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Big Oil Is In Desperate Need Of New Discoveries

Big Oil Is In Desperate Need Of New Discoveries

The year 2020 was a watershed moment for the fossil fuel sector. Faced with a global pandemic, severe demand shocks and a shift towards renewable energy, experts warned that nearly $900 billion worth of reserves–or about one-third of the value of big oil and gas companies–were at risk of becoming worthless.

Even Big Oil mostly appeared resigned to its fate, with Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) CEO Ben van Beurden declaring that we had already hit peak oil demand while BP Plc. (NYSE:BP)—a company that doubled down on its aggressive drilling right after the historic 2015 UN Climate Change Agreement--finally gave in saying “..concerns about carbon emissions and climate change mean that it is increasingly unlikely that the world’s reserves of oil will ever be exhausted.” BP went on to announce one of the largest asset writedowns of any oil major after slashing up to $17.5 billion off the value of its assets and conceded that it “expects the pandemic to hasten the shift away from fossil fuels.”

Yet, an ironic twist of fate might mean that rather than huge oil and gas reserves remaining buried deep in the ground, the world could very well run out those commodities in our lifetimes.

Norway-based energy consultancy Rystad Energy has warned that Big Oil could see its proven reserves run out in less than 15 years, thanks to produced volumes not being fully replaced with new discoveries.

According to Rystad, proven oil and gas reserves by the so-called Big Oil companies, namely ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), BP Plc., Shell, Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Total ( NYSE:TOT), and Eni S.p.A are falling, as produced volumes are not being fully replaced with new discoveries.

Source: Oil and Gas Journal

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

The Ugly Truth About Renewable Power

The Ugly Truth About Renewable Power

When Texas literally froze this February, some blamed the blackouts that left millions of Texans in the dark on the wind turbines. Others blamed them on the gas-fired power plants.

The truth isn’t so politically simple. In truth, both wind turbines and gas plants froze because of the abnormal weather.

And when Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway said it had plans for additional generation capacity in Texas, it wasn’t talking about wind turbines. It was talking about more gas-fired power plants—ten more gigawatts of them.

While the Texas Freeze hogged headlines in the United States, across the Atlantic, the only European country producing any electricity from solar farms was teeny tiny Slovenia. And that’s not because Europe doesn’t have any solar capacity—on the contrary, it has a substantial amount. But Europe had a brutal winter with lots of snow and clouds. Despite the often-referenced fact that solar panels operate better in cooler weather, sub-zero temperatures are far more drastic than cool. This is not even to mention the cloud cover that, based on the Electricity Map data above, did not help.

If we go back a few more months, there were the California rolling blackouts of August that state officials and others insisted had nothing to do with the state’s substantial reliance on solar and wind power. The state’s own utilities commission disagrees.

This is what the California Public Utilities Commission and the state’s grid operator, CAISO, said in a joint letter to Governor Newsom following the blackouts:

“On August 15, the CAISO experienced similar [to August 14] supply conditions, as well as significant swings in wind resource output when evening demand was increasing. Wind resources first quickly increased output during the 4:00 pm hour (approximately 1,000 MW), then decreased rapidly the next hour…

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

U.S. Oil Bankruptcies Shoot Up In Q1 2021

U.S. Oil Bankruptcies Shoot Up In Q1 2021

The number of North American producers that filed for bankruptcy protection in the first quarter of 2021 reached the highest number for a first quarter since 2016, yet the wave of bankruptcies has significantly slowed since the peaks in the second and third quarter of 2020, law firm Haynes and Boone said in its latest tally to March 31.

The Oil Patch Bankruptcy Monitor showed that eight producers filed for bankruptcy this past quarter, which was the highest Q1 total since 2016 when 17 oil producers in North America sought protection from creditors.

Texas accounted for 50 percent of the total producer filings in the first quarter of 2021, with four in total, Haynes and Boone said.

The law firm noted that there were no producers with billion-dollar bankruptcies in Q2 2021, which had not happened since the third quarter of 2018.

The total debt for producers that filed in the first quarter was just over $1.8 billion—the second-lowest total for a Q1 after $1.6 billion in Q1 2019, according to Haynes and Boone.

Even though the number of first-quarter 2021 bankruptcies was the highest for a Q1 since 2016, it showed the trend of slowing filings after 18 oil and gas producers filed in the second quarter of 2020 and another 17 in the third quarter, the two quarters in which the oil price crash and the crisis were most severely felt by indebted producers.

Apart from eight producers, the first quarter of 2021 also claimed five oilfield services companies that filed for bankruptcy, Haynes and Boone data showed. This number is the third-lowest Q1 total since 2015, and much lower than 27 filings in Q3 2020 and another 17 filings from oilfield services companies in Q4 2020.

The aggregate debt for oilfield services companies that filed in Q1 2021 was over $7.2 billion—the third-highest Q1 total since 2015, but one company, Seadrill Limited, accounted for 99.8 percent of the aggregate debt for the quarter, Haynes and Boone said.

Shell To Exhaust Dwindling Oil & Gas Reserves By 2040

Shell To Exhaust Dwindling Oil & Gas Reserves By 2040

Shell expects to have produced 75 percent of its current proved oil and gas reserves by 2030, and only around 3 percent after 2040, the supermajor said in its Energy Transition Strategy that it will put to a non-binding shareholder vote next month.

Discussing the risk of stranded assets in the energy transition, Shell said that every year it tests its oil and gas portfolio under different scenarios, including prolonged low oil prices, and cross-references assets with break-even prices to assess if they would still be viable in case of low oil and gas prices.

At December 31, 2020, Shell estimated that around 70 percent of its proved plus probable oil and gas reserves, known as 2P, will be produced by 2030, and only 5 percent after 2040.

Shell’s proved oil and gas reserves have been declining in recent years, shrinking the reserves life to below eight years of production.

In 2020, Shell’s proved reserves—taking production into account—decreased by 1.972 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) to 9.124 billion boe at December 31, 2020, the firm’s annual report showed.

That’s reserves for just seven years of production, lower than most peers.

The declining reserves life is not unique for Shell. The largest international oil companies have seen their average crude reserves drop by 25 percent over the past five years, which could be a challenge for Big Oil’s production and earnings in the coming years, Citi said earlier this month.

The supermajors reported lower reserves in their most recent reports, also due to the 2020 oil price and oil demand collapse, which forced all of them to write off billions of U.S. dollars off the value of assets.

In Shell’s case, the declining reserves life is not in contradiction to its assessment from earlier this year that its oil production peaked in 2019 and is set for a continual decline over the next three decades.

The Iran-China Axis Is A Fast Growing Force In Oil Markets

The Iran-China Axis Is A Fast Growing Force In Oil Markets

One of the things that doesn’t get a lot of discussion in the press is the under-the-table relationship Iran and China have had when it comes to oil. At first glance, they wouldn’t seem to have a lot in common. One is a theocracy with a radical view of non-believers and the other is probably the only example of a successful communist dictatorship since this form of government was created. But, if you look a little deeper they have a couple of things that align their mutual interests strongly. The first is they are both absolute dictatorships, meaning the institutions of government and national policies can be changed at the whim of those at the top. The second thing they have in common, and this is the main takeaway, both countries have serious geopolitical issues with the United States.

Iran suffers from years of sanctions imposed primarily by the U.S. to compel them to comply with U.N. resolutions regarding their atomic program. China views this century as the one in which they displace America as the world’s dominant Super Power. The place where these two authoritarian government’s worldviews align is in their opposition to the U.S.

It’s worth noting China’s apparent success has been funded by western economies over the last 75-years, thanks to our desire to buy everything as cheaply as possible. In that time, China has become the manufacturing center for the world and amassed immense wealth in doing so. The pandemic has caused a rethinking of the wisdom of outsourcing strategic commodities to despotic regimes, but for now, if you buy something other than food odds are it was made in China.

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

OPEC+ Will Keep A Lid On Oil Production

OPEC+ Will Keep A Lid On Oil Production

OPEC+ will likely decide to keep oil production essentially steady for another month, according to four Reuters sources.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have both spoke out in favor of the need to tread lightly when it comes to how much oil is put into the market. And this week is perhaps proof positive that the group would be wise to heed.

On Tuesday this week, the price of Brent crude plunged to $60.86 per barrel from $69.63 per barrel on March 11. By Wednesday, the price had rebounded to nearly $64 per barrel—up more than 5% on the day.

The dramatic price fluctuations are attributable to a variety of events, including U.S. oil inventory figures, another round of lockdowns in the EU, AstraZeneca vaccine safety and efficacy concerns, and a vessel stuck in the Suez canal causing a traffic jam of oil tankers.

No matter the reason for the price swings, the data suggests that the market is still sensitive to stimuli—bullish or bearish, and nothing but a sustained increase in demand is likely to cure that.

Even if OPEC holds production steady for April—or allows a couple of eager producers to ramp up just slightly—there remain a couple of wildcards that threaten OPEC’s ability to keep supplies tight: Libya and Iran.

Libya, complete with its unified government and exempt from OPEC’s production cut agreement, has plans—and now perhaps the ability—to increase its oil production. Libya’s ambitions are to lift its oil production to 1.45 million bpd by the end of the year from 1.3 million bpd now.

Iran and Venezuela are also exempt from the production cuts. Iran’s oil exports have been on the rise, and Venezuela’s production has been rising, even if only slightly.

Julianne Geiger, Oilprice.com, opec+, oil production

How Will We Pay for the Energy Transition?

How Will We Pay for the Energy Transition?

Earlier this month, the International Renewable Energy Agency said the world needed to invest $131 trillion by 2050 in order to limit the estimated global rise in average temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius. That’s 30 percent more than what is currently planned. It’s also equal to investments of $4.4 trillion every year from now until 2050. How realistic are these spending goals?

Well, it appears that the realism of IRENA’s estimates depends on how you look at the energy transition: as simply an increase in renewable energy generating capacity and a consequent increase in the share of electricity in national energy mixes. While not exactly wrong, this widely shared perspective fails to account for the sheer scale of the change we are in the process of undertaking.

James Bradford, chief executive of asset manager Vivid Capital management, compared the energy transition to the Industrial Age in terms of significance—an era that will present substantial challenges and numerous opportunities.

“There will be some spectacular growth industries developed along the way,” Bradford told Oilprice. “Installed solar capacity for example is expected to grow from less than 1TW today to nearly 10TW by 2050. That’s 10x growth, which is enormous growth, for any industry.”

And solar is just one example. When you add all the other renewable forms of energy such as wind or biomass, or hydro, and the ambitious plans many governments have about hydrogen, the scale of the transition—and the fitting size of the investment needed to implement it—becomes more obvious.

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

irina slav, oilprice.com, renewable energy, energy transition, fossil fuels, irea, international renewable energy agency

Texas Freeze Creates Global Plastics Shortage

Texas Freeze Creates Global Plastics Shortage

First, it was a demand slump across pretty much every manufacturing industry because of the pandemic. Then a surge in demand for electronics caused a shortage of microchips, which hit the automotive industry particularly hard. Now, the Texas Freeze has caused a global shortage of plastics. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the cold spell that shut down oil fields and refineries in Texas is still affecting operations, with several petrochemical plants on the Gulf Coast remaining closed a month after the end of the crisis. This creates a shortage of essential raw materials for a range of industries, from car making to medical consumables and even house building.

The WSJ report mentions carmakers Honda and Toyota as two companies that would need to start cutting output because of the plastics shortage, which came on top of an already pressing shortage of microchips. Ford, meanwhile, is cutting shifts because of the chip shortage and building some models only partially. GM, on the other hand, has started building some pickup trucks without a fuel management module because of the shortages, which will affect the fuel economy performance of these cars.

Yet, the automaking industry is just one victim of the abnormal circumstances on the planet and the Gulf Coast. Another is the construction industry. The WSJ reports, citing industry insiders, that following the petrochemical shutdowns, builders are bracing for shortages of everything from siding to insulation.

More than 60 percent of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) production capacity in the United States is still out of operation a month after the Texas Freeze, Bloomberg reported earlier this month….

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

 

Oil Flirts With $70 After The OPEC+ Surprise

Oil Flirts With $70 After The OPEC+ Surprise

Brent is now flirting with the $70 mark after OPEC+ shocked markets once again by refusing to bring more oil production online.

In this week’s Global Energy Alert, our trading team delves into how an inflationary environment will impact oil stocks. Sign up today to get breaking news, expert analysis, and trading tips.

Friday, March 5th, 2021

Oil skyrocketed on Thursday after OPEC+ decided to hold off on easing production cuts for another month, surprising the oil market. WTI and Brent shot up more than 4%. During early trading on Friday, Brent surpassed $69 per barrel,

OPEC+ extends cuts, surprising market. OPEC+ extended the cuts through April, aside from a slight increase allowed for Russia and Kazakhstan, due to seasonal consumption patterns. Even Saudi Arabia decided to keep its 1 mb/d of voluntary cuts in place. The surprise news led to a price surge. “One of the reasons the market is continuing to react positively today could be that OPEC’s own balances suggest very steep draws,” Rystad Energy said in a statement.

Oil majors expect record cash flow. Big Oil is looking at 2021 with increased optimism, mostly because oil prices have rallied in recent weeks. Moreover, the ultra-conservative capital spending plans and the huge cost cuts have allowed international oil companies (IOCs) to materially lower their cash flow breakevens. These factors are set to result in a record cash flow for the biggest oil firms this year if oil prices average $55 per barrel, Wood Mackenzie said in new research.

Oil majors going green? Speaking from the annual CERAWeek by IHS Markit energy conference, Big Oil chief executives from Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM)Chevron Corp.(NYSE:CVX)Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP)have all spoken about the industry’s transition to a lower-carbon world, with OXY even branding itself a ‘carbon management’ company that wants to set the industry standard for the production of net-zero carbon oil…

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

 

Bank Of America Expects Fastest Oil Price Rise In 30 Years

Bank Of America Expects Fastest Oil Price Rise In 30 Years

Oil prices are set to rise by the fastest rate since the 1970s over the next three years, Bank of America said in a new report, joining the growing group of analysts forecasting a return of oil to three-digit territory.

The average price of Brent over the next five years, however, will be between $50 and $70 per barrel, according to the bank, as quoted by The National.

The bank also said OPEC+ might decide to reverse its production cuts now that Brent is trending above $60, but added that a slow return of U.S. shale to international markets might lead to an extension of the production cut agreement to make sure prices stay higher.

“We believe that slower shale growth and oil price stability will likely require a continuation of Opec+’s market management beyond April 2022,” the bank’s analysts said.

OPEC+ is meeting next week to discuss the progress of its agreement in an environment of much tighter supply, and expectations are that some members may push for a production increase. The increase, however, will be moderate, at 500,000 bpd, according to reports.

The last Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee of OPEC+ met in the first week of February, and the meeting ended without many surprises. For the month of February, another 75,000 bpd was added to the quotas—65,000 bpd to Russia and 10,000 bpd to Kazakhstan. For the month of March, production quotas were eased again by the same amount, with the same distribution of the additions.

Russia is one of the extended cartel’s members that will likely call for a further increase in production. Moscow has a tradition of budgeting for pessimistic oil prices, which increases the benefits from each additional dollar benchmarks gain. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, might like to see much higher prices as its breakeven level, despite the lowest production costs in the world, remains quite high.

 

Who’s To Blame For The Texas Power Crisis?

Who’s To Blame For The Texas Power Crisis?

