some argue that the CPP ranks up there along with the healthcare overhaul as one of Obama’s top domestic policy victories. The Clean Power Plan puts limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants with the goal of lowering emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Here’s how it was supposed to work. The EPA would require states to lower greenhouse gas emissions from their power plants, but the agency would simply set a cap and let states figure out how […]

Most Consumers Don’t Want Reduced Oil, Gas Regulation

12 Oct 2017   USA

Where do American consumers and oil and gas executives stand when it comes to industry regulations? Federal regulation has been the bane of existence for many oil and gas executives, who often consider overregulation as an impediment to industry advancements . Two 2017 surveys from EY (one targeting American adult consumers and one targeting oil and gas executives based in North America) explore the topic of regulation. The surveys reveal clear disparities between the two cohorts in how much regulation is too much as well as what industry regulations are most important. How Much Regulation? Is the industry underregulated? Overregulated? Depends on who you ask. Nearly 80 percent of consumers of all ages and political beliefs are not in favor of reduced regulation in oil and gas, the EY report finds. But 53 percent of oil and gas executives believe the industry has too much regulation while 41 percent […]

Why the US east coast imports oil despite shale boom

12 Oct 2017   USA

The US has been shipping its shale oil riches to different parts of the world, including Canada and India, inspiring White House officials to muse about American “energy dominance”. But one place that is buying very little of this crude is the officials’ backyard. Last week as the US reported a record 2m barrels a day in crude oil exports, refineries located up the highway from Washington on the east coast imported about 900,000 b/d, mainly from Africa. A big reason is the Jones Act, a 97-year-old US law that requires all ships starting and ending their voyages on US coasts to be American-flagged, built and crewed. The Trump administration waived the Jones Act for 10 days, following the devastation inflicted by hurricanes in Puerto Rico, triggering renewed calls for its repeal. What animates critics in the oil market about the Jones Act is that it increases the cost of shipping crude from the Gulf coast to the east coast above the rate charged by foreign-flagged carriers. That helps incentivise exports from Texas oilfields and imports by refiners in the east. The reliance on shipping reflects the fact that no crude oil pipelines link the oilfields of the central US to the east coast. “It’s basically a constraint on the efficient operation of the oil market,” says Sandy Fielden, director of research for commodities and energy at Morningstar.

Oil, gas executives see reduced US rig deployment in 2018: Deloitte survey

12 Oct 2017   Oil Supply, USA

A majority of oil and natural gas company executives polled in a survey released Wednesday expect a net decrease in rig deployment next year compared with 2016 levels, as spending by operators slides amid a forecast that US commodity prices will remain cheap. The survey by consulting firm Deloitte of over 250 industry professionals highlights the uncertainty producers, processors, pipelines and exporters see in the energy sector heading into 2018, even as the Trump administration promises new opportunities for projects. Half of upstream oil and gas executives surveyed expect up to a 10% decline in capital expenditures next year versus last year, including 4 in 10 expecting exploration spending to fall, Deloitte said. Some 58% expect a net decrease in rig deployment. On the midstream side, 56% of executives expect a decrease in capital expenditures in 2018 versus 2016, while only one in eight expect an increase over the […]

Over 1 mil b/d of Gulf of Mexico crude output still shut-in after Nate:

11 Oct 2017   Oil Supply, USA

More than 1 million b/d of crude remains shut-in in the US Gulf of Mexico Tuesday after Hurricane Nate passed through the region over the weekend, although a couple of companies have publicly said they have begun to restart production.   Shut-in production of 1.024 million b/d represents nearly 59% of the US Gulf’s crude output, the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said Tuesday.  In addition, 1.485 Bcf/d of natural gas output is also still shut-in, which is 46% of the US Gulf’s gas output, BSEE said. Also, 66 platforms and one rig remain evacuated, which are 9% of the total platforms and 5% of the total rigs in the Gulf, respectively.

Earlier Tuesday, ExxonMobil said it had restored production at its Julia and Hadrian South deepwater platforms, and was working to restore its shallow-water Mobile Bay production. Late Monday, Murphy Oil said it was restoring the output of Front Runner and Medusa, two deepwater production facilities it operates.
Nate, a fast-moving storm, made landfall late Saturday as a Category 1 hurricane and raced east across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama on Sunday. So far it appears to have caused little or no damage to oil infrastructure.

