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Last Updated: September 13, 2017
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Highlights   

 

Global liquid fuels

·        Significant disruptions in the U.S. energy market have occurred in recent weeks as a result of Hurricane Harvey. At the time of publication, continuing uncertainty exists regarding the timeline for the return to normal operations for a broad range of upstream production, refining, pipeline, and terminal and distribution infrastructure. The severity and duration of these outages create additional uncertainty about the path of energy prices in the coming weeks and months. Although this STEO attempts to incorporate a baseline scenario for energy production, flows, and prices, actual outcomes could deviate significantly from this forecast. This month’s forecast does not include any projected effects from Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in Florida on September 10. At the time of publication, it was too early to have meaningful information on the extent to which Hurricane Irma will cause disruptions to the U.S. energy system. 

·        U.S. regular gasoline retail prices reached $2.69 per gallon (gal) on September 11, up 29 cents/gal from August 28 and the highest weekly average since August 2015. EIA forecasts the average U.S. regular gasoline retail price to be $2.61/gal in September and then fall to $2.40/gal in October, which are 25 cents/gal and 10 cents/gal higher, respectively, than projected in the August STEO. EIA forecasts the regular gasoline retail price to fall to $2.23/gal in December.

·        Refinery operations declined significantly following Hurricane Harvey. Based on EIA’sWeekly Petroleum Status Report, U.S. gross refinery runs averaged 14.8 million barrels per day (b/d) the week ending September 1, down by 3.1 million b/d from the previous week. EIA forecasts refinery runs to average 15.3 million b/d in September, down from an estimated average of 17.1 million b/d in August. Refinery runs are forecast to increase to 15.9 million b/d in October.

·        EIA expects much of the reduction in refinery production of petroleum products to be offset by a decline in petroleum product net exports. EIA expects net petroleum product exports to average 1.1 million b/d in September, down from an average of 2.9 million b/d during the first eight months of 2017. A reduction in net exports can either come from a decrease in exports or an increase in imports. Additionally, the reduction in production of petroleum products could contribute to larger-than-typical inventory draws for September.

·        U.S. crude oil production is estimated to have averaged 9.2 million b/d in August, down about 40,000 b/d from the July average. Crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico fell to a monthly average of 1.6 million b/d in August, down by 70,000 b/d from the July level. At the time of publication, many oil production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico had returned to operation, and EIA forecasts overall U.S. crude oil production will continue to grow in the coming months. EIA forecasts total U.S. crude oil production to average 9.3 million b/d for all of 2017 and 9.8 million b/d in 2018, which would mark the highest annual average production in U.S. history, surpassing the previous record of 9.6 million b/d set in 1970.

  • North Sea Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $52 per barrel (b) in August. EIA forecasts Brent spot prices to average $51/b in 2017 and $52/b in 2018. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) average crude oil prices are forecast to be about $2/b lower than Brent prices in both 2017 and 2018. NYMEX contract values for December 2017 delivery that traded during the five-day period ending September 7 suggest that a range of $39/b to $63/b encompasses the market expectation for December WTI prices at the 95% confidence level.
Natural gas

·        U.S. dry natural gas production is forecast to average 73.7 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017, a 1.4 Bcf/d increase from the 2016 level. Natural gas production in 2018 is forecast to be 4.4 Bcf/d higher than the 2017 level.

·        In August, the average Henry Hub natural gas spot price was $2.90 per million British thermal units (MMBtu), down 8 cents/MMBtu from the July level. Expected growth in natural gas exports and domestic natural gas consumption in 2018 contribute to the forecast Henry Hub natural gas spot price rising from an annual average of $3.05/MMBtu in 2017 to $3.29/MMBtu in 2018. NYMEX contract values for December 2017 delivery that traded during the five-day period ending September 7 suggest that a range of $2.39/MMBtu to $4.34/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for December Henry Hub natural gas prices at the 95% confidence level.

Electricity, coal, renewables, and emissions

·        EIA expects the share of U.S. total utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas to fall from an average of 34% in 2016 to about 31% in 2017 as a result of higher natural gas prices and increased generation from renewables and coal. Coal's forecast generation share rises from 30% last year to 31% in 2017. The projected generation shares for natural gas and coal in 2018 average 31% and 32%, respectively.

·        Coal production for August 2017 is estimated to have been 74 million short tons (MMst), 6 MMst (8%) higher than last August. August is also the first month that had production higher than 70 MMst since October 2015. Production for the first eight months of 2017 is estimated to have been 528 MMst, 64 MMst (14%) higher than production for the same period in 2016. Production is expected to increase by 8% in 2017 and by 2% in 2018.

·        Coal exports for the first six months of 2017 were 55% higher than exports over the same period last year. EIA expects growth in coal exports to slow in the coming months, with exports for all of 2017 forecast at 73 MMst, 21% higher than the 2016 level.

·        Wind electricity generating capacity at the end of 2016 was 82 gigawatts (GW). EIA expects wind capacity additions in the forecast to bring total wind capacity to 88 GW by the end of 2017 and to 96 GW by the end of 2018. 

