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Last Updated: September 15, 2017
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Last week in World oil:

Prices

  • Oil prices remained mixed at the start of this week, with Brent at US$53/b and WTI at US$48/b. The aftermath of Hurricane Irma hitting the Caribbean and Florida has stoked fears over demand, while there has been some delay in Texas refineries restarting post-Hurricane Harvey. Rumblings that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were pushing for a new extension in the OPEC supply cut agreement did provide some lift.

Upstream

  • Azerbaijan’s Socar is playing hardball as it negotiates new production sharing agreements with BP and the consortium for the Azeri-Ciraq-Gunashli oil fields. Originally signed in 1994, all parties want to extend it beyond expiration in 2024, but Azerbaijan is reported demanding its share to be increased to 20% from 11.6%. BP would be the major loser under this proposition, having its share reduced from 35.8% to 30%.
  • After gaining approval to move ahead with the Karish-Tanin natural field gas in Israel last week, Greece’s Energean Oil and Gas has also gained approval for Kataloko oil field in Western Greece. This will be Energean’s third project in the eastern Mediterranean, with a target of producing 11 million barrels of oil by 2020 and FID expected in 2018.
  • The rebalancing in Canadian heavy oil sector continues, as Canadian Natural Resources purchased Cenovus Energy’s Pelican Lake project in northern Alberta for US$788 million. Cenovus has been selling off assets acquired from ConocoPhillips in March to optimise its portfolio, allowing Canadian Natural to pick up its second major purchase this year, having bought Shell and Marathon Oil’s oil sands production for US$10.3 billion.
  • The US lost 3 oil rigs last week – the third fall in the past four weeks – although this was offset by a gain of 4 gas rigs, leading to a net gain of one.

Downstream & Midstream

  • Shell has joined the race for Mexico’s fuel retail sector, opening its first gas station last week as Pemex’s monopoly ends. The inaugural station is located in Mexico City, with Shell reporting that more will come as investments of up to US$1 billion are planned over the next decade.
  • Magellan Midstream Partners will be expanding its refined products pipeline system to handle emerging demand for gasoline, gasoil and jet fuel in Central and North Texas. A new 216-km pipeline will be build from Magellan’s terminal to Hearne, in partnership with Valero Energy, while an existing pipeline will be reversed and linked to the new segment.

Natural Gas and LNG

  • Angola will be selling LNG from its sole export facility to Vitol in its first long-term deal. Prior to this, Angolan LNG had been sold entirely via competitive tenders on the spot market, as concerns over plant reliability and consistent supply failed to create multi-year deals. Details of the agreement are confidential, but are part of a growing trend of traders securing long-term deals with producers to create a global LNG portfolio.

Corporate

  • Chinese conglomerate CEFC will buy a 14.16% stake in Russia’s Rosneft from Glencore and the Qatar Investment Authority for US$9.1 billion, boosting energy partnership between China and its largest supplier.

Last week in Asian oil

Upstream

  • The latest revisions to Indonesia’s new oil and gas production sharing contracts are seen as positive steps to attract investors. The latest tweaks keeps the government’s share at 52% for gas and 57% of oil production, but increase other components such as contractors’ share of output in the second and third stages of production or where assets have higher sulphur content. The Indonesian Petroleum Association described the revisions as ‘encouraging’, also praising the new tax incentives being drafted to make new energy contracts more attractive.

Natural Gas & LNG

  • India’s Reliance and BP have revived investment plans for the gas-rich NEC-OSN-97/2 block in the Bay of Bengal, within the offshore Mahanadi basin. Plans to develop the block were originally hindered by objections from the Defence Ministry due to its proximity to the Chandipur missile test base. These objections appeared to have been assuaged, and Reliance is now proceeding with development. This would be the second major project for Reliance and BP, which recently signed off on a US$6 billion plan to develop the Krishna-Godavari offshore basin, part of the India government’s plan to revive and boost domestic natural gas production.
  • BP has begun drilling its first shale gas well in the Neijiang-Dazhu block in China’s Sichuan basin, under a PSC with CNPC. This will be the first shale gas well to be drilled by a foreign major in China in several years, although CNPC is technically the block’s operator under the PSC terms. The block is one of two PSCs signed by BP with CNPC in the Sichuan basin, the other being Rongchangbei. Both blocks are understood to contain shale gas and conventional natural gas, but recent disappointments by Shell, Chevron and Hess in Sichuan and Guizhou may mean that the assets may not be commercially viable.
  • Australia’s Senex Energy will be developing a new gas field in the Surat Basin in Queensland, aiming to offer first gas to a tight local market by 2019. Senex gained the acreage for free on the condition that it be used to supply the Australian east coast market, and is next to Shell’s QGC acreage and close to existing gas pipeline infrastructure.
  • India’s Petronet LNG has announced a joint venture with Japanese and Sri Lankan partners to build an LNG terminal in Colombo. The plant is aimed at supplying gas to Sri Lanka’s power and transport sector, with initial design and capacity still under discussion. Completion is expected within two years of FID.
  • Western Australia has temporarily banned onshore hydraulic fracturing as it assesses environment risks associated. The state joins Victoria in banning fracking, with other Australian state also having moratoriums.

Corporate

  • Fresh of China’s acquisition of a stake in Rosneft by CEFC, Japan has also expressed interest in investing in energy companies, specifically citing Rosneft. The expressions of interest are by the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), and can be seen as an attempt to not be left behind by China’s drive to acquire strategic stakes in key producers.

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EIA increases U.S. crude oil production forecast

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) revises the U.S. crude oil production forecast it publishes in each Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) based mainly on two factors: updates to EIA’s published historical data and EIA’s crude oil price forecast. In the November 2019 STEO, EIA increased its forecast of U.S. crude oil production in 2019 by 30,000 barrels per day (b/d) (0.2%) from the October STEO. EIA increased its 2020 crude oil production forecast by 119,000 b/d (0.9%) compared with the October STEO (Figure 1). The increases in crude oil production forecast in the November STEO were primarily driven by

  • EIA’s upward revision to historical production in the Lower 48 states of about 90,000 b/d for August, based on EIA’s most recent–October 31, 2019–914 monthly crude oil and natural gas production survey
  • Higher initial production for future wells that will be drilled in the Texas Permian region
  • Slightly higher crude oil price forecast for the November 2019–January 2020 time period than in the October STEO

Figure 1. U.S. crude oil production forecast

In the November STEO, EIA increased its U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price forecast by $2 per barrel (b) in November to $56/b and by $1/b in both December and January to $55/b and $54/b, respectively. The slight increase in crude oil prices also contributed to EIA’s increased production forecast for the first half of 2020 because of EIA’s assumption of a six-month lag between a crude oil price change and a production response.

In the November STEO, EIA now forecasts U.S. crude oil production will increase to 12.3 million b/d in 2019 from 11.0 million b/d in 2018. Production in the Permian region is the primary driver of EIA’s forecast crude oil production growth, and EIA forecasts Permian production will grow by 915,000 b/d in 2019 and by 809,000 b/d in 2020 (Figure 2). Increases in Permian production are supported by the crude oil pipeline infrastructure expansion seen earlier this year, which helped alleviate the transportation bottleneck and supported prices for WTI in Midland, Texas (the price producers may expect to receive in the Permian region), relative to prices for WTI-Cushing. The higher relative prices in the Permian should continue to encourage production in the region. EIA forecasts that the Bakken region will have the next largest crude oil production growth in 2019, and it is forecast to grow by 152,000 b/d in 2019 and 96,000 b/d in 2020. EIA forecasts that production in the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico will increase by 138,000 b/d in 2019 and 116,000 b/d in 2020.

Figure 2. Monthly U.S. crude oil production by region

Although EIA forecasts that overall U.S. crude oil production will increase, EIA expects the growth rate to decline from 11.8% in 2019 to 8.1% in 2020. One of the primary indicators of a slowdown in production growth is the decline in oil-directed rigs. According to Baker Hughes, active rig counts fell from 877 oil-directed rigs in the beginning of January 2019 to 674 rigs in mid-November. Rig counts in the Permian region also declined during this period, falling from 487 to 408 (Figure 3). Because EIA expects WTI-Cushing crude oil prices to stay below $55/b until August 2020, EIA anticipates that drilling rigs will continue to decline as producers cut back on their capital spending, resulting in notable slowing in the growth of domestic crude oil production over the next 14 months.

Figure 3. Total U.S. and Permian Basin region oil rigs

Although U.S. rig counts are declining, improvements in rig efficiency, which allows fewer rigs to drill the same number of wells, partially offset declining rig counts. In addition, higher initial production from wells (although not necessarily the total estimated ultimate recovery) is offsetting some of the slowdown in rigs.

U.S. average regular gasoline prices fall, diesel prices increase slightly

The U.S. average regular gasoline retail fell more than 2 cents from the previous week to $2.59 per gallon on November 18, 2 cents lower than the same time last year. The West Coast price fell by more than 5 cents to $3.54 per gallon, the Gulf Coast price fell by more than 4 cents to $2.22 per gallon, the East Coast price fell by more than 2 cents to $2.45 per gallon, and the Midwest price fell less than 1 cent, remaining at $2.44 per gallon. The Rocky Mountain price increased by nearly 2 cents to $2.84 per gallon.

The U.S. average diesel fuel price rose by less than 1 cent to remain at $3.07 per gallon on November 18, 21 cents lower than a year ago. The Rocky Mountain price increased by nearly 3 cents to 3.23 per gallon, and the East Coast price rose by less than 1 cent, remaining at $3.05 per gallon. The Gulf Coast price fell by less than 1 cent to $2.79 per gallon, and the West Coast and Midwest prices each decreased by less than 1 cent, remaining at $3.76 per gallon and $2.97 per gallon, respectively.

