-System has already prevented more than 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere since beginning operations-
April 17, 2017 – Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Governor of Texas Greg Abbott joined the chief executive officers of the Petra Nova carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery system partners – NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation (JX Nippon), and Hilcorp Energy Company (Hilcorp) - to celebrate the operations of the carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery system.
Petra Nova, a 50-50 joint venture by NRG and JX Nippon, is the world’s largest carbon capture system retrofitted onto an existing coal plant. It was constructed on-time and on-budget and commenced operations at the end of 2016. The project has delivered more than 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the West Ranch oil field. The CO2 is injected into the oil reservoir to increase oil production in an established process known as Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR).
“I commend all those who contributed to this major achievement,” said Secretary Perry. “While the Petra Nova project will certainly benefit Texas, it also demonstrates that clean coal technologies can have a meaningful and positive impact on the Nation’s energy security and economic growth.”
“Everything is bigger in Texas so it is fitting that the largest post-combustion, carbon-capture facility in the world is right here in the Lone Star State,” said Governor Abbott. “Texas has become a global leader in innovation thanks to the pioneering spirits of companies like NRG and JX Nippon who are fueling the next generation of energy production through projects like Petra Nova.”
“Petra Nova demonstrates our leadership on energy innovation at commercial-scale,” said Mauricio Gutierrez, President and CEO of NRG Energy. “We have built the largest carbon capture system on an existing coal-fired power plant in the United States on-time and on-budget. This further shows what can be achieved when collaboration and competitive markets come together to make our existing domestic energy infrastructure more secure and sustainable.”
“JX Nippon is very pleased that the construction of Petra Nova’s Carbon Capture System (CCS) was completed on-schedule and on-budget,” said Shunsaku Miyake, President and CEO of JX Nippon. “Also JX Nippon is delighted to say that shipping of oil produced through enhanced oil recovery by means of CO2 injection, is currently proceeding smoothly. This project enables us not only to decrease greenhouse gas from the coal-fired power plant, but also, at the same time to dramatically boost oil production. It is a great honor for us, as a Japanese company, to participate in this innovative project in Texas and we are grateful to Petra Nova Team for this incredible opportunity.”
“We are excited to be a part of this project,” said Jeffery D. Hildebrand, Chairman and CEO, Hilcorp Energy Company. “The CO2 delivered from Petra Nova to West Ranch will provide employment and long term economic opportunity for both the local economy and the State of Texas. We are proud of the fact that West Ranch has one of the most extensive monitoring programs for an enhanced oil recovery project in the United States, making sure that this project not only provides greater energy security for our nation and an economic benefit to the region but also is done in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.”
Petra Nova captures more than 90% of CO2 from a 240 MW equivalent slipstream of flue gas off an existing coal-fueled electrical generating unit at the WA Parish power plant in Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston. The project can capture more than 5,000 tons of CO2 per day, or the equivalent of taking more than 350,000 cars off the road.
Hilcorp, the operator of West Ranch oilfield, uses the captured CO2 to boost production at West Ranch oilfield, jointly owned by NRG, JX Nippon and Hilcorp. Both Hilcorp and the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology are monitoring the movement of CO2 deep in the oil reservoir. Over the next few years, oil production at the field is currently estimated to increase from approximately 300 barrels per day before beginning EOR operations to up to 15,000 barrels per day using captured CO2.
NRG is the leading integrated power company in the U.S., built on the strength of the nation’s largest and most diverse competitive electric generation portfolio and leading retail electricity platform. A Fortune 200 company, NRG creates value through best in class operations, reliable and efficient electric generation, and a retail platform serving residential and commercial businesses. Working with electricity customers, large and small, we continually innovate, embrace and implement sustainable solutions for producing and managing energy. We aim to be pioneers in developing smarter energy choices and delivering exceptional service as our retail electricity providers serve almost 3 million residential and commercial customers throughout the country. More information is available at www.nrg.com. Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy.
JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation is a core business company in the JXTG Group, which was established in April 2017 through a business integration of the JX Group and the TonenGeneral Group. The JXTG Group is the leading “integrated energy, resources and materials business group” in Japan. JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation engages in oil and natural gas exploration and production (E&P) business around the world. In the U.S., JX Nippon owns assets in the Gulf of Mexico, ranging from the continental shelf to deep water area. In addition, JX Nippon participates in the Syncrude Project in Canada, which produces synthetic crude oil from oil sand, and manages the project at Houston office. More information is available at www.nex.jx-group.co.jp/english.
Hilcorp, founded in 1989, is one of the largest privately-held independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the United States. Hilcorp is consistently ranked as one of the top places to work in America by multiple regional and national publications. Headquartered in Houston, TX, with over 1,500 employees, Hilcorp has operations across the United States including the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, Wyoming, Northeast U.S. and both the Cook Inlet and North Slope of Alaska. More information is available at www.hilcorp.com.
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Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook
In April 2019, Venezuela's crude oil production averaged 830,000 barrels per day (b/d), down from 1.2 million b/d at the beginning of the year, according to EIA’s May 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook. This average is the lowest level since January 2003, when a nationwide strike and civil unrest largely brought the operations of Venezuela's state oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PdVSA), to a halt. Widespread power outages, mismanagement of the country's oil industry, and U.S. sanctions directed at Venezuela's energy sector and PdVSA have all contributed to the recent declines.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Baker Hughes
Venezuela’s oil production has decreased significantly over the last three years. Production declines accelerated in 2018, decreasing by an average of 33,000 b/d each month in 2018, and the rate of decline increased to an average of over 135,000 b/d per month in the first quarter of 2019. The number of active oil rigs—an indicator of future oil production—also fell from nearly 70 rigs in the first quarter of 2016 to 24 rigs in the first quarter of 2019. The declines in Venezuelan crude oil production will have limited effects on the United States, as U.S. imports of Venezuelan crude oil have decreased over the last several years. EIA estimates that U.S. crude oil imports from Venezuela in 2018 averaged 505,000 b/d and were the lowest since 1989.
EIA expects Venezuela's crude oil production to continue decreasing in 2019, and declines may accelerate as sanctions-related deadlines pass. These deadlines include provisions that third-party entities using the U.S. financial system stop transactions with PdVSA by April 28 and that U.S. companies, including oil service companies, involved in the oil sector must cease operations in Venezuela by July 27. Venezuela's chronic shortage of workers across the industry and the departure of U.S. oilfield service companies, among other factors, will contribute to a further decrease in production.
Additionally, U.S. sanctions, as outlined in the January 25, 2019 Executive Order 13857, immediately banned U.S. exports of petroleum products—including unfinished oils that are blended with Venezuela's heavy crude oil for processing—to Venezuela. The Executive Order also required payments for PdVSA-owned petroleum and petroleum products to be placed into an escrow account inaccessible by the company. Preliminary weekly estimates indicate a significant decline in U.S. crude oil imports from Venezuela in February and March, as without direct access to cash payments, PdVSA had little reason to export crude oil to the United States.
India, China, and some European countries continued to receive Venezuela's crude oil, according to data published by ClipperData Inc. Venezuela is likely keeping some crude oil cargoes intended for exports in floating storageuntil it finds buyers for the cargoes.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook, and Clipper Data Inc.
A series of ongoing nationwide power outages in Venezuela that began on March 7 cut electricity to the country's oil-producing areas, likely damaging the reservoirs and associated infrastructure. In the Orinoco Oil Belt area, Venezuela produces extra-heavy crude oil that requires dilution with condensate or other light oils before the oil is sent by pipeline to domestic refineries or export terminals. Venezuela’s upgraders, complex processing units that upgrade the extra-heavy crude oil to help facilitate transport, were shut down in March during the power outages.
