Open post

U.S. Oil Industry Has Bigger Problems than Biden Fracking Ban

The U.S. oil business has bigger potential problems than Joe Biden’s promised fracking ban. There is no doubt that the Biden/Harris promise to ban hydraulic fracturing on federal lands and waters would severely hamper the nation’s oil and gas business sector.

In addition to curtailing about 20% of U.S. oil production that comes from federal leases, such a move would cause capital flight away from oil projects in the U.S., regardless of land type since it would send a signal that government policy in a Biden administration would present a high degree of risk and uncertainty. This is an outcome an already capital-strapped industry can ill-afford.

But as impactful as that potential problem would be, U.S. oil and gas producers face an even larger looming headache this morning: Uncertainty about the continuation of the OPEC+ agreement, the deal among large oil producing countries to limit output and exports onto the global market. The existence of that agreement currently has its member nations withholding about 7.7 million barrels of crude per day from the market. It is the main reason why the current U.S. benchmark price for West Texas Intermediate, which currently hovers above $45 per barrel, hasn’t collapsed back down below the $20/bbl mark.

Read the Rest

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

Open post

Fracking Ban is Just One of Many Ways for Biden/Harris to Attack Oil and Gas

Assuming that the various challenges being filed by President Donald Trump this week to election results in several states fail and Democrat Joe Biden does become the next President of the United States, the potential impacts to the oil and gas industry in the U.S. would be numerous and severe. While only one significant oil and gas-related issue was raised to high prominence during the general election campaign – Biden’s promises to ban hydraulic fracturing at various times and levels – it is a mistake to assume that that would be the only way in which a Biden/Harris Administration would impact the industry.

The first tranche of impacts will come in the form of executive orders. Like the Obama/Biden presidency before him, a great deal of President Trump’s energy-related policy has been enacted via executive orders. The obvious vulnerability of any executive order is that it usually can be easily reversed by a successor in office. Thus, the most immediate impacts of a Biden presidency will come in the form of efforts to increase regulation on the energy industry via the reversal of various Trump executive actions. Biden and Harris repeatedly promised to take these actions throughout their campaign, so we should expect a quick follow through on what amounts to low-hanging fruit.

Those likely executive order reversals include:

·        Re-entry of the United States into the Paris Climate Accords

·        Re-entry of the United States into the Obama-era Iran deal, which would free up Iran to dramatically increase its exports and potentially impact crude prices;

·        Trump’s order to end the Council on Environmental Quality’s guidance that all federal permitting decisions and NEPA reviews must consider climate change impacts;

·        Trump’s order to disband the Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases;

·        Trump’s various orders designed to eliminate delays in federal permitting processes.

We can also expect a Biden presidency to follow through on his promises to ban hydraulic fracturing on federal lands and waters, which represent a very sizable percentage of overall U.S. oil and gas production. This can be accomplished by an order from either a President Biden or from his future Secretary of the Interior, although we should also expect Interior to follow up and attempt to frame it in the form of regulations in order to make it more of a permanent change.

It is also important to remember that Sen. Kamala Harris promised to eliminate hydraulic fracturing entirely in the U.S. repeatedly during her own presidential effort in 2019, and never really backed off of that promise during the general election campaign as Biden’s running mate. On the few occasions when she was asked about it, she was always very careful to say that “Joe Biden will not ban fracking,” and no more than that.

 

Read the Rest Here

 

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

Open post

America Is About To Have Its First Fracking Election

This has never happened before. The oil and gas business – the industry, its health and its impact on inflation and consumer prices – has always played some small role in presidential politics, at least since the oil shocks and embargoes of the 1970s. Most times in the past, the key issue surrounding oil and gas has related to the price of gasoline and what the candidates planned to do about it.

The issue of oil and gas has only arisen whenever gas prices were considered to be too high, never when consumers were benefitting from them being historically low, as they are today. Yet, suddenly this year, this key industry is playing a huge role in the 2020 presidential politics, and it is wholly unrelated to anything having to do with prices at the pump.

The issue in this election campaign is fracking, and whether or not it will remain legal should Democrat candidate Joe Biden become our next president. While this longstanding and well-regulated industrial process has hovered around the periphery of presidential politics since 2008, when the anti-development lobby decided to politicize it with a focused and highly-organized demonization campaign, it has suddenly become one of a handful of crucial issues that dominate the political landscape this year due to its job-creating and economic impacts in a single swing state: Pennsylvania.

How important is it? Early Monday morning, the Trump Campaign announced that President Donald Trump would be holding three separate campaign rallies that day. This is nothing unusual, given that the President has made a habit of holding multiple rallies each day during both of his presidential efforts. On Saturday alone he held rallies in the state of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.

