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US Shale Production Just Hit A New All Time High

US Shale Production Just Hit A New All Time High

One month ago, we reported that based on recent data, June oil output from shale producers would post the first double-digit production growth since July of 2015, when oil prices tumbled and a substantial portion of US production was briefly taken offline. While the final data has yet to be tabulated, it is safe to say that this is now the case.

Indicatively, while over the past year total U.S. production was up roughly 525kb/d, virtually all of it, or 98.5%, was the result of horizontal rig production in the Permian Basin, where output rose by just over half a million barrels per day.

The Permian basin has been leading the increase in horizontal oil rig count (+184%)

Also of note is that while US rig shows not signs of slowing yet, in its latest Weekly Oil Rig Monitor, Goldman predicted that $45/bbl is the price below which shale output would finally slow, although that price may also prove a substantial hurdle for many gulf budgets, whose all in cost of production – including mandatory and discretionary government outlays – is roughly the same if not higher.

Rig count (lhs), WTI spot prices (rhs, $/bbl, 3-mo lag)

But what is more notable, is that according to the June EIA Drilling Prodctivity Report forecast, in July total shale (note: not total) basin output would rise by 127kb/d from May’s 5.348mmb/d, and hit 5.475 mmb/d, surpassing the previous record of 5.46 mmb/d reached in March 2015. Today the EIA released its latest Drilling Productivity Report, and while the number is not official just yet, it is safe to say that as of July, the total US shale basin is producing a record amount of crude oil, which the EIA pegged at 5.472mmb/d, up almost exactly as predicted, and is expected to rise by a further 113kb/d in August to a new all time high of 5.585mmb/d.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Rig Count Rises To April 2015 Highs As Analysts Warn “Oil Market Rebalancing Hasn’t Even Started Yet”

Rig Count Rises To April 2015 Highs As Analysts Warn “Oil Market Rebalancing Hasn’t Even Started Yet”

After falling for the first time this year two weeks ago, Baker Hughes reports US oil rig count rose once again (up 2 to 765) for the 24th week in the last 25, to the highest since April 2015.

“The so-called re-balancing is likely to happen later than earlier,” Michael Poulsen, an analyst at Global Risk Management Ltd, said on Friday.

It does appear we have reached an inflection point in the rig count numbers (if the historical relationship with crude holds)…

While EIA cut its 2018 production outlook, this week saw the effect of field maintenance in Alaska and Tropical Storm Cindy in the Gulf of Mexico fall away and production surged once again this week – to new cycle highs…

 

And the lagged rig count trend suggests crude production has further to rise yet…

Crude prices have been active today with macro headlines hurting and machines helping ramp any dip… the rig count create iunstant selling which was instantly bid back upo,,,

And while US crude production just jumped to cycle highs (and shale production we believe reached a record high), OilPrice.com’s Nick Cunningham notes the oil market rebalancing hasn’t even started yet

Global oil production surged in June “as producers opened the taps,” according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). OPEC was a major culprit, with Libya and Nigeria doing their best to scuttle the production cuts made by other members.

But it wasn’t just those two countries, who are exempted from the agreed upon reductions. OPEC’s de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, also boosted output by an estimated 120,000 bpd in June, from a month earlier. That put Saudi production above 10 million barrels per day (mb/d) for the first time in 2017.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

OPEC Admits It Has A Problem: It Is Still Producing Too Much Oil

OPEC Admits It Has A Problem: It Is Still Producing Too Much Oil

In its just released lastest market report for the month of July, OPEC admitted it has a problem: more than six months after the Vienna deal that was supposed to bring supply and demand in balance, the oil cartel confirmed it is pumping too much, not only in 2017, but also in 2018, blaming shale production as the primary reason behind the oversupply.

