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US Shale Production To Soar By 3.5 Million Barrels/Day Over Next Five Years: BofA Explains Why

US Shale Production To Soar By 3.5 Million Barrels/Day Over Next Five Years: BofA Explains Why

Two years ago, when Saudi Arabia launched on an unprecedented campaign to crush high-cost oil producers, in the process effectively putting an end to the OPEC cartel (at least until last year’s attempt to cut production), it made a bold bet that US shale producers would be swept under when the price of oil tumbled, leading to a tsunami of bankruptcies, as well as investment and production halts. To an extent it succeeded, but where it may have made a glaring error is the core assumption about shale breakeven costs, which as we reported throughout 2016, were substantially lower than consensus estimated.

In his latest note, BofA’s Francisco Blanch explains not only why a drop in shale breakevens costs is what is currently the biggest wildcard in the global race to reach production “equilibrium”, but also why US shale oil production could surge in the coming years, prompting OPEC to boost production in hopes of recapturing market share.  Specifically, Blanch predicts that US shale oil production could grow by a whopping 3.5 million barrels per day over the next five years.

Here’s why: as he explains “many oil companies around the world have survived the price meltdown by bringing down breakeven costs in the last two years.

But what parts of the world can grow output in the years ahead? In BofA’s view, US shale oil producers will come out ahead and deliver outsized market share gains by 2022. Shale oil output in the US may grow sequentially by 600 thousand b/d from 4Q16 to 4Q17 on increased activity in oil rigs and fast productivity gains. Importantly, breakeven costs for key major US plays now stand around the $55/bbl mark.

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

Norway Doubles Down On Arctic Oil

Norway Doubles Down On Arctic Oil

Statoil oil operation

While Canada and the U.S. ban Arctic drilling for oil and gas motivated by environmental concerns, and majors such as Shell pull out of their Arctic projects due to financial pressures, Norwegian energy companies are planning to increase drilling in the country’s Arctic shelf in the Barents Sea.

It seems that the limited oil price increase that followed OPEC’s production cut deal has been enough for Statoil and Lundin to decide to allocate more funds to Arctic drilling, especially since the price rise has been accompanied by a major discovery for Lundin and a likely future major discovery for Statoil.

Lundin announced earlier this month that it had struck a deposit holding between 35 and 100 million barrels of oil equivalent in its Filicudi prospect in the southern Barents Sea. According to the company, which is exploring the prospect in partnership with Aker BP and Dea, Filicudi may contain as much as 700 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Statoil, for its part, is gearing up for a major drilling campaign focusing on what could turn out to be the largest field in Norway’s Arctic shelf: the Korpfjell field. Dubbed an elephant, Korpfjell may hold up to 10 billion barrels of crude, not least because of its immediate proximity to another promising deposit, the Perseevsky oil prospect in the Russian section of the Arctic. Perseevsky is being explored by Rosneft in partnership with Statoil.

Naturally, there is major environmental opposition to this Arctic foray: Greenpeace, Bloomberg recalls, last year launched a lawsuit against the Norwegian government for awarding exploration licenses in the Barents Sea. The case will be heard this fall.

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

 

OPEC Production Cut May Need to Be Extended: Oil Ministers

OPEC Production Cut May Need to Be Extended: Oil Ministers

Production

The oil ministers of Iran and Qatar have suggested that OPEC’s production cut agreement may have to be extended beyond the June deadline, despite an almost 100-percent compliance rate.

The comments come a day after the American Petroleum Institute reported the second-largest crude oil inventory increase in history, at 14.227 million barrels, which added fuel to worries that production cut efforts are not enough to rebalance the market.

Iran’s Oil Minister, Bijan Zanganeh, told Iranian media after a meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart that the option of extending the cut needs further study, but, he said, “in principle” the group must do it. Zanganeh also said that most OPEC producers would be happy with oil at US$60 – a level that has proved difficult to reach.

Qatar’s Oil Minister Mohammed Al Sada, for his part, spoke at a news conference in Doha, saying that the oil market may rebalance in the third quarter, adding that “it’s too early to make a judgment.”

