U.S. rig count up in 19th straight weekly increase

Drillers dispatched another seven oil and gas rigs to U.S. fields over the past week, Baker Hughes said Friday, marking the rig count’s 19th consecutive weekly increase. That increase brought the nation’s active rig count up to 908, up from a record low of 404 this time last year. Five of the rigs added this …

Fire at Anadarko oil tank site kills worker, injures three others

A fire at an oil tank battery owned by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. killed one worker and injured three others in Colorado on Thursday afternoon, authorities and the company confirmed. Contracted workers were doing maintenance work at an oil tank facility near Mead, Colorado, when an oil tank battery ignited, the Woodlands-based Anadarko said. Local authorities …

Saudi Arabia’s Motiva plans for billions in Texas growth

Saudi Arabia’s Motiva Enterprises said it plans to spend billions of dollars more to expand its Port Arthur Refinery — already North America’s largest — and grow more in the petrochemical and refining sectors. Motiva, which finalized its divorce from Royal Dutch Shell in the beginning of May, said it plans to spend close to …

Market Currents: OPEC – The Hangover

No sooner had the dust settled after the conclusion of the latest OPEC meeting (with oil traders selling the market like hot cakes), we got Saudi oil minister Khalid Al-Falih saying that exports to the US were dropping measurably. While this has caused a good degree of excitement in the market, we here at the good …

Petrobras, Shell fire up pre-salt oil field off Brazil

A first-of-its-kind vessel owned by Petrobras and Shell has begun pumping oil off Brazil in one of the world’s most lucrative deep-water basins. Shell said Friday the companies fired up their first cloned offshore vessel assembled with standard parts and equipment in the pre-salt Santos Basin, a prolific region where some wells produce three times …

Kinder Morgan moving forward with Trans Mountain through IPO

Houston’s Kinder Morgan said it plans to start construction in September on its massive Trans Mountain pipeline project in Canada. The plans though are contingent on Kinder Morgan successfully taking its Canadian public business public next week through an initial public offering to help fund the nearly $5.5 billion pipeline expansion. The project will funnel …

Oil prices tank as OPEC deal on output cuts disappoints traders

Oil prices tanked early Thursday after OPEC reached an agreement to cap oil production for another nine months at the same level that couldn’t fix the oversupplied oil market this year. The U.S. oil benchmark fell as much as 5.1 percent from $51.36 to $48.75 on Thursday, underscoring how much speculators had driven up the …

Market Currents: Extension reflects OPEC’s shortcomings

As OPEC’s latest meeting concludes in Vienna, just a glimpse at the charts below helps explain why the cartel’s production cut deal has been extended for another nine months: it hasn’t worked so far. For all the talk of near-perfect compliance from OPEC, we have consistently highlighted how the cartel has kept global markets well-supplied, …

BP boosts benefits, includes transgender surgery

In the fight to land and keep top-notch employees, BP has a new weapon: A litany of specialized benefits. The British oil giant has long had a spate of high-class benefits, including a health center, child care service and two fitness centers on its Energy Corridor campus. But now it’s added some new — and …

OPEC poised to extend production cuts

OPEC and its allies were poised to extend their production cuts for an additional nine months after last year’s agreement failed to clear a global supply glut or deliver a sustainable price recovery. Nine months with the same level of production “is a very safe and almost certain option to do the trick,” Saudi Arabian …

Crestwood Equity, First Reserve announce joint venture on new West Texas pipeline

A joint venture between a Houston pipeline company and an investment banking firm will finance a $170 million pipeline project that will bring natural gas from New Mexico to Texas, the companies announced on Wednesday. Crestwood Equity Partners, the pipeline operator, and First Reserve, an energy investment firm, will build a cryogenic gas processing plant …

The nation’s crude oil glut continues to shrink

The nation’s supply of commercial crude took a big dip of 4.4 million barrels last week, continuing to slowly shrink North America’s glut of oil. The move continues the trend in recent weeks of slowly decreasing inventory levels, helping to allay fears of rising U.S. oil production coming too quickly and leading to another global …

Are OPEC production cuts a done deal?

A powerful consortium of oil producers that includes Saudi Arabia and Russia will try to goose lackluster oil prices this week with promises to extend previous output cuts for several months and perhaps into next year. At a semiannual gathering in Vienna on Thursday, Saudi-led OPEC and other oil-producing nations are expected to strike a …

Solar industry drives renewable energy job growth worldwide

Renewable energy employs nearly 10 million people worldwide, nearly double the employment numbers in 2012, when the International Renewable Energy Agency did its first jobs survey. The number of jobs in the solar and wind industries have particularly driven the international spike in renewable energy work — in the last four years, jobs in those …

More efficient cars means less gasoline use in U.S. soon

U.S. gasoline consumption will fall over the next three decades, despite record travel, as fuel efficiency improves in American cars. Americans are driving more vehicles, the U.S. Energy Department said in a recent report, but improvements in fuel economy will more than offset the increase in miles. U.S. light-duty vehicles — cars, trucks, SUVs and …

Market Currents: Limbering up for OPEC

Last week we discussed how some OPEC producers are exhibiting compliance via lower exports, while others are not. Our export data affirms what others are saying about Iraq: that OPEC’s second largest producer has not been playing ball. Exports out of the south of the country continue to hold up, above 3 million barrels per …