If Venezuelan crude or upgraded oil cannot flow as a result of a lack of power to the pumping infrastructure, heavier molecules sink and form a tar-like layer in the pipelines that can hinder the flow from resuming even after the power outages are resolved. However, according to tanker tracking data, Venezuela's main export terminal at Puerto José was apparently able to load crude oil onto vessels between power outages, possibly indicating that the loaded crude oil was taken from onshore storage. For this reason, EIA estimates that Venezuela's production fell at a faster rate than its exports.
EIA forecasts that Venezuela's crude oil production will continue to fall through at least the end of 2020, reflecting further declines in crude oil production capacity. Although EIA does not publish forecasts for individual OPEC countries, it does publish total OPEC crude oil and other liquids production. Further disruptions to Venezuela's production beyond what EIA currently assumes would change this forecast.
Headline crude prices for the week beginning 13 May 2019 – Brent: US$70/b; WTI: US$61/b
Headlines of the week
Midstream & Downstream
The world’s largest oil & gas companies have generally reported a mixed set of results in Q1 2019. Industry turmoil over new US sanctions on Venezuela, production woes in Canada and the ebb-and-flow between OPEC+’s supply deal and rising American production have created a shaky environment at the start of the year, with more ongoing as the oil world grapples with the removal of waivers on Iranian crude and Iran’s retaliation.
The results were particularly disappointing for ExxonMobil and Chevron, the two US supermajors. Both firms cited weak downstream performance as a drag on their financial performance, with ExxonMobil posting its first loss in its refining business since 2009. Chevron, too, reported a 65% drop in the refining and chemicals profit. Weak refining margins, particularly on gasoline, were blamed for the underperformance, exacerbating a set of weaker upstream numbers impaired by lower crude pricing even though production climbed. ExxonMobil was hit particularly hard, as its net profit fell below Chevron’s for the first time in nine years. Both supermajors did highlight growing output in the American Permian Basin as a future highlight, with ExxonMobil saying it was on track to produce 1 million barrels per day in the Permian by 2024. The Permian is also the focus of Chevron, which agreed to a US$33 billion takeover of Anadarko Petroleum (and its Permian Basin assets), only for the deal to be derailed by a rival bid from Occidental Petroleum with the backing of billionaire investor guru Warren Buffet. Chevron has now decided to opt out of the deal – a development that would put paid to Chevron’s ambitions to match or exceed ExxonMobil in shale.
Performance was better across the pond. Much better, in fact, for Royal Dutch Shell, which provided a positive end to a variable earnings season. Net profit for the Anglo-Dutch firm may have been down 2% y-o-y to US$5.3 billion, but that was still well ahead of even the highest analyst estimates of US$4.52 billion. Weaker refining margins and lower crude prices were cited as a slight drag on performance, but Shell’s acquisition of BG Group is paying dividends as strong natural gas performance contributed to the strong profits. Unlike ExxonMobil and Chevron, Shell has only dipped its toes in the Permian, preferring to maintain a strong global portfolio mixed between oil, gas and shale assets.
For the other European supermajors, BP and Total largely matched earning estimates. BP’s net profits of US$2.36 billion hit the target of analyst estimates. The addition of BHP Group’s US shale oil assets contributed to increased performance, while BP’s downstream performance was surprisingly resilient as its in-house supply and trading arm showed a strong performance – a business division that ExxonMobil lacks. France’s Total also hit the mark of expectations, with US$2.8 billion in net profit as lower crude prices offset the group’s record oil and gas output. Total’s upstream performance has been particularly notable – with start-ups in Angola, Brazil, the UK and Norway – with growth expected at 9% for the year.
All in all, the volatile environment over the first quarter of 2019 has seen some shift among the supermajors. Shell has eclipsed ExxonMobil once again – in both revenue and earnings – while Chevron’s failed bid for Anadarko won’t vault it up the rankings. Almost ten years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP is now reclaiming its place after being overtaken by Total over the past few years. With Q219 looking to be quite volatile as well, brace yourselves for an interesting earnings season.
Supermajor Financials: Q1 2019