·        Total utility-scale solar electricity generating capacity at the end of 2016 was 22 GW. EIA expects solar capacity additions in the forecast will bring total utility-scale solar capacity to 29 GW by the end of 2017 and to 33 GW by the end of 2018.

After declining 1.7% in 2016, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are projected to decrease by 0.5% in 2017 and then to increase by 2.6% in 2018. Energy-related CO2 emissions are sensitive to changes in weather, economic growth, and energy prices.

http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/steo/

 

Contact:

Timothy Hess

[email protected]

phone: 202-586-4212

 

or

 

Tyler Hodge

[email protected]

phone (202)  586-0442

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Compliance Is Critical

The signs going into OPEC’s bi-annual meeting in Vienna were broadly positive. On one hand, you had some key members – including Iraq, surprisingly – stating the need for the broader OPEC+ club to make further cuts to its supply deal. On the other hand, there was Saudi Arabia, which needed a win to support Saudi Aramco’s upcoming IPO. What emerged was a little something for everyone, that was still broadly positive but scant on the details.

The headlines spinning out of the December 5 meeting was that the OPEC+ alliance agreed to slash a further 500,000 b/d, with Saudi Arabia pledging an additional voluntary cut of 400,000 b/d. Collectively, this would raise the club’s total supply reduction to 2.1 mmb/d – or over 2% of global oil demand – up from the previous 1.2 mmb/d target. Beneath those headlines, however, the details of the new adjustment to the deal were murkier.  The 500,000 b/d cut is, in fact, more of a formalisation of the current production levels within OPEC. It won’t remove additional barrels from the market, but it won’t add them back into global supply either.

Saudi Arabia is, once again, key to this equation. Even with the attacks on the heart of its crude processing facilities in September, Saudi Arabia has been shouldering the extra burden within the deal, making up for errant members that have consistently overshot their quotas. These include Nigeria and Iraq, and crucially Russia. The caveat that the new targets – especially Saudi Arabia’s voluntary portion – will only come into force if all members of the OPEC+ club implement 100% of their pledged cuts underscores the Kingdom’s new, more hardline stance that full compliance is required before it makes additional concessions. Because even with the declines in Venezuela and Iran, Saudi Arabia has trimmed its output to below 10 mmb/d in an attempt to show leadership through example. But its patience is now wearing thin.

But it is those details that are sketchy right now. OPEC states that the new deal formalises current production levels and will make up for Saudi overcompliance by ‘redistributing’ those volumes across other OPEC+ members. But no specifics on that split were given – a worrying sign that more arguments were coming – with the group preferring to meet compliance first before moving on to the fresh cuts.

Full adherence to the targets is tough. But it might get easier. Russia – which has only met its quota 3 months this year, when the Druzhba oil pipeline crisis hit – won a significant concession. Its argument that the only reason it was not hitting its target was due to condensate production, a by-product of its increasing natural gas output, was accepted; the quotas will exclude condensate, and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak was optimistic that it could meet its quota of a 300,000 b/d reduction for the first quarter of 2020. And the first quarter of 2020 is crucial, as that is the remaining length of the supply deal. Ahead of the March 31 expiry in 2020, OPEC has agreed to hold an extraordinary general meeting to assess the situation – the point which the deal either ends or is extended.

Underpinning this bet is some sentiment-based optimism from OPEC. The rise and rise of US shale has diluted OPEC’s impact over the past five years, requiring it to make deeper and deeper cuts that were muted by increasing amounts of American crude. But OPEC is betting that the wind will go out of US shale sails next year, hoping that it will allow output within OPEC+ to rise again. But low growth in US shale does not mean no growth. And perhaps for this reason, the price impact on the new OPEC decision has been muted. Despite the club’s attempt to prove that it is still effective, the market simply doesn’t believe the new cut will do much. Crude prices reflect that. Call it cynicism, but the market might have more faith if full compliance was reached and that is exactly what OPEC is striving towards. 

The OPEC+ supply deal: 

  • Reductions of 1.2 mmb/d, as of March 2019
  • A further reduction of 500,000 b/d, formalising October 2019 levels
  • A voluntary cut of 400,000 b/d from Saudi Arabia
  • New cuts will only be formalised once all members comply with their quotas, with full details unavailable
  • Errant members exceeding quotas: Russia, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Nigeria
December, 10 2019
INDONESIA’S DECOMMISSIONING CHALLENGE REPORT

A report by Nicholas Newman

Many of Indonesia’s oil and gas fields, both on and offshore, are coming to the end of their commercially viable operational lifespan. More than 60% of Indonesia’s oil and more than 30% of gas production comes from late-life-cycle resources spread across the world's largest island country. Despite investment and use of enhanced oil field recovery measures, as well as increasing automation to extend the economic lifespan of these assets, decommissioning will soon become necessary.

However Indonesia, like many countries new to the prospect of decommissioning energy infrastructure, face many key technological, fiscal, environmental, regulatory and industrial capacity issues, which need to be addressed by both government and industry decision makers.