What is unusual about Monday, though, is that all three of the Trump rallies will be held in Pennsylvania, which has become perhaps the single most crucial swing state in the 2020 election. Biden is also paying special attention to the Keystone State, holding events there on Friday and Saturday, and sending both ex-President Barack Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders there to campaign on his behalf over the weekend.

Pennsylvania was certainly a key swing state in 2016, but its importance was equaled by Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina as the race played out. This year, though, it has become increasingly difficult to see how either major candidate can prevail in the Electoral College without having Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes included in his total.

All of which explains why the issue of fracking and its continued legal deployment has become so elevated in the national discourse this year. Pennsylvania is, after all, the fulcrum for the development of the enormous Marcellus Shale/Utica Shale resource plays, the largest natural gas reserve in the Western Hemisphere.

 

Read the Rest Here

 

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

Open post

Gavin Newsom’s Unbridled Energy Hubris

Three big oil and gas-related stories this week were all interrelated with one another, though few really understand that to be the case. Those stories were:

 

 

For Governor Newsom, banning hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” as it has come to be called – in his state is a relatively simple matter in what has become, for all intents and purposes, a one-party state. All he has to do is convince his overwhelming majorities in both houses of California’s state assembly to pass a bill mandating that all fracking operations cease within the state’s borders by a date certain.

Such a move would of course eliminate thousands of oil and gas-related jobs in the state, but most of those are concentrated in Republican Kern County and the surrounding parts of the Central Valley, over which the assembly’s Democrats would have little concern. Besides, they can all just respond to Republican and industry complaints with the Obama-era pretense that all those lost jobs and more will be made up by the heavily-subsidized wind and solar industries. It will be akin to former President Obama telling West Virginia coal miners and Ohio steel workers that their jobs are never coming back and they should all go learn to code.

Replacing the state’s millions of gas and diesel autos with electric vehicles will be far more complicated. Newsom’s order gets that ball rolling by requiring the California Air Resources Board to implement the phaseout of new gas-powered cars and light trucks in the coming years, and also require medium and heavy-duty trucks to be zero-emission by 2045 where possible. Sounds simple, right?

But here’s the thing about all of that: The generation and provision of energy is basically a zero-sum game. When you ban one energy source, you must figure out a way to generate the same amount of energy by another source. You either do that or you accept the reality that energy will become scarce, and thus far more expensive so that consumers demand less of it, and write off the negative economic consequences that will inevitably result.

Read the Rest Here

 

 

 

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

Open post

Did BP Really Say That Global Oil Demand Has Peaked? No, Not Really.

During a panel discussion in which I participated recently with three energy experts, the moderator asked us if we agreed with the recent projection by British oil giant BP that oil demand may have already peaked during 2019. Everyone on the panel answered with a firm “no.”

From my own perspective, I gave that answer in large part because all of the dozens of previous “peak oil” predictions – whether from the supply side or the more recent demand side reasoning – have turned out to be entirely wrong, often in hilarious fashion. From an historical perspective, it just seems like the safer position to take.

That’s not to downplay the position assumed by BP, whose internal expertise is undeniable. But it’s key to note that much of the media coverage the company’s findings have received portrays BP’s position as being far more absolute than it really is. The company’s position on “peak oil” is in fact highly-qualified.

As a part of its recently-released Global Energy Outlook study, the company ran three scenarios based on differing assumptions regarding how rapidly governments around the world would attempt to move to adopt emissions-reducing policies and subsidize renewables. The cases were labeled “Rapid” (the most aggressive assumptions), “Net-Zero” (assuming most governments would adopt ‘net-zero by 2050’ policies) and “Business as Usual”, in which progression would continue on the slower path seen to date.

In a COVID-19 hampered world in which governments across the globe are teetering on the brink of insolvency, the “Business as Usual” scenario certainly appears to be most likely to persist for the time being, given the multi-trillion dollar costs involved in the other two cases. Under that scenario, BP in fact projects that global demand will not only recover to pre-COVID levels seen late last year, but continue to grow through the year 2030.

Read the Rest Here

 

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

Open post

Biden Tries Again to Clarify His Fracking Stance, and Fails Again

The Biden/Harris ticket has been the source of a great deal of confusion during this campaign related to the candidates’ stances on the subject of hydraulic fracturing. Senator Kamala Harris firmly stated several times in the past that she is absolutely in favor of banning fracking, but has been attempting to walk all of that back in recent weeks as the polls have tightened in oil and gas states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has been all over the place on this issue, promising repeatedly to ban fracking in whole or in part during the primary season, and more recently joining Harris’s efforts to modify that position in order to shore up his chances in those and other crucial swing states. Biden was asked the question again by an undecided voter during his CNN town hall appearance in Moosic, Pennsylvania this week, and again attempted to modify and clarify his position. Unfortunately, a reading of the transcript of that exchange doesn’t really clarify much at all.

