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Oil and Gas Roundup — Sept. 14

September 14, 2018
TOPICS: In the news
A rundown of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

Rig count up 2 in state, 7 nationwide

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in Oklahoma grew by two this week to 139, as the nationwide rig count jumped by seven to 1,055.

A year ago, there were 130 rigs active in Oklahoma and 936 working in the U.S. Nationwide, 867 rigs were exploring for oil and 186 for natural gas; 921 rigs were horizontal, 63 vertical and 71 directional.

Of the other major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas lost three rigs to 525, New Mexico was off one to 99, Louisiana gained three to 61, North Dakota added a rig to 54, and Pennsylvania gained three rigs to 44. Canada added 22 rigs this week to 226, bringing the North American total to 1,281, including rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

EIA: U.S. is officially world’s top crude oil producer

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported today that the United States “likely” overtook Russia and Saudi Arabia earlier this year to become the world’s top crude oil producer. As EIA reported:

“In February, U.S. crude oil production exceeded that of Saudi Arabia for the first time in more than two decades. In June and August, the United States surpassed Russia in crude oil production for the first time since February 1999.”

Though this achievement isn’t a surprise, as EIA announced earlier this year that it expected the U.S. to claim the title of world’s top crude oil producer, it’s important to remember that this feat would have been unimaginable just 10 years ago. But thanks to advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology – which unleashed previously inaccessible “tight oil” formations throughout the country – the United States saw year-over-year production increase for the first time in 18 years in 2009 and hasn’t looked back since.

With the exception of a brief downturn in 2016 as result of OPEC’s ultimately failed attempt to drive out the U.S. shale industry by maximizing its production and driving down prices, the United States has seen a dramatic upward trajectory in projection over the past 10 years.

Read more at Energy In Depth.

ONEOK to invest nearly $300 million in West Texas natural gas pipelines

An Oklahoma company will invest nearly $300 million to expand its natural gas liquids pipeline system in West Texas' Permian Basin.

ONEOK of Tulsa announced Monday that it would invest $295 million to expand its West Texas LPG Limited Partnership pipeline system. The expansion would support six natural gas processing plants in the Permian Basin that are expected to have a daily production of 60,000 barrels a day of natural gas liquids, which usually include ethane, propane and butane.

ONEOK plans to  build four new pump stations, upgrade two existing pumps and add pipelines that would increase the system's mainline capacity 80,000 barrels a day. The expansion is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020.

In July ONEOK took full control of the West Texas LPG Pipeline when it paid $195 million to Martin Midstream Partners LP of Kilgore. The system consists of approximately 2,600 miles of natural gas liquids pipelines throughout Texas and New Mexico, and provides transportation from nearly 40 natural gas processing plants to the Mont Belvieu market in east Texas.

The Permian Basin is the second largest natural gas producing shale field in the U.S. natural gas production has risen 31.3 percent in the last year to over 11.5 billion cubic feet a day.

— Houston Chronicle.

U.S. warns Russia it may sanction new gas pipeline to Germany

The U.S. warned Russia that it may follow through on sanction threats over the construction of a major natural gas pipeline to Germany.

Asked if the U.S. might impose punitive measures against Nord Stream 2 and other projects, Energy Secretary Rick Perry answered “yes,” during a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak on Thursday in Moscow. “Minister Novak and I both agree that getting to that point of sanctions is not where we want to go,” he said.

Perry urged Russia to be a “responsible supplier” and to stop using its resources for “influence and disruption,” adding that the U.S. opposes the gas link because it would concentrate two-thirds of Russian exports of the fuel to the European Union in a single choke point. Novak said that Russia was concerned if the U.S. sanctions a “competitive” gas pipeline.

Nord Stream 2 would double Russia’s current capacity to deliver natural gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea and circumvent Ukraine. The project would be a major supply route to the EU and has been a sore point between the U.S. and its allies.

Read more at Rigzone.

The USA’s three-legged stool of energy dominance

The United States of America recently surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to emerge as the top producer of crude oil , according to new data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The USA's new status could be short-lived, as both its nearest competing nations have ramped up production in recent weeks to fill a growing void in Iranian production in the wake of re-imposed U.S. sanctions, but the fact that the U.S. arrived at that point at all is an extraordinary achievement.

A decade ago, the most common phrase used to describe the domestic U.S. oil industry was that "all the whales are gone," with "whales" meaning big, new sources of oil that had the potential of starting a new boom. The Permian Basin was considered a "dead" region, where the biggest potential for increased production lay not in finding new productive formations, but in going into old existing wells and re-working them.

The Eagle Ford Shale was known mainly as a nuisance formation from which drillers would get a small kick of gas whenever they drilled into a deeper conventional formation. At that time, the U.S. was importing about 2/3rds of its daily oil needs, and the general outlook was that the percentage of imports would only rise over time.

But then, in October of 2008, a large independent producer named Petrohawk drilled the first economic oil well in the Eagle Ford Shale formation, and America's energy outlook turned 180 degrees. Since the revolution in shale oil production began, total U.S. crude production has now doubled.

Never in its history has the domestic oil industry produced as much oil as it now does every day. In 2017, U.S. net imports of crude oil amounted to just 19% of the country's daily consumption. Thus, while the country has not become completely energy independent, it has become vastly more energy secure.

Read more at Forbes.

Hurricane Florence not expected to trigger fuel shortages

Unlike with Hurricane Harvey a year ago, Hurricane Florence won't upset the nation's fuel supplies because it's making landfall on the East Coast away from refineries.

With so many refineries concentrated along the Texas Gulf Coast, Harvey knocked about a quarter of the nation's refining capacity, causing short-lived fuel shortages in Texas and spiked gasoline prices nationwide for several weeks. But the refineries came back online relatively quickly, preventing widespread gasoline shortages.

Florence may have caused some fuel pricing fluctuations and temporary bottlenecks in the Carolinas and other impacted states as people evacuated, but the issues won't spread to the rest of the country, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, which tracks fuel pricing nationwide.

"The good news for motorists is that this is not an event that will result in widespread gas price spikes. Refiners are unhindered and out of the way of the storm, so gasoline keeps flowing," DeHaan said.

Read more at the Houston Chronicle.
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