First, looking at historical data, according to secondary sources, production among the 14 OPEC member states rose by a whopping +394k b/d in June to 32.611mb/d.  The biggest monthly increases took place in those nations that had previously been supply constrained and which are exempt from the output cut accord: Libya +127k b/d, and Nigeria +97k, although even Saudi Arabia saw a substantial pick up in production, which rose by +51k b/d m/m to 9.95m b/d, the highest since the start of the year. More ominously, in direct communications to OPEC, Saudi reported a monthly increase of +190k b/d m/m, up to 10.07m b/d, suggesting that as discussed yesterday, Saudi commitment to production cuts may be “waning.”

In total, OPEC admitted that output exceeded demand in 1H this year and was set for overproduction in 2018: the total output of 32.6m b/d in June was more than the 32.2m b/d it expects will be needed in 2018.

Just as striking was the report’s suggestion that OPEC and non-OPEC’s accord to cut production was not deep enough according to Bloomberg calculations: despite reducing production, the organization’s data show it oversupplied markets by ~700k b/d in 1H this yr.  Still, surplus oil stockpiles in developed nations fell in May to 234m bbl; if OPEC maintains June output levels, it will reduce global surplus by ~70m bbl in 2H, although as we reported previously much of this is due to US oil exports which artificially depressed US commercial inventory stocks.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Australia’s oil stock coverage on record low

Australia’s oil stock coverage on record low

In prime time evening news of the Australian public broadcaster ABC TV, on 21 June 2017, the business presenter Alan Kohler tried to explain a fall in oil prices by “record oil inventories around the world”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/business/kohler-report/

Well, let’s go around the world on a map and stay where we are, in Australia. In google, type in the search word “Australian Petroleum Statistics” and you get this website:

http://www.environment.gov.au/energy/petroleum-statistics

Click on the latest issue and then on the download PDF file, in this case April 2017

http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/8b150335-1e38-48a3-9f66-daed7ddbe4bf/files/australian-petroleum-statistics-april2017.pdf

Search for the word “stocks” and that brings you to tables 6 and 7

Table 7 End of month stocks of petroleum, consumption cover

In the last column “IEA days of net imports coverage it is 89.5 days for 2010/11 and 55.2 days for 2015/17. Go to the bottom of the column and it’s 50.5 days. The year-on-year decline is 3.1%. That doesn’t look like a record now. If anything, it’s a record low. Let’s put that into a graph:

Australia_IEA_days_coverage_2010-Apr2017Fig 1: Australia’s net imports coverage in days as defined by IEA

Australia is a member of the IEA (International Energy Agency)

Turnbull_Birol_Feb2017Fig 2: Australian Prime Minster shaking hands with IEA’s Fatih Birol, Feb 2017

We check the coverage on the IEA website and find 48 days for March

IEA_oil_stock_in_days_of_net_imports_Mar2017
Fig 3: Australia in comparison with other countries
https://www.iea.org/netimports/

But this number of 50 days is just a calculated average of all oils and fuels. In terms of consumption cover for crude oil and the most important fuels the numbers are much lower as shown in the following graphs.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Lower 48 Production Nears Cycle Highs As Rig Count Rises For 18th Straight Week

Lower 48 Production Nears Cycle Highs As Rig Count Rises For 18th Straight Week

While much was made of this week’s drop in US crude production, it was driven by an Alaskan supply drop, not the Lower 48 whose production is at Aug 2015 highs. WTI back above $50 on the back of more OPEC jawboning appears to have everyone convinced this time is different, but for the 18th week in a row US oil rig counts rose (by 8 to 720).

  • *U.S. OIL RIG COUNT +8 TO 720 , BAKER HUGHES SAYS :BHI US
  • *U.S. GAS RIG COUNT 180 , BAKER HUGHES SAYS :BHI US

The 18th weekly oil rig count rise…

Production from the Lower 48 continues to soar…

And WTI dipped a little on the print…

And while prices hover above $50, OilPrice.com’s Brian Noble warns that as breakeven prices converge an oil price crash nears…

No one should underestimate the impact of AI (artificial intelligence) on the future of the entire capital markets complex. The LinkedIn group, Algorithmic Traders Association, has recently been running a series of articles warning of the seismic shift that is and will continue to be felt in the global hedge fund industry as machines take over from people on trading desks.