At the same time, however, Qatar’s Finance Minister said that the country is comfortable with the current level of oil prices, with expectations that it will be able to plug its budget hole this year, at oil price levels of US$45, as stipulated in the budget.

The latest update from OPEC on how the production cut was progressing pegged daily production for January at 32.89 million barrels, versus a target of 32.5 million barrels. This represented a compliance rate of 91 percent and suggested that nearly everyone is on board with the market rebalancing effort.

Iraq is still producing 130,000 bpd more than agreed, but as a whole, the cartel is exceeding expectations of compliance. This, however, seems to be insufficiently lifting benchmark prices. After API’s report yesterday, WTI slipped below US$52 and Brent dropped below US$55.

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

The Oil War Is Only Just Getting Started

The Oil War Is Only Just Getting Started

Oil infrastructure

It’s been a month now that investors and analysts have been closely watching two main drivers for oil prices: how OPEC is doing with the supply-cut deal, and how U.S. shale is responding to fifty-plus-dollar oil with rebounding drilling activity. Those two main factors are largely neutralizing each other, and are putting a floor and a cap to a price range of between $50 and $60.

The U.S. rig count has been rising, while OPEC seems unfazed by the resurgence in North American shale activity and is trying to convince the market (and itself) and prove that it would be mostly adhering to the promise to curtail supply in an effort to boost prices and bring markets back to balance. In the next couple of months, official production figures will point to who’s winning this round of the oil wars.

This would be the short-term game between low-cost producers and higher-cost producers.

In the longer run, the latest energy outlook by supermajor BP points to another looming battle for market share, where low-cost producers may try to boost market shares before oil demand peaks.

BP’s Energy Outlook 2017 estimates that there is an abundance of oil resources, and “known resources today dwarf the world’s likely consumption of oil out to 2050 and beyond”.

“In a world where there’s an abundance of potential oil reserves and supply, what we may see is low-cost producers producing ever-increasing amounts of that oil and higher-cost producers getting gradually crowded out,” Spencer Dale, BP group chief economist said.

In BP’s definition of low-cost producers, the majority of the lowest-cost resources sit in large, conventional onshore oilfields, particularly in the Middle East and Russia.

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

OPEC’s 2017 production cuts: a confusing numbers game (part 1)

OPEC’s 2017 production cuts: a confusing numbers game (part 1)

What the agreement said

opec_quotas_nov2016

Fig 1: Production table from OPEC’s press release referred to as “agreement table”

“1. In the fulfilment of the implementation of the Algiers Accord, 171st Ministerial Conference has decided to reduce its production by around 1.2 mb/d to bring its ceiling to 32.5 mb/d, effective 1st of January 2017;

2. The duration of this agreement is six months, extendable for another six months to take into account prevailing market conditions and prospects;

3. To recognize that this Agreement should be without prejudice to future agreements;

4. To establish a Ministerial Monitoring Committee composed of Algeria, Kuwait, Venezuela, and two participating non-OPEC countries, chaired by Kuwait and assisted by the OPEC Secretariat, to closely monitor the implementation of and compliance with this Agreement and report to the Conference;

5. This agreement has been reached following extensive consultations and understanding reached with key non-OPEC countries, including the Russian Federation that they contribute by a reduction of 600 tb/d production.”

http://www.opec.org/opec_web/static_files_project/media/downloads/press_room/OPEC%20agreement.pdf

OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report November 2016

opec_crude_secondary_2014-oct2016

Fig 2: OPEC’s crude production according to secondary sources

http://www.opec.org/opec_web/static_files_project/media/downloads/publications/MOMR%20November%202016.pdf

Mysteries solved

So let’s do some bean counting on the above tables. We go down to the last kilo barrel not because we would have a particular confidence in the accuracy of data at this level but because we can then trace more easily where the numbers come from.

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

Oil Production Vital Statistics December 2016

Oil Production Vital Statistics December 2016

Global total liquids production hit yet another record high of 98.24 Mbpd in November led by OPEC and Russia! Libya’s drive to restore production is a significant factor with production up 280,000 bpd from recent lows. The US oil rig count has risen for 32 consecutive weeks and US oil production has stopped falling. Production from the North Sea and Asia are in decline as the past low price and drive to restore profitability works through the system.

The oil price has significantly broken above the $51 / bbl resistance and Brent is currently at $57. With OPEC + Russia due to decrease production from January first and to maintain lower plateau levels, combined with the relentless rise in demand, the oil price should rally from here, but not by much. The ceiling is set by the cost of new supply that currently resides with the N American LTO frackers. US production has halted its decline which is perhaps a sign of what is coming.

The following totals compare November 2016 with November 2015:

  • World Total Liquids +780,000 bpd
  • OPEC +950,000
  • Russia + FSU +440,000
  • Europe -170,000 bpd
  • Asia -640,000
  • North America -640,000

The net figures from the above are +1.39 Mbpd and -1.45 Mbpd leaving a net -0.06 Mbpd increase compared with the + 0.78 Mbpd global total liquids figure.

Year on Year, OPEC and Russia are the big winners. North America, Asia and Europe the big losers. And on the drilling front:

  • US total rig count up 261 to 665 from the low of 27 May
  • International rigs up 15 in November

This article first appeared on Energy Matters.

EIA oil price and Baker Hughes rig count charts are updated to the end of October 2016, the remaining oil production charts are updated to September 2016 using the IEA OMRdata.

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

Can U.S. Shale Add 1 Million Bpd In 2017?

Can U.S. Shale Add 1 Million Bpd In 2017?

Rigs

Oil prices are up on expectations that OPEC will contribute to a faster balancing in 2017, with up to 1.8 million barrels per day in cuts along with some non-OPEC countries. That has put a floor beneath prices, with fears of another downturn largely dissolved after OPEC’s announcement.

But what if U.S. shale comes roaring back and ruins the price rally? Estimates run the gamut on how quickly U.S. shale production can rebound and by what magnitude. Citigroup sees output rebounding by 500,000 barrels per day if oil prices average $60 per barrel. A December 12 report from Macquarie said that oil prices above $60 could spark a 1 million barrel-per-day revival.

U.S. shale is already up about 300,000 barrels per day from a low point in the summer of 2016, at least according to preliminary data. The gains are expected to continue. The industry is producing about as much oil as it was two years ago, with only one-third of the more than 1,700 rigs in 2014. Drillers are producing just as much oil with a lot less effort.

If U.S. shale surges back by 1 mb/d as Macquarie suggests, it would offset most of the cuts from OPEC and non-OPEC countries. Additionally, one would have to assume some degree of non-compliance and/or “cheating” on the cuts from participating countries, plus an expected increase in supply from Libya and Nigeria. Altogether, a rise in oil prices could be self-defeating, leading to prices falling once again later in the year. Related: Oil Price Roulette: Investors Bet On $100 Oil

Then there are also the implications on oil demand to consider. Higher prices might cut into demand growth, leading to an expansion in consumption at a much slower rate. The IEA already thinks oil demand will grow by 1.3 million barrels per day in 2017, one of the weakest in years.

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

Trump’s Oil Price Dilemma

Trump’s Oil Price Dilemma

Trump Victory speech

President-elect Donald Trump has started naming his picks for key administration offices, and it looks like he is beginning to assemble a team to deliver on at least part of his campaign promises of An America First Energy Plan.

Trump’s agenda includes lifting restrictions and opening onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands, eliminating the moratorium on coal leasing, and opening shale energy deposits. The President-elect’s key arguments for these policies are creating high-paying jobs, lessening and even eliminating America’s energy dependence, increasing tax revenues, and adding billions of dollars in economic activity.

Even if Trump were to deliver on all his pledges – as far as federal law and federal regulations are concerned – the U.S. oil production would be driven by the market—the economics of the supply and demand that determine the prices of oil.