Propane/propylene inventories decline

U.S. propane/propylene stocks decreased by 3.4 million barrels last week to 94.2 million barrels as of November 15, 2019, 5.8 million barrels (6.6%) greater than the five-year (2014-18) average inventory levels for this same time of year. Gulf Coast and Midwest inventories decreased by 2.5 million barrels and 1.5 million barrels, respectively. East Coast inventories increased by 0.5 million barrels, and Rocky Mountain/West Coast inventories increased slightly, remaining virtually unchanged. Propylene non-fuel-use inventories represented 5.4% of total propane/propylene inventories.

Residential heating fuel prices

As of November 18, 2019, residential heating oil prices averaged almost $2.99 per gallon, more than 1 cent per gallon above last week’s price but 33 cents per gallon below last year’s price at this time. Wholesale heating oil prices averaged nearly $2.06 per gallon, almost 3 cents per gallon more than last week’s price but nearly 13 cents per gallon less than a year ago.

Residential propane prices averaged more than $1.99 per gallon, 5 cents per gallon higher than last week’s price but more than 43 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. Wholesale propane prices averaged nearly $0.85 per gallon, almost 9 cents per gallon higher than last week’s price but nearly 6 cents per gallon below last year’s price.

November, 21 2019
Brazil’s net metering policy leads to growth in solar distributed generation

Brazil’s growth in distributed generation from renewable resources—especially solar—has increased since it implemented net metering policies in 2012. As of mid-November 2019, owners have installed more than 135,000 renewable distributed generation systems in Brazil, totaling about 1.72 gigawatts (GW) of capacity, according to the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (ANEEL).

Solar photovoltaic accounts for the largest share of the total installed distributed generating resources, representing about 1,571 megawatts (MW), or 91%, of the country’s total distributed generation capacity. Small hydroelectric and wind account for 97 MW and 10 MW, respectively. Net metering policies allow owners of the renewable distributed generation systems to sell excess electricity to the grid for billing credits.

ANEEL’s policy initially allowed small generators using hydro, solar, biomass, wind, and qualified cogeneration of renewable sources of up to 1 MW of capacity to qualify for net metering. In 2015, ANEEL amended the rule to increase the maximum capacity for up to 3 MW for small hydropower and up to 5 MW for other qualified renewable sources.

Qualified generators can choose to sell surplus generated electricity back to Brazil’s grid in return for billing credits. As part of the billing credit structure, net-metering customers can generate credits earned on days when they generated more electricity than they consumed. Before 2015, these credits expired after 36 months, but now credits for excess generation expire after 60 months.

Most of Brazil’s distributed generation units are in the southern, southeastern, and northeastern regions of the country. The states with the most distributed generation units are Minas Gerais with 372 MW, Rio Grande do Sul with 223 MW, and São Paulo with 194 MW.

Brazil distributed generation by technology

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on data from the Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency (ANEEL)

At the end of 2018, ANEEL released a regulatory impact analysis and conducted a series of public hearing meetings to discuss economic aspects and sustainable growth of distributed generation in the country.

November, 20 2019
U.S. natural gas production, consumption, and exports set new records in 2018

U.S. natural gas dry production, consumption, and exports

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Annual 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Natural Gas Annual 2018 shows that the United States set new records in natural gas production, consumption, and exports in 2018. In 2018, dry natural gas production increased by 12%, reaching a record-high average of 83.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). This increase was the largest percentage increase since 1951 and the largest volumetric increase in the history of the series, which dates back to 1930. U.S. natural gas consumption increased by 11% in 2018, driven by increased natural gas consumption in the electric power sector. Natural gas gross exports totaled 10.0 Bcf/d in 2018, 14% more than the 2017 total of 8.6 Bcf/d. Several new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities came online in 2018, allowing for more exports.

U.S. consumption of natural gas by sector

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Annual 2018

U.S. natural gas consumption grew in each end-use sector. Demand for natural gas as a home heating fuel was greater in 2018 than in 2017 because of slightly colder weather during most of the winter. Similarly, the summer of 2018 saw record-high temperatures that increased demand for air conditioning and, therefore, electricity—much of which was fueled by natural gas. U.S. electric power sector consumption of natural gas grew by 14% in 2017, more than in any other end-use sector. The electric power sector has been shifting toward natural gas in the past decade because of favorable prices and efficiency gains.

dry natural gas production by state for 2017 and 2018

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Annual 2018

U.S. natural gas production growth was concentrated in the Appalachian, Permian, and Haynesville regions. Pennsylvania and Ohio, states that overlay the Appalachian Basin, had the first- and third-largest year-over-year increases for 2018, increasing by 2.0 Bcf/d and 1.7 Bcf/d, respectively. Louisiana had the second-largest volumetric increase in dry production, increasing by 1.8 Bcf/d as a result of increased production from the Haynesville shale formation. Texas remained the top natural gas-producing state, with a production level of 18.7 Bcf/d, as a result of continued drilling activity in the Permian Basin in western Texas and eastern New Mexico.

November, 18 2019