Record U.S. Crude Exports Squeeze North Sea Oil

11 Oct 2017   exports, USA

Record-high U.S. crude oil exports are putting pressure on North Sea oil as American oil is now flowing to Europe and to the prized Asian market, which has become increasingly important for determining North Sea oil prices and the Brent benchmark. U.S. crude oil exports hit a record-high of 1.98 million bpd in the week to September 29, EIA data showed last week. This was the highest weekly average since the U.S. removed restrictions on crude oil exports at the end of 2015, after a four-decade ban. Last week’s figure also beat the previous record set by U.S. exporters, which was hit in the previous week, at 1.5 million bpd. Oversupply due to Harvey drove the higher exports, but most of all, it is the wide spread of around $6 between WTI and Brent prices that drives buyers to lust after the cheaper U.S. crude grade. The spread is […]

This Key Data Points At Strong U.S. Oil Demand

11 Oct 2017   USA

Gasoline prices haven’t gone up high enough in the U.S. to have any real impact on car buyers choosing more fuel-efficient vehicles. A university study reports that fuel economy in new vehicle purchases is staying flat this year. Average fuel economy (window-sticker value) of new vehicles sold in the U.S. was 25.3 mpg in September , according to University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. It was unchanged from August and below the 25.5 mpg peak reached in August 2014. Average fuel economy for September has gone up 5.2 mpg since October 2007, the first month of the monitoring in the study led by the University of Michigan’s Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak. Gasoline and diesel prices have been affected by Hurricane Harvey and may see a similar trend coming from Hurricane Nate. Pump prices went up in late August and early September as Harvey impacted refineries, and caused a […]

Expect more U.S. oil on the global market

11 Oct 2017   exports, USA

U.S. crude oil exports will likely increase in part because of the discount for the U.S. benchmark price for oil against other grades, an industry report found. An emailed market report from Bank of America- Merrill Lynch this week said the spread, or difference, between West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, and Brent, the global benchmark, made U.S. crude competitive on the open market. A 40-year-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports ended in the waning years of President Barack Obama ‘s tenure. During his term, Republican lawmakers helped broker an end to the ban enacted in the 1970s in response to an oil embargo embraced by some members of the […]

U.S. oil output may be set for last spike in 2018: Vitol

11 Oct 2017   Oil Supply, USA

U.S. oil output could be set for a last spike in 2018 before growth flattens for a number of years as rising costs make a big chunk of production uneconomic, the head of top oil trader Vitol, Ian Taylor, told Reuters. The United States has turned into a major oil exporter in recent years on the back of a shale revolution, which created a global oil glut and sent prices plunging to below $30 per barrel last year from as high as $110 in 2014. “I think the question, a little bit in the longer term is – is this the last big rise in U.S. production?” said Taylor, chief executive at Vitol, which trades more than 7 percent of global oil and has a large presence in U.S. markets. He said Vitol expected U.S. output to climb by 0.5-0.6 million barrels per day (bpd) next […]

What will happen if Trump decertifies the Iran nuclear deal?

10 Oct 2017   Iran, USA

US President Donald Trump has called the landmark nuclear agreement in which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in exchange for limited sanctions relief the “worst deal ever” and threatened to scrap it. Mr Trump is expected to refuse to certify the deal to Congress by an October 15 deadline and initiate stronger moves against Iran. That will not put the US in automatic violation of the deal, but what happens next is likely to be complicated, messy and potentially explosive. Who supports the deal? The 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was the crowning foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration. The four other permanent members of the UN Security Council — China, France, Russia and the UK — joined Germany and the EU in signing on to the deal with Iran. The process was endorsed into international law by the UN Security Council. Today, all parties agree with assessments from the International Atomic Energy Agency, a UN body, that Iran is in compliance with the deal.  What is the October 15 deadline about? Congress, which was never asked to ratify the deal because of its near-uniform antipathy for it, sought a role nonetheless: it passed the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which requires the sitting administration to certify US commitment to the deal every 90 days, including whether Iran remains compliant and whether the deal remains vital to US national security interests. The next deadline falls on October 15. What happens if Mr Trump does not certify the deal by October 15? If Mr Trump does not, as expected, certify the deal to Congress by that date, Congress would then have 60 days to initiate legislation under expedited procedures that could “snap back” the nuclear sanctions it continually waives on Iran. This would put the US in violation of the JCPOA, which could fall apart as a result.