At the time of Trump’s inauguration on January 20, OPEC and a dozen non-OPEC nations are set to begin to reduce crude oil supply with the purpose of killing the global glut and lifting oil prices. Ideally, OPEC/NOPEC taking 1.8 million bpd off the market would speed up the drawdown in global stockpiles and prop up prices.

In reality, few expect OPEC to stick to its commitments and cut as much as promised.

Still, oil prices are now north of US$50, and OPEC (even if some members cheat) may be able to talk prices up a month or so more. American production has been suffering the consequences of the two-year oil price rout, but if oil stays over US$50 for longer, it would entice more U.S. producers to return to work. Oil prices at US$60 or more would lead to even more confidence among U.S. producers—producers who are now ‘leaner and meaner’ and carefully choosing how to invest.

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

Glut Fears Spike As Europe Runs Out Of On-Land Oil Storage

Glut Fears Spike As Europe Runs Out Of On-Land Oil Storage

Tanker

Oil has been called names (“dirty fossil fuel!”). The cartels use it as a weapon to thwart their rivals. ISIS steals it and pimps it out on some sketchy black market. Swaths of it are set on fire and used as a shield. The pipelines through which it travels to and fro are bombed or protested—nearly daily. Sometimes unscrupulous babysitters let it loose to drown in an ocean or float carelessly down the river, never to be recovered. And now, oil, at least that destined for Europe, is homeless and is not being allowed to disembark after shipment.

Oil majors in northwest Europe have booked tankers to store 9 million barrels of oil as the international supply glut grows in size, according to a ship-operator who spoke to Bloomberg.

The companies have resorted to using tankers as storage as signs emerge that onshore storage is filling up on the land-starved continent.

Next month, Northwest Europe, which includes mega-producer Norway as well as the United Kingdom, France, Germany and others, expects to load the highest number of shipments in 4.5 years.

Somewhere in between 14 to 16 medium-sized Aframax tankers have lined the ports, according to Jonathan Lee, the CEO of Tankers International. Lee, whose firm operates the biggest pool of supertankers in the world, confirmed that the lack of land space to store fuel is the likely cause of the tanker buildup.

Reuters reported on Friday that the rate to book an Aframax tanker has almost doubled from the July figure, partially due to the widespread use of ships as floating storage units.

North Sea producers have upped production as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) prepares to finalize the term of an output freeze by the end of this month.

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

 

Bakken Production Down, OPEC Production Up

Bakken Production Down, OPEC Production Up

bakken-bpd

Bakken production was down 46,433 barrels per day to 930,931 bod, All North Dakota was down 48,695 bpd to 981,039 bpd. This is first time North Dakota has been below 1 million barrels per day since March of 2014.

bakken-bpd-per-well

Bakken barrels per day per well dropped by 4 to 97 while all North Dakota bpd per well dropped by 3 to 76.

From the Director’s Cut

Oil Production

July           31,921,757 barrels = 1,029,734 barrels/day
August      30,412,200 barrels =   981,039 barrels/day (preliminary)(all-time high was Dec 2014 at 1,227,483 barrels/day)

Producing Wells

July           13,265
August      13,289 (preliminary)(all-time high)

Permitting

July           86 drilling and 0 seismic
August      99 drilling and 1 seismic September   63 drilling and 1 seismic (all time high was                    370 in 10/2012)

ND Sweet Crude Price

July               $35.57/barrel
August          $33.73/barrel
September   $32.98/barrel Today     $39.75/barrel (all-time high was $136.29 7/3/2008)

 Rig Count

July             31
August        32
September   34 Today’s rig count is 33     (all-time high was 218 on 5/29/2012)

Comments:

The drilling rig count increased one from July to August, then increased two from August to September, and is down one more from September to today.  Operators remain committed to running the minimum number of rigs while oil prices remain below $60/barrel WTI.  The number of well completions rose from 44(final) in July to 59(preliminary) in August.  Oil price weakness is the primary reason for the slow-down and is now anticipated to last into at least the fourth quarter of this year and perhaps into the second quarter of 2017.  There were no significant precipitation events, 11 days with wind speeds in excess of 35 mph (too high for completion work), and no days with temperatures below -10F.

The new October OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report is out with crude only production numbers for September 2016. All charts are in thousand barrels per day.

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

 

Satellite Imagery Reveals China’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve Is Vastly Greater Than Disclosed

Satellite Imagery Reveals China’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve Is Vastly Greater Than Disclosed

At the end of August, we did a follow up article on what we believe is a far bigger marginal driver to the price of oil than OPEC production (which may or may not be reduced by up to 750kbpd in November), namely the Strategic Petroleum Reserve of China, a major importer of oil in recent years, along with India, taking advantage of low prices and largely supporting global oil demand growth at a time of rampant oversupply, and which we profiled most recently in “A Chinese “Mystery” Has Become The Biggest Wildcard For The Price Of Oil.”

The simplest reason why Chiina’s SPR capacity (and storage) is of key importance, is that it determines the ongoing demand China has for oil – of which much ends up in storage –  and also allows analysts to calculate how much more oil China would need, in order to fill up its SPR. While China has traditionally kept any data about its SPR inventory as opaque as possible, in a rare release this month, Beijing reported adding about 43 million barrels of crude to its strategic reserves between mid-2015 and early this year. Reserves totaled 31.97 million tons in early 2016, equivalent to about 234 million barrels, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement that was the first government update on reserves since December.

 


A guard stands before the oil SPR tanks at Zhoushan

As Bloomberg confirmed, emergency stockpiles of the second-biggest oil user have been a source of speculation among analysts and traders, who rely on customs figures and infrequent construction updates to estimate how much of the country’s imports go into strategic inventories, and for how long they will continue to fill.

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

Turns out, OPEC Isn’t Dead Yet

Turns out, OPEC Isn’t Dead Yet

In War for Market Share with US shale oil.

Mayhem has crisscrossed the global oil markets since 2014: Huge losses for Big Oil, including teetering, over-indebted, state-owned giants like Mexico’s Pemex and Brazil’s Petrobras; bankruptcies among some of the smaller players; cuts in production in the US, Canada, and China where production plunged 7.3% in May from a year ago, the biggest decline since February 2001; hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs across the globe; deep trouble in Brazil, chaos in Venezuela….

Record levels of crude oil stocks have become a global phenomenon. In the US, crude oil stocks are at 532 million barrels, a record for this time of the year in EIA’s data series going back 80 years. Even driving season has barely made a dent so far; stocks remain 63.6 million barrels above the mega-record levels a year ago. Gasoline and distillate stocks are 19.2 million and 18.6 million barrels above their levels a year ago.

Oil tankers full of crude are lined up outside the port of Singapore and others, some waiting to unload cargo, others being used for crude oil storage at sea. Across OPEC, storage levels of petroleum products rose to 3,046 million barrels in April, or 13% above the five-year average.

The world is awash in oil.

In the process, OPEC has been declared dead or dying because it was unable to agree on anything, refused to cut production, and brushed off calls to do something, for crying out loud, about the collapsed prices — which, despite the mega-rally, remain down over 50% from where they’d been before the oil bust began.

But there was one thing OPEC was able to accomplish by not agreeing to buckle under pressure and cut production: it increased its market share.

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

EIA World Crude Oil Production

EIA World Crude Oil Production

All the data below is in thousand barrels per day and through February 2016 unless otherwise noted.

World C+C

They have world C+C peaking, so far, in November 2015 at 80,630,000 bpd. February production was 79,653,000 bpd, or 977,000 bpd below the peak. World C+C production, they say, averaged 80,035,000 in 2015. Average for the first two months of 2016 was 79,933.000 or 102,000 bpd below the average for 2015.

So with world production continuing to decline, there is little doubt that 2016 production will be well below 2015 production.

Non-OPEC

They have Non-OPEC peaking in March 2015 at 46,504,000 bpd and down by 925,000 bpd in February to 45,579,000 bpd.

OPEC C+C

They also publish OPEC members data, Table 11.1a. OPEC C+C failed to breach its 2012 peak but did reach 34,562,000 bpd in July 2015 but by February 2016 it was down 488,000 bpd to 34,074,000 bpd.

Canada

This is the EIA’s version of Canadian production. It looks exactly like Canada’s National Energy Board data except the EIA’s data is about 150,000 bpd less than Canada’s NEB shows. Obviously Canada is counting something that the EIA is not. Look for Canada’s production to decline substantially in 2016. And those May wildfires will not help at all.

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

The Mystery Of Saudi Treasury Holdings Solved: US Reveals Saudi Holdings For The First Time

The Mystery Of Saudi Treasury Holdings Solved: US Reveals Saudi Holdings For The First Time

In the aftermath of Saudi Arabia’s explicit threat to sell off US Treasurys (of which according to the NYT it had some $750 billion) should the US pursue legislation that could hold it liable for the September 11 bombings, Wall Street’s analysts quickly tried to calculate whether Saudi Arabia had anywhere remotely close to that amount of US paper available for liquidation.

As a reminder, despite starting to release data on foreign ownership of Treasuries in 1974, the Treasury’s policy has been to not disclose Saudi holdings, and it has instead grouped them with those of 14 other mostly OPEC nations, including Kuwait, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.  The group held $281 billion as of February, down from a record of $298.4 billion in July. For more than a hundred other countries, from China to the Vatican, the Treasury provides a detailed monthly breakdown of how much U.S. debt each owns.

A few days after the NYT’s disturbing article on Saudi Treasury liquidation, in hopes of bringing some clarity to this all too important topic, we penned an article titled “Does Saudi Arabia Have $750 Billion In Assets To Sell?” we cited Stone McCarthy which analyzed oil exporter reserve holdings and observed that “at the end of January, Asian oil exporters held $563.6 billion of U.S. securities, with Treasuries and U.S. equities accounting for 92.2% of the total. Treasury holdings totaled $268.2 billion.”

SMRA speculated further, adding that “these figures reflect holdings that Treasury can directly attribute to the Asian oil exporting countries. Regular readers of our updates on the TIC data know that foreign investors often hold securities at custodial institutions in other countries. For example, in February, the five major custodial centers held $1.1 trillion of Treasury securities.

 

 

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

“China Is Hoarding Crude At The Fastest Pace On Record”

“China Is Hoarding Crude At The Fastest Pace On Record”

In the aftermath of China’s gargantuan, record new loan injection in Q1, which saw a whopping $1 trillion in new bank and shadow loans created in the first three months of the year, many were wondering where much of this newly created cash was ending up.

We now know where most of it went: soaring imports of crude oil.

We know this because as the chart below shows, Chinese crude imports via Qingdao port in Shandong province surged to record 9.86 million metric tons last month based on data from General Administration of Customs.

As Energy Aspects pointed out in a report last week, “Imports through Qingdao surged to another record as teapot utilization picked up, leading to rising congestion at the Shandong ports.”

And sure enough, this kind of record surge in imports should promptly lead to another tanker “parking lot” by China’s most important port. This is precisely what happened when according to reports, some 21 crude oil tankers with ~33.6 million bbls of capacity signaled from around Qingdao last Monday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 12 of those vessels, with about 18 million bbls, were also there 10 days earlier, data show.

As Bloomberg adds, port management had met to discuss measures to ease congestion, citing an official at Qingdao port’s general office, however for now it appears to not be doing a great job. Incidentally, putting Qingdao oil traffic in context, last year the port handled 69.9 million metric tons overseas oil shipments, or ~21% of nation’s total crude imports, more than any other Chinese port.

So what caused this surge in demand? The answer is China’s “teapot” refineries.

According to Oilchem.net, the operating rate at small refineries in eastern Shandong province rose to 51.84% of capacity as of the week ended Apr. 22. The utilization rates climbed as various teapot refiners completed maintenance and restarted production.

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

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