Here is that transcript:

QUESTIONER: Good evening Mr. Vice President, Mr. Cooper. With the abundance of natural gas in northeast Pennsylvania. Do you support the continuation of fracking safely and with proper guidelines, of course, and growing the industry (garbled) additional jobs to our region?

BIDEN: Yes, I do. I do. In addition to that, we can provide for right now, as you know, for thousands of uncapped wells because a lot of companies gone out of business. Whether they’re gas or oil facilities, we can put to work right away 250,000 people from iron workers and other disciplines, making union wages. Capping those wells that are leaking methane and their danger to the community. And so, not only do I continue to support it.

Read the Rest Here

 

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

Open post

Chesapeake Energy Finally Succumbs With Chapter 11 Filing

One of the longest-running dramas in corporate oil and gas history finally came to a climax on Sunday when management for Chesapeake Energy announced it would seek Chapter 11 protection under the U.S. bankruptcy code. The company has traveled a long and winding road to reach this point.

Rumors about the company’s pending bankruptcy have run rampant over the past year as it teetered on the financial brink. But in reality, Chesapeake’s financial troubles go back much further, to the early years of this century, when founder and former CEO Aubrey McClendon famously made a bet on natural gas continuing to be a scarce resource in high demand whose price would remain strong for decades. Based on that market view, the company then went on a buying spree for the next several years, buying up natural gas assets and companies at very high prices. In one acquisition in which the company I worked for – Burlington Resources – was the second high bidder, Chesapeake’s winning bid was $3 per MMBTU equivalent higher. That’s a lot of excess capital deployment.

None of his assumptions about the future for natural gas turned out to be accurate, of course, but it must be pointed out that McClendon certainly was not alone in making them. For example, I personally played a leadership role in a 2003 National Petroleum Council study which attempted to project natural gas supply, demand and prices through the year 2025. The study was led by ExxonMobil and Anadarko Petroleum (acquired last year by Oxy), and included participants from many other industry companies, the Energy Department, the Department of Interior and environmental NGOs.

Most Popular In: Energy
  • Deloitte: COVID-19 Fallout Demands That U.S. Shale Completely Transform Its Operations

  • The Oil And Gas Situation: The E&P Sector Faces A Reckoning

  • BP’s Big Writedown: A Harbinger For A Declining Industry Or Of A Struggling Company?

The fundamental conclusions and projections of that study basically supported McClendon’s view of natural gas remaining a scarce resource with pretty high commodity prices as far as the statistical models we used could project. It was in fact the prevailing common wisdom in the industry at that time.

The NPC study projected that imports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) would in fact have to make up an increasingly high percentage of U.S. natural gas supply. That incredibly wrong projection led to the building of a series of LNG import facilities in the U.S. and helped compel ExxonMobil to invest billions in its own fleet of new LNG tankers to help supply America’s coming needs.

While other operators held similar views about the future for U.S. natural gas, Chesapeake was without doubt the most aggressive in terms of pursuing new reserves. In addition to arguably over-paying for acquisitions of other companies or their assets, Chesapeake became infamous for radically driving up lease bonus prices in every new shale play, in the process running up a prodigious level of corporate debt. At one point, Chesapeake’s corporate debt exceeded that held by ExxonMobil, a company many times its size.

As natural gas prices collapsed in the late ‘00s, McClendon next turned to sales of his own company’s assets or portions of working interests in big play areas as a means of continuing to finance and pay down that debt. He sold shares of the company’s working interests in the Barnett, the Eagle Ford, the Marcellus and the Haynesville to various other players, like BP and CNOOC, but every sale also meant less and less cash flow coming into the company itself. Many in the business during that time joked about it being a sort of a pyramid scheme in which the debts would ultimately end up outstripping the company’s income and ability to pay.

 

 

 

 

Read the Rest Here

 

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

Open post

$70 Oil by the end of the Year? It Could Happen.

What a difference three months makes. Three months ago today, Russia and Saudi Arabia had just embarked on a completely irrational effort to flood the global oil markets after Russia had basically blown up the OPEC+ supply limitation agreement when it balked at making an additional few hundred thousand barrels of oil per day (bopd) in cuts.

But on Saturday, those same two big producers cajoled the rest of the countries participating in OPEC+ to extend the deep, 9.7 million bopd May/June supply limits through the end of July. The cuts had been scheduled to scale back to a combined 7.7 million bopd on July 1. Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia has now reduced its daily production by 2.24 million bopd from its market-flooding level in April, while Russia – which could not stomach a reduction of about 200,000 bopd back on March 4, has cut its own daily production by more than 900,000 barrels.