Our last report focused on the uniqueness of the Texas wholesale electricity market, ERCOT, and how it was specifically designed to evade federal utility regulation. And as if he were our paid spokesperson, former Texas governor Rick Perry stated publicly that Texans were happy to suffer blackouts and other hardships if it meant evading federal regulatory scrutiny. Whether the good (and shivering) citizens of the Lone Star State agree is another matter. But today, instead of dealing with politics, we’ll take a closer look at ERCOT as a state planning agency.

First the good news. One of the hardest parts of every planning agency’s job is correctly estimating future demand. This is doubly hard in a dynamic, fast growing economy like Texas. Consequently we were surprised at how good their planning estimate was for this winter’s electrical load of about 67,000 megawatts. Because of the blackouts we can’t precisely know what peak electrical demand in Texas would’ve been given the extreme winter demands from home heating and the like. But the shadow estimates published by ERCOT suggested about 72,000 megawatts of peak demand.

In total, ERCOT has the ability to supply electrical capacity of about 80,000 megawatts. This amount of available electric power generation should have been adequate to meet demand this week. Not by a wide margin but adequate. Barely. As an aside we should point out that ERCOT runs “light” in terms of electric system reserve capacity with reserves typically about 8%. This compares with other US grids where targeted reserve margins are about 15%. Lower reserve margins are cheaper but mean less back up for emergencies.

Our first tentative conclusion is that Texas would have withstood this recent snowstorm and polar vortex event in pretty good shape from a grid perspective IF thermal plants were available to meet skyrocketing demand.

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

Oil Major Total Sees 10 Million Bpd Supply Gap In 2025

Oil Major Total Sees 10 Million Bpd Supply Gap In 2025

France’s supermajor Total is warning that the world could find itself with a shortfall of supply of 10 million barrels per day (bpd) between now and 2025, due to continued underinvestment in the industry, the OPEC+ pact, and cracks in the U.S. shale business model.

“There is a risk of supply crunch in the mid-term,” Helle Kristoffersen, President, Strategy and Innovation at Total, said on the company’s Q4 earnings call this week.

“We have seen in 2020 how OPEC managed to bring back market discipline. We’ve seen the cracks in the US shale model, and we’ve seen a continued underinvestments in the oil industry as a whole,” Kristoffersen said.

The market needs new oil projects, considering the fact that many producing oilfields will see natural declines in production, the executive said.

“And that’s true, even if you take very cautious view on short-term demand recovery and on future demand levels,” Kristoffersen added, noting that “a 10 million barrels per day gap in supply between now and 2025, that’s a massive shortfall of supply to cover in just a very few number of years.”

Last year, the coronavirus accelerated a structural decline in upstream oil investments as all E&P firms, oil supermajors, U.S. shale producers, and national oil companies alike, slashed capital expenditures in the wake of the price crash.

Investments in new oil supply have now slumped to a more-than-a-decade low.

OPEC+ currently has a lot of spare capacity that could come on stream when demand recovers. But sustained investments in oil and gas will be needed to meet global consumption of oil, which the world will continue to need, peak demand or not, analysts and forecasters warn.

“The world may be sleepwalking into a supply crunch, albeit beyond 2021. A recovery in oil demand back to over 100 million b/d by late 2022 increases risk of a material supply gap later this decade, triggering an upward spike in price,” says Simon Flowers, Chairman and Chief Analyst at Wood Mackenzie.

 

Game-changing Iranian Pipeline Set To Launch In March

Game-changing Iranian Pipeline Set To Launch In March

The geopolitically game-changing Goreh-Jask pipeline project saw a major advance last week with the commencement last week of offshore pipe-laying operations. The implementation of this operation markets the first stage of the offshore development of the Jask Oil Terminal and, according to the Pars Oil and Gas Company, this offshore section of the early-production phase of the project will be completed with the construction of two 36-inch offshore pipelines running for around 12 kilometres and a single buoy mooring with ancillary equipment. Overall, the company added, the early-production phase of the Jask Oil Terminal Development Project is 70 per cent complete, allowing the project to come online by late March.

After the completion of this first phase of offshore pipeline laying, the Goreh-Jask pipeline will begin full pumping tests aimed at ascertaining its capacity to transfer 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) of light, heavy, and ultra-heavy crude oil through the 1,100 km-long, 46 inch diameter pipeline that runs from the Goreh oil terminal in the north-west Bushehr Province to Mobarak Mount in the western Jask region along the Sea of Oman. This will involve the construction and deployment of 83 42-inch valves relating to the gate, control and emergency shut-off functions in the pipeline project, six smaller pipelines, five pump houses, three stations for receiving and sending pipeline pigs, 10 power stations, 400 kilometres of transmission lines, three single point moorings, subsea pipelines, and a stilling basin.

The initial focus of the oil-transfer chain across the Goreh-Jask pipeline will be the huge oil fields cluster in the West Karoun region, which are the current focus of plans between Iran and China to boost short-term oil production as part of the two countries’ 25-year plan

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

The Real Crisis For Oil Is Yet To Come

The Real Crisis For Oil Is Yet To Come

Italian energy major, Eni, described 2020 as a “year of war”, regarding the energy crisis experienced in the face of a global pandemic. But it may be too soon to see the issues faced last year as a thing of the past.  Eni is committing to lower the price of oil at which the company breaks even going into 2021, as a means of tackling the uncertainty of the oil economy in the coming months. Francesco Gattei, CFO at Eni, stated that “Volatility is growing every year.”, highlighting the need to be prepared for the energy demand of the future.

In 2020, global fuel demand decreased by 30% on average. While demand appears to be steadily increasing as Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed, the worry is that this need may not increase to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon.

Oil giants BP Plc and Total SE published forecasts which hypothesized that oil demand was at its peak in 2019, and is therefore now in decline. This comes as the production of oil and liquid fuels at the global level peaked at 94.25 million bpd in 2020, down from 100.61 million bpd in 2019. According to the Energy Information Administration, this figure is expected to increase to just 97.42 million bpd in 2021.

2020 therefore proved the perfect time for environmentalists to campaign for a shift towards renewables; as oil demand and prices plummeted in April last year. As dozens of countries agreed to Paris Agreement objectives in December, with such promises as net-zero emissions over the next 30 years, many governments and investors have also put pressure on energy companies to develop renewable strategies.

The decrease in oil demand over the last year has already forced refineries in Asia and North America to close or curb output, particularly along the U.S. Gulf Coast as companies worry demand losses might never return.

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

 

Crude Oil Flow From Saudi Arabia To U.S. Falls To Zero

Crude Oil Flow From Saudi Arabia To U.S. Falls To Zero

For the first time in 35 years, no oil flowed from Saudi Arabia to the United States last week, according to EIA data, in a show that the United States—at least for now—isn’t as reliant on oil from the Middle East like it used to be.

In October, according to the EIA, the United States imported 8.544 million barrels. In June, that figure was more than 36 million, although that figure was a bit of an anomaly as Saudi Arabia threatened to flood the U.S. market with crude oil.

In much of the early 2000s, the United States imported more than 45 million barrels of Saudi crude oil on a monthly basis.

Source: EIA

On a weekly basis, that figure has now fallen to zero.

Source: EIA

And the U.S. imports of crude oil are not just falling from Saudi Arabia. Through October, the United States imported significantly less crude oil from the Persian Gulf region.

In the early 2000s, the United States was importing more than 3 million barrels of crude oil per day from the Persian Gulf region. In October 2020, the United States imported less than a half a million barrels per day—and that figure isn’t an anomaly, it’s a clear trend. The United States is relying less and less on foreign oil, and particularly less and less on oil from the Persian Gulf.

Source: EIA

The data comes just as Saudi Arabia announced a voluntary million-barrel-per-day cut to its oil production as the OPEC+ group sat down to the negotiating table to hatch a plan to react to the oil market and the lack of demand.

It also comes on the same day that Saudi Arabia announced a crude oil price increase for the United States for February by $0Mor.20 per barrel.

 

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