But what intelligent human being would ever suddenly have turned bullish on the morning of Monday 15 May 2017 just because of renewed jawboning from Saudi Arabia and Russia, indulging in the same old two-step as they did at Doha in April 2016 and Vienna in November of last year. That is however precisely what the machines did. Hallelujah.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Venezuela’s Oil Production On The Brink Of Collapse

Venezuela’s Oil Production On The Brink Of Collapse

Venezuela

Desperation is spreading in Venezuela as violent protests continue to paralyze the country, further damaging the country’s shattered economy. Venezuela’s already-decrepit oil industry is deteriorating by the day, and an outright implosion is no longer out of the question.

The inflation rate, according to the IMF, will balloon to 720 percent this year. Food shortages have been common for quite some time, but are deepening and wearing down the population. Three out of four people surveyed by the WSJ reported involuntary weight loss last year. Hospitals have completely broken down.

Venezuela has been crippled by protests since late March, with more than three dozen people having been killed over the past two months, and there is no sign of improvement. This meltdown is taking a toll on Venezuela’s oil production, the last thing keeping the country from becoming a failed state. Venezuela’s oil production has been declining for more than a decade, mainly because oil revenues are used to finance the government, leaving little for state-owned PDVSA to reinvest in its operations.

But things are getting worse. The cash shortage is accelerating the decline. As of April, oil production stood at 1.956 million barrels per day (mb/d), down 10 percent from last year, and down more than 17 percent from 2015 levels – and output continues to trend downward. James Williams, energy economist at WTRG Economics, told Marketwatch in March that he expects Venezuela to lose another 200,000 to 300,000 bpd this year, another 10 to 15 percent decline from 1Q2017 levels.

The problem is downstream as well, as the shortage of refined products worsens. Three out of Venezuela’s four oil refineries are operating significantly below capacity because of the inability to find spare parts for maintenance, according to Reuters.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

South Korea’s oil trade under threat

South Korea’s oil trade under threat

In 2010 the China Sign Post blog published an article entitled “Playing with fire. Potential impact of a North Korean threat to South Korean oil refineries”, showing following map:

North-Korea-threat-to-refineries_June-2010Fig 1: Range of North Korea’s missiles in 2010

http://www.chinasignpost.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/China_Signpost_8_North-Korea-Refinery-Threat_2010-11-29.pdf

The article ranked the vulnerability of South Korean and Japanese refineries to a North Korean attack, dependent on distance, location and capacity.

Exhibit-3_China-SignPost-70_North-korea-threats-to-refinery-infrastructure
Fig 2: Vulnerability ranking of South Korean and Japanese refineries
http://www.chinasignpost.com/2010/11/29/playing-with-fire-potential-impact-of-a-north-korean-threat-to-south-korean-oil-refineries/

The above article was updated in 2013 when tensions were also very high:

“Ballistic missiles with a circular error of probability of several hundred meters such as North Korea’s No-dong would have a good chance of scoring a hit against a refinery, whose processing units, storage tanks, and other infrastructure can occupy an area of multiple square kilometers. An added bonus from Pyongyang’s perspective is that a missile hit on critical parts of a refinery could put the plant out of commission for at least several months.

Based on the latest missile data from Jane’s and other sources, South Korea’s entire refining capacity of approximately 2.8 million bpd lies within range of North Korean Hwasong 6 and 7 and No-dong missiles, while Japan’s 4.7 million bpd of capacity lies fully within the range envelopes of the No-Dong 1 and 2, Musudan, Taepo-dong, and KN-08 missiles.”
http://www.chinasignpost.com/2013/04/14/playing-with-fire-round-2-north-koreas-potential-missile-threat-to-asian-oil-refining-infrastructure/

That was in 2013. Fast forward to March 2017.

4NK_missiles_Mar2017

Fig 3: North Korean Scud missile drill

10 March 2017

This time, North Korea launched four “extended-range” Scud missiles that are capable of flying up to 620 miles. The map showed all four missiles landing on an arc that stretched down to the Marine Corps Air Station near Iwakuni, Japan. Once again, the North Korean statement doesn’t leave much to the imagination: “Involved in the drill were

Hwasong artillery units of the KPA (Korean People’s Army) Strategic Force tasked to strike the bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor forces in Japan in contingency.”
https://www.yahoo.com/news/north-korea-practicing-nuclear-war-144440547.html

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why We Should Be Concerned About Low Oil Prices

Why We Should Be Concerned About Low Oil Prices

I recently tried to explain how the energy-economy system works, including the strange way prices fall, rather than rise, as we reach limits, at a recent workshop in Brussels called “New Narratives of Energy and Sustainability.” The talk was part of an “Inspirational Workshop Series” sponsored by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.

Figure 1. Empty Schuman room of the Berlaymont European Commission building, shortly after we arrived. Photo shows Mario Giampietro and Vaclav Smil, who were the other speakers at the Inspirational Workshop. Attendees started arriving a few minutes later.

My talk was titled, “Elephants in the Room Regarding Energy and the Economy.” (PDF) In this post, I show my slides and give a bit of commentary.

Slide 2

The question, of course, is how this growth comes to an end.

Slide 3

I have been aided in my approach by the internet and by the insights of many commenters to my blog posts.

Slide 4

We all recognize that our way of visualizing distances must change, when we are dealing with a finite world.

Slide 5

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Oil Rigs Rise For 12 Straight Weeks; Threaten Oil Price Recovery

Oil Rigs Rise For 12 Straight Weeks; Threaten Oil Price Recovery

For the 12th week in a row, the number of US oil rigs rose (up another 10 to 672 – the highest since September 2015). US Crude production continues to track the lagged rig count, pouring more cold water on OPEC’s production cut party.

The rig count grows, tracking the lagged oil price in a self-defeating cycle.

And crude production appears to have plenty more room to run.

Will The Oil Price Slide Lead To A Credit Crunch For U.S. Drillers?

Will The Oil Price Slide Lead To A Credit Crunch For U.S. Drillers?

Shale drillers

The recent drop in oil prices, which has almost wiped out the price gains since OPEC announced its supply-cut deal, is coming just ahead of the spring season when banks are reassessing the credit lines they are extending to support drillers’ growth plans.

WTI front-month futures have been trading below $50 a barrel for a couple of weeks, while Brent crude slipped briefly below $50 on March 22, dropping below that psychological threshold for the first time since November 30, the day on which OPEC said it agreed to curtail collective oil production in an effort to rebalance the market and lift prices.

Lenders review the oil and gas companies’ creditworthiness twice a year, in April and in October, in the so-called borrowing base redetermination. The recent drop in the price of oil may prompt banks to be more cautious in their assessments, but still, things look brighter for oil firms than they did in March last year when oil prices were consistently below $40 a barrel.

This time around, analysts expect reductions in credit lines should oil prices drop below $45 until creditworthiness reviews are over, according to Bloomberg.

These assessments are closely connected to the price of oil, given the fact that the value of the companies’ oil and gas reserves serve as the basis for their creditworthiness assumptions.

Nonetheless, reviews are less likely to lead to drastic credit cuts this spring because the companies that have survived the oil price crash have emerged leaner after major cost cuts, asset sales, and focus shifting to easier, cheaper, and more lucrative areas, such as the Permian. U.S. shale players have been locking in future production, and the best drilling areas are now estimated to be profitable at as low a price as $40 per barrel.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Venezuela In Dire Straits As Oil Production Falls Further

Venezuela In Dire Straits As Oil Production Falls Further

Oil Pipe

Venezuela’s economic crisis continues to deepen. The South American OPEC member is thought to be sitting on nearly 300 billion barrels of oil, far more than any other country in the world, including Saudi Arabia (estimated at 268 billion barrels). But the economy has been in freefall for several years, with conditions continuing to deteriorate.

The economic crisis has morphed into a full-blown humanitarian disaster. Just this week the Wall Street Journal reported on Venezuelan women traveling to neighboring Colombia to give birth because the state of Venezuela’s hospitals are horrific, with shortages of medical supplies and trained staff. Infant mortality is worse than in war-ravaged Syria.

Food and other essential items are also painfully scarce, leading to long lines at shops. Tensions run high because there is not enough to go around.

Now even gasoline is running low in Caracas, Reuters reports, an unusual development for the capital city.

Gas shortages suggests problems for Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA are deepening. The government depends on oil production for more than 90 percent of its export revenues, and the collapse of oil prices back in 2014, coupled with a long-term slide in output, have ruined the company’s finances.

That, in turn, puts even more pressure on PDVSA. A shortage of cash is straining the company’s ability to import refined products as it falls short on bills to suppliers. PDVSA needs to import refined products to dilute its heavy crude oil, but without enough cash, tankers are sitting at ports unable to unload their cargoes. Reuters also says that “many tankers are idle because PDVSA cannot pay for hull cleaning, inspections, and other port services.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How OPEC Lost The War Against Shale, In One Chart

How OPEC Lost The War Against Shale, In One Chart

At the start of March we showed a fascinating chart from Rystad Energy, demonstrating how dramatic the impact of technological efficiency on collapsing US shale production costs has been: in just the past 3 years, the wellhead breakeven price for key shale plays has collapsed from an average of $80 to the mid-$30s…

… resulting in drastically lower all-in breakevens for most US shale regions.

Today, in a note released by Goldman titled “OPEC: To cut or not to cut, that is the question”, the firm presents a chart which shows just as graphically how exactly OPEC lost the war against US shale: in one word: the cost curve has massively flattened and extended as a result of “shale productivity” driving oil breakeven in the US from $80 to $50-$55, in the process sweeping Saudi Arabia away from the post of global oil price setter to merely inventory manager. 

This is how Goldman explains it:

Shale’s short time to market and ongoing productivity improvements have provided an efficient answer to the industry’s decade-long search for incremental hydrocarbon resources in technically challenging, high cost areas and has kicked off a competition amongst oil producing countries to offer attractive enough contracts and tax terms to attract incremental capital. This is instigating a structural deflationary change in the oil cost curve, as shown in Exhibit 2. This shift has driven low cost OPEC producers to respond by focusing on market share, ramping up production where possible, using their own domestic resources or incentivizing higher activity from the international oil companies through more attractive contract structures and tax regimes. In the rest of the world, projects and countries have to compete for capital, trying to drive costs down to become competitive through deflation, FX and potentially lower tax rates.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fitch Predicts Drop In Oil Prices By 2017 As U.S. Shale Output Soars

Fitch Predicts Drop In Oil Prices By 2017 As U.S. Shale Output Soars

Oil Rig

Oil bigwigs should take a step back before becoming too comfortable with the new oil price range according to Fitch Ratings’ newest market analysis.

“The recovery in US drilling activity will drive up shale oil production in the second half of 2017, offsetting a portion of recent oil price gains,” the credit rating agency’s report released on Monday says. “We therefore expect average oil prices for the year to be below those in January and February.”

In a stable market scenario, Fitch estimates that by the end of this year, oil prices will fall to $52.50, but then rebound to $55 and then $60 in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Long-term prospects for Brent barrels sit at $65 in this model.

A stressed, oversupplied market will mean a $40 barrel through 2019, however.

Since January, a 1.8 million-barrel global production cut led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and joined by several other nations has kept prices between the $55-$60 range.

Compliance to the terms of the November deal by members of the bloc has been strong. Last week, new data showed that OPEC’s compliance stood at 94 percent.

Fitch cited the continuous increase of active oil rigs in the United States since May 2016 as key evidence for an impending price collapse. American production is set to top nine million barrels over the course of 2017, the analysts estimate, due to rejuvenated capital expenditure budgets and higher output capacity.

The total number of active oil and gas rigs in the United States is now 756, according to oilfield services provider Baker Hughes, which is 267 rigs above the rig count a year ago.

 

Oil prices set to rise sharply, unless new projects are approved

Oil prices set to rise sharply, unless new projects are approved

Without new investments, oil prices will rise sharply in the next five years, energy conference told

The International Energy Agency says there will be supply problems in three years if a two-year trend in falling oil investments continues into 2017.

The International Energy Agency says there will be supply problems in three years if a two-year trend in falling oil investments continues into 2017. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Oil prices are set to rise sharply starting in 2020 if new energy investments are not made this year.

That was the message of the International Energy Agency as the CERAWeek energy conference kicked off in Houston. There’s a worldwide glut of oil now, and the IEA said that supply looks adequate for the next three years, thanks to rising production from U.S. shale producers and Canadian oilsands projects that were sanctioned before the oil price crunch began.

However, oil investments dropped sharply in both 2015 and 2016, and if that trend continues into 2017, there will be a problem in three years.

“We have seen two years in a row of huge declines in upstream investment. If this is the case in 2017, if we don’t see substantial rebound, we may well see that the market tightens around 2020 and the spare production capacity shrinks,” said Fatih Birol, the chairman of the IEA, at a news conference in Houston.

Oil investment globally was $450 billion US in 2016. The IEA is hoping to see that increase by 20 per cent, a further $90 billion US in 2017. In 2016, oil investment in Canada was estimated at $37 billion, and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers expects it to rise to $44 billion in 2017.

IHS CERAWeek 2016

Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, speaks about the state of the oil industry at the annual IHS CERAWeek global energy conference Monday in Houston. (Pat Sullivan/Associated Press)

Birol made reference to 2008, when prices spiked to more than $140 US per barrel, saying that without new investment, the oil market could be tighter in 2022 than it was in 2008.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Oil Production Vital Statistics February 2017

Oil Production Vital Statistics February 2017

Joint post with Neil Mearns who made all the graphs (CV for Neil).

January was the month that OPEC was supposed to reduce production by 1.2 Mbpd and Russia + others were supposed to cut a further 0.6 Mbpd. Now that the January production data are in we can see that OPEC cut by 1.04 Mbpd and that Russia + FSU cut by 0.1 Mbpd (well within the noise of revisions) and well short of the 0.3+ Mbpd expected. But global C+C+NGLs were down 1.46 Mbpd suggesting that other countries may have intentionally or unintentionally chipped in. Brent began January on $55.05 and ended the month on $54.77. Today it is $55.56. As explained in the feeble OPEC deal the depth of proposed cuts were to shallow when compared to the scale of over-supply and stocks to make a decisive impact on the direction of the oil price.

In January, Libya produced 690,000 bpd, up 70,000 bpd on the month but well short of their target of soon reaching 1 Mbpd. But if Libya (inset map up top) does manage to keep growing production throughout this year this will continue to undermine OPEC efforts to support price.

On 24 February there were 602 oil rigs operating in the USA up from 529 on 6th January as reported last month (Figures 4, 5, 6 and 7). Rising oil drilling activity in the USA will inevitably lead to more oil production at some point. US production was 12.48 Mbpd in January down from 12.51 Mbpd in December (Figure 12). Middle East drilling remains on a cyclical high (Figure 9) while drilling remains in the doldrums everywhere else (Figures 8 and 10).

The following totals compare January 2016 with January 2017:

  • World Total Liquids 96.62/96.39/ -230,000 bpd
  • OPEC 32.00/31.86/-140,000 bpd
  • Russia + FSU 14.19/14.43/ +240,000 bpd
  • Europe OECD  3.55/3.55/ no change
  • Asia 7.67/7.42/ -250,000
  • North America 19.81/19.48/ -330,000 bpd

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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