It’s pretty amazing how single digit – and even momentary negative – crude prices will change an oil minister’s perspective on what constitutes an appropriate level of output.

The OPEC+ members also pledged to monitor and reassess appropriate supply levels on a monthly basis, beginning with their next meeting, which is scheduled for June 18.

Combined with dramatic reductions in crude output in the U.S. and Canada and a more-rapid-than-expected recovery in demand, the extension of the OPEC+ May/June quotas sets the stage for a more rapid re-balancing of the global markets. Bjornar Tonhaugen, Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets, said that “Today’s deal is a positive development and, unless a second Covid-19 wave hits the world, it will be the backbone of a quick recovery for the energy industry. That is due to the oil stocks decrease that we will see as a result of the production deficit. Stocks are now what keep prices at relatively low levels and the quicker they fall, the faster we will see prices rise.”

Read the Full Piece Here

Open post

Oil is not the Only U.S. Commodity in Trouble

Guest Piece by Nathan Kaspar

A good deal of this audience follows DBDailyUpdate for updates on the oil market. Much beyond Shale Oil, the broader commodity market is very sick. No, not with COVID-19, but from the ongoing lock-down of the national economy. President Trump took action yesterday to address meat packing plants staying open, but food production is much more complex than simply slaughtering animals and packaging the meat to go to the grocery store.

The Oil and Food industries were forever linked in 2005 with the passage of the Renewable Fuel Standards. This mandated certain blending levels of ethanol into our gasoline. While support of this is key if you are running for president and want to win the Iowa Caucus, turning half of the nation’s corn crop into fuel is dubious even if the government weren’t largely subsidizing it. Over the last 15 years though, the food markets have largely stabilized and reached “new normal” for how, how much, and what crops we farm to support the ethanol, human food, and animal feed industries.

The problem with this food and fuel link means that when there is a problem on the 90% side of the gasoline equation, the 10% side (Ethanol) is going to get cracked like a whip. Just like our nation’s oil producers are stuck with a surplus of oil with nowhere to put it, Ethanol producers also have no place to store additional production. As “stay at home” orders went from 2 weeks to months, Ethanol producers have had to change from slow-down, to shut-down, to extended furloughs. This is having a dramatic impact on food commodity prices, and it isn’t for the better.

Those prices can be found at the chart linked at the bottom of this piece.

The connection between ethanol and commodity prices is through distiller’s grains (both wet and dry). The byproduct of ethanol production is extremely high in protein and fat, and is sold in it’s wet form to feed lots or dried and sold to feed producers and dealers. These animals can’t simply eat whole corn in their diet as a substitute, so the result is that any commodity with protein in it is trading MUCH higher than last year.

The numbers for DDGS on the linked USDA chart are not valid. While there may be some long term flex contracts being fulfilled, most traders are simply listing (NQ) for DDGS. Most feed companies have been told that they can’t even think about taking delivery of DDGS until the 1st week in June at the earliest.

Some examples from the USDA chart of note:

Cottonseed Meal. $320/ton now vs $260 a year ago.

Bone meal is $335/ton vs $230 last year.

Corn Gluten Meal (byproduct from making corn syrup) is $582 vs $400 last year.

Wheat Mids, $140 vs $95 last year.

Corn prices, however, are terrible (trading at $102 vs $128 last year). This is only going to get worse as the ethanol shutdown continues. With half the nation’s corn crop going to ethanol every year, take 2 months out of that production and that’s 1/12th of the nation’s corn that is going to sit in a silo. Commodity prices are only starting to reflect it, and the cost of feeding animals is going to get much, much worse before the situation resolves itself.

This could very likely have long-term ripple effects through the harvest season in fall through November. Just in time for the election.

COVID-19 will likely be gone by the summer, but the shock-wave from the (largely unjustified IMHO) economic shutdown of the entire country is going to be felt for years.

If you have freezer space, put some steaks in it now. The people who are feeding the animals you hope to eat in 3 or 4 months are looking at the feed prices and trying to decide to sell off now, or allow their animals to be malnourished. Feed Lots with captive animals are having to pay exorbitant prices for their feed, and aren’t going to be able to pay ranchers enough at market to justify putting the cows on the trailer.

The time to completely re-open markets was 3 weeks ago. If you have the ear of a politician who supports the lock down, you might want to let them know how they are killing the food supply.

https://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/ms_gr852.txt

Nathan Kaspar

 

 

 

 

 

 

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

Posts navigation

1 2 3 4
Scroll to top
%d bloggers like this: