Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Petróleos Mexicanos and Natural Gas Intelligence
In July 2017, Mexico’s national energy ministry (SENER) opened the onshore portion of the Burgos Basin, a shale-rich basin in northeastern Mexico, for natural gas exploration and development by private companies. This is the first time non-state entities were offered access to the Burgos Basin for development since the creation of the national oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) in 1938. SENER hopes that private investment will help to reverse the decline in natural gas production and offset decreasing PEMEX investment in the region.
Production from the Burgos Basin accounted for 15% of total natural gas production in Mexico in 2016, and the basin holds the largest undeveloped shale resources in the country. Increasing production from the region would help meet growing natural gas demand, particularly from new natural gas-fired generation in Mexico’s Northeastern region, and make Mexico less reliant on natural gas imports in the long term.
Located in the state of Coahuila, south of the Rio Grande River, the Burgos Basin covers an onshore area of approximately 24,200 square miles. Offshore, it extends onto the continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico. The Burgos Basin is the southern extension of Texas’ Western Gulf Basin, which encompasses the Eagle Ford shale play. PEMEX initiated exploration activities in the Burgos Basin in 1942 and it has discovered some 227 fields, mostly rich in natural gas. The basin currently has more than 3,500 active natural gas wells in non-shale formations.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration and Advanced Resources International, World Shale Resource Assessments
Many reservoirs in the Burgos Basin have low permeability and high decline rates typical for tight formations, which require significant investment from PEMEX to maintain or increase production. In response to decreasing natural gas prices over the past five years and energy reforms introduced in 2014 that gave priority to oil development, PEMEX has decreased its exploration and production spending in Burgos. In 2017, PEMEX plans to spend $51 million (0.9 billion pesos) in the Burgos Basin, down 92% from the $657 million (11.7 billion pesos) it spent in 2012. At the same time, natural gas production in the basin has dropped by 32%, from 1.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2012 to 0.87 Bcf/d in 2016, all from nonshale formations.
Although PEMEX has conducted shale exploration activities on its own in the Burgos Basin, they have yet to reach commercial production, as many of the early wells have low production rates. The companies that were awarded licenses in the Burgos Basin are expected to stabilize or reverse the declining natural gas production in the region. High levels of production in the U.S. Eagle Ford shale play to the north could indicate similar production levels in the Burgos Basin region.
The Mexican government is planning to open more acreage in Burgos and other shale basins to private companies before the end of 2018.
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According to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria has the world’s 9th largest natural gas reserves (192 TCF of gas reserves). As at 2018, Nigeria exported over 1tcf of gas as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to several countries. However domestically, we produce less than 4,000MW of power for over 180million people.
Think about this – imagine every Nigerian holding a 20W light bulb, that’s how much power we generate in Nigeria. In comparison, South Africa generates 42,000MW of power for a population of 57 million. We have the capacity to produce over 2 million Metric Tonnes of fertilizer (primarily urea) per year but we still import fertilizer. The Federal Government’s initiative to rejuvenate the agriculture sector is definitely the right thing to do for our economy, but fertilizer must be readily available to support the industry. Why do we import fertilizer when we have so much gas?
I could go on and on with these statistics, but you can see where I’m going with this so I won’t belabor the point. I will leave you with this mental image: imagine a man that lives with his family on the banks of a river that has fresh, clean water. Rather than collect and use this water directly from the river, he treks over 20km each day to buy bottled water from a company that collects the same water, bottles it and sells to him at a profit. This is the tragedy on Nigeria and it should make us all very sad.
Several indigenous companies like Nestoil were born and grown by the opportunities created by the local and international oil majors – NNPC and its subsidiaries – NGC, NAPIMS, Shell, Mobil, Agip, NDPHC. Nestoil’s main focus is the Engineering Procurement Construction and Commissioning of oil and gas pipelines and flowstations, essentially, infrastructure that supports upstream companies to produce and transport oil and natural gas, as well as and downstream companies to store and move their product. In our 28 years of doing business, we have built over 300km of pipelines of various sizes through the harshest terrain, ranging from dry land to seasonal swamp, to pure swamps, as well as some of the toughest and most volatile and hostile communities in Nigeria. I would be remiss if I do not use this opportunity to say a big thank you to those companies that gave us the opportunity to serve you. The over 2,000 direct staff and over 50,000 indirect staff we employ thank you. We are very grateful for the past opportunities given to us, and look forward to future opportunities that we can get.
Headline crude prices for the week beginning 15 July 2019 – Brent: US$66/b; WTI: US$59/b
Headlines of the week
Unplanned crude oil production outages for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) averaged 2.5 million barrels per day (b/d) in the first half of 2019, the highest six-month average since the end of 2015. EIA estimates that in June, Iran alone accounted for more than 60% (1.7 million b/d) of all OPEC unplanned outages.
EIA differentiates among declines in production resulting from unplanned production outages, permanent losses of production capacity, and voluntary production cutbacks for OPEC members. Only the first of those categories is included in the historical unplanned production outage estimates that EIA publishes in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO).
Unplanned production outages include, but are not limited to, sanctions, armed conflicts, political disputes, labor actions, natural disasters, and unplanned maintenance. Unplanned outages can be short-lived or last for a number of years, but as long as the production capacity is not lost, EIA tracks these disruptions as outages rather than lost capacity.
Loss of production capacity includes natural capacity declines and declines resulting from irreparable damage that are unlikely to return within one year. This lost capacity cannot contribute to global supply without significant investment and lead time.
Voluntary cutbacks are associated with OPEC production agreements and only apply to OPEC members. Voluntary cutbacks count toward the country’s spare capacity but are not counted as unplanned production outages.
EIA defines spare crude oil production capacity—which only applies to OPEC members adhering to OPEC production agreements—as potential oil production that could be brought online within 30 days and sustained for at least 90 days, consistent with sound business practices. EIA does not include unplanned crude oil production outages in its assessment of spare production capacity.
As an example, EIA considers Iranian production declines that result from U.S. sanctions to be unplanned production outages, making Iran a significant contributor to the total OPEC unplanned crude oil production outages. During the fourth quarter of 2015, before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action became effective in January 2016, EIA estimated that an average 800,000 b/d of Iranian production was disrupted. In the first quarter of 2019, the first full quarter since U.S. sanctions on Iran were re-imposed in November 2018, Iranian disruptions averaged 1.2 million b/d.
Another long-term contributor to EIA’s estimate of OPEC unplanned crude oil production outages is the Partitioned Neutral Zone (PNZ) between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Production halted there in 2014 because of a political dispute between the two countries. EIA attributes half of the PNZ’s estimated 500,000 b/d production capacity to each country.
In the July 2019 STEO, EIA only considered about 100,000 b/d of Venezuela’s 130,000 b/d production decline from January to February as an unplanned crude oil production outage. After a series of ongoing nationwide power outages in Venezuela that began on March 7 and cut electricity to the country's oil-producing areas, EIA estimates that PdVSA, Venezuela’s national oil company, could not restart the disrupted production because of deteriorating infrastructure, and the previously disrupted 100,000 b/d became lost capacity.