This report, commissioned by the consulting and advisory arm of London and Aberdeen based Precision Media & Communications aims to takes a look at many of the issues Indonesia and other South East Asian oil producing nations are likely to face with the prospect of decommissioning the region's oil and gas aging energy infrastructure both onshore and offshore... To find out more Click here

December, 09 2019
Your Weekly Update: 2 - 6 December 2019

Market Watch  

Headline crude prices for the week beginning 2 December 2019 – Brent: US$61/b; WTI: US$55/b

  • As the posturing begins ahead of the OPEC meeting in Vienna, crude oil prices mounted gains as several OPEC members signalled that the club was prepared to deepen cuts to the existing supply deal
  • Data showing that the Chinese manufacturing sector growth jumped unexpectedly in November, although the see-saw messages regarding a potential US-China trade deal continue to cloud the market… especially given recent US legislation to sanction China for its policies in Hong Kong and against its own Uighur community
  • The discussion in Vienna by the OPEC nations and the wider OPEC+ club revolved around adherence and implementation of the current supply deal, focusing on cajoling errant members – ie. Russia – into meeting their quotas, in exchange for a deeper cut to prop up prices
  • This resulted in a decision to cut output by a further 500,000 b/d in Q1 2020 – formalising the supply reductions already in place and subject to all members of OPEC+ implementing all of their pledged curbs; further details on the new plan are expected to be released
  • OPEC’s outlook on the crude market in 2020 has changed slightly, as it expects that the US shale revolution will slow down considerably in the next two years; however, it also warns of additional output coming from non-OPEC members, including Norway and Brazil, the latter being a possible new OPEC member
  • Meanwhile, in the US, the chronic decline in the active rig count continues, with the Baker Hughes index falling by a net 1 last week – the loss of 3 gas rigs offset by the gain of two gas rigs – the 13th decrease in the past 15 weeks, with the active count down 274 y-o-y
  • The decision spinning out of OPEC’s Vienna meeting is broadly positive – not a great shot in the arm, but not detrimental to the current market; as such we see crude prices trading in their current range of US$62-64/b for Brent and US$57-60/b for WTI


Headlines of the week

Upstream

  • Norway’s Equinor has announced that it will scale back exploration activities in frontier areas in the Barents Sea, shedding risk to focus on drilling near existing discoveries such as Johan Castberg and Wisting, and therefore decreasing the chance of discovering a new Arctic oil region
  • Cairn Energy will be exiting Norway as it sells its entire stake in Capricorn Norge AS to Solveig Gas Norway AS for US$100 million
  • Libya’s El Feel – a key field operated by Eni and Libya’s National Oil Corp near the giant Sharara field – has restarted production at 74,000 b/d after clashing between rival fighting factions forced it to shut down
  • Woodside’s development plan for Phase 1 of the offshore Sangomar field in Senegal – targeting production of 100,000 b/d via FPSO – has been submitted to the Senegalese government, paving the way for FID
  • Spurred on by success, ExxonMobil is adding a fifth drillship in Guyana as it probes a new ultra-deepwater prospect just north of the Stabroek block
  • Equatorial Guinea’s latest licensing round was a boon to Lukoil, which walked away with the prime EG-27 block containing the Fortuna gas discovery, while US player Vaalco Energy won 4 blocks in the onshore Rio Muni basin

Midstream/Downstream

  • Pertamina has purchased US crude for the first time in a long while, inking a shipment for 950,000 barrels of US WTI crude with Total to be delivered over 1H 2020 to the Cilacap refinery, pivoting away from Middle East grades
  • Trafigura is looking to sell off its fuel station network in Australia – operated through its retail arm Puma Energy – as continued losses in the space since it entered the market in 2013 for US$850 million pile up
  • Construction on BASF’s giant US$10 billion integrated petrochemicals project in Zhanjiang, Guangdong has begun, with the first phase to be launched in 2022 as the first wholly foreign-owned chemicals complex in China
  • Equatorial Guinea has announced plans to build two new oil refineries – each with a processing capacity of 30-40,000 b/d using local Zafiro crude – along with other projects including a methanol-to-gasoline plant and LNG expansion
  • Bosnia’s sole refinery – the 25,000 b/d Brod site – should be operational by mid-2020, following a major overhaul that began in January 2019

Natural Gas/LNG

  • Algerian piped natural gas exports to Europe have been squeezed out by boosted supply of LNG from Australia and the US, as well as piped gas from Russia, which has forced Sonatrach to turn more of its gas into LNG sold by spot
  • Gunvor has agreed to market LNG from the Commonwealth LNG project in Louisiana internationally, as well as double its own purchases from the project to as much as 3 million tpa once the project begins operations in 2024
  • Norway’s BW Offshore insist that its Kudu natural gas project in Namibia is ‘alive and well’, with talks ongoing with the government two years after the FPSO specialist acquired a 56% stake in the license from NAMCOR
  • ExxonMobil is reportedly looking to sell its 50% stake in the Neptun Deep gas project in the Black Sea offshore Romania – the location of its major Domino discovery – for some US$250 million as it continues on a major asset sale
  • Petronas is sending its second FLNG unit – the PFLNG Dua – to the Rotan gas field in Sabah, beginning liquefaction operations there by February
December, 06 2019