Gov. Abbott signs bill reauthorizing the Railroad Commission

The Railroad Commission of Texas, the state’s oil and gas regulator, has been reauthorized to operate for another 12 years, after a years long battle with legislators over how to reform the agency. On Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1818, part of a state initiative to review and reauthorize agencies every 12 years. …

EOG Resources gets $400 million from private equity group

EOG Resources will get a $400 million cash infusion from private equity group Carlyle to develop oil and gas assets in Oklahoma over the next four years. The Houston oil producer’s joint venture with one of Carlyle’s energy investment arms comes as private equity firms pour billions into a resurgent U.S. oil industry, looking to …

Iraq backs output cuts into 2018, putting OPEC near agreement

OPEC and its allies were poised to continue their production cuts for another nine months after Iraq backed an extension, removing one of the last remaining obstacles to an agreement. The proposal is the latest attempt by oil producers from Saudi Arabia to Russia to prop up prices and revive their economies. The talks are …

Rig contractor to pay up to $100M for big data tech firm

Helmerich & Payne, the largest U.S. rig contractor, is set to buy a small Dallas firm touting technology that can guide drill bits to oil-soaked rock with cognitive computing. The Oklahoma drilling contractor will pay $75 million to purchase Motive Drilling Technologies, but that price tag could include additional payouts of up to $25 million …

Two small spills from Dakota Access pipeline reported

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The Dakota Access pipeline system leaked more than 100 gallons of oil in North Dakota in two separate incidents in March — the second and third known leaks discovered as crews prepared the disputed $3.8 billion pipeline for operation. Two barrels, or 84 gallons (320 liters), spilled due to a leaky …

Exxon Mobil completes massive plastics expansion near Houston

Exxon Mobil said Monday it has completed a large plastics plant expansion in Mont Belvieu as part of a massive, multibillion-dollar petrochemical growth effort in the Houston area. Exxon Mobil said it finished mechanical construction of two plastics facilities at its existing plant that will add 1.3 million metric tons of annual capacity to manufacture …

Texas Southern participates in national solar energy competition

  Texas Southern University and a consortium of 13 other eastern and southern universities are competing for a U.S. Department of Energy grant that will help fund solar power projects for low income households. The Department of Energy has set aside $5 million for the competition, although Texas Southern and the group of universities will …

BP begins pumping oil from UK North Sea field

BP has begun pumping oil from a redeveloped field in the United Kingdom’s North Sea, firing up its third major project this year, the company said Monday. The British oil company’s North Sea project, dubbed Quad 204 west of the Scottish Shetland isles, will produce 130,000 barrels of oil a day at its height this …

Average gasoline price in Houston slips again

Average gasoline prices in the Houston area fell 2 cents a gallon over the last week, the website GasBuddy reported. Prices slipped to an average of $2.17 a gallon on Sunday, down 11 cents from a month ago, but up 15 cents from the same day a year earlier, said GasBuddy, which tracks gasoline prices …

Huntsman and Clariant could combine in merger of equals

The Woodlands’ Huntsman Corp. is close to combining with Swiss company Clariant in a so-called merger of equals to create one of the world’s largest specialty chemicals companies, according news reports. The Wall Street Journal first reported Sunday the two companies could combine in a $14 billion, all-stock deal to create HuntsmanClariant. Huntsman Chief Executive Peter …

U.S. rig count surges to more than 900

Despite chaotic turns in the oil market in recent weeks, the U.S. oil industry comeback shows no sign yet of slowing down. The number of rigs drilling for oil and gas across the nation climbed by 16 in the past week, marking the 18th consecutive weekly increase, Baker Hughes said Friday. The oil field service …

The complexity of OPEC compliance

One of the biggest conundrums of the OPEC / NOPEC production cut from a ClipperData perspective is that no sooner does a producer appear to be showing compliance via lower exports, lo and behold, volumes rebound. Some producers have been fairly consistent in their discipline, barring a few blips (bravo, Saudi), while others stand on …

Texas oil jobs climbing amid drilling surge

Texas oil companies expanded payrolls for the third month in a row in March amid a surge in drilling activity, the Dallas Fed says. The number of oil and gas jobs in the state rose by 3,500 to 211,700 in March, with the biggest gains coming from the oil field services sector, according to a …

Houston’s Keane Group to boost frac power with $285M deal

Houston oil field services firm Keane Group is boosting its hydraulic fracturing power, buying Denver fracking company RockPile Energy Services for about $285 million in cash and stock. RockPile owns eight wireline trucks, 12 workover rigs, 10 cement units and 245,000 horsepower in frac pumps. Its equipment is 100 percent deployed, in North Dakota’s Bakken …

OPEC revenues fall to lowest level in a decade

Revenues at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries fell to $433 billion in 2016, their lowest level since 2004, according to a report Friday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That represented a 15 percent from the previous year’s net revenues, the result of sustained lows in oil and gas prices and OPEC’s decision to …

Vistra approaches Dynegy about takeover: report

Vistra Energy, a Dallas power generator and retail electricity company, is considering a bid to takeover the Houston merchant power company Dynegy, according to news reports. The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that Vistra has approached Dynegy about a takeover that could create the nation’s largest independent power producer. The companies are in …

Phil Asherman steps down as CB&I chief, to be replaced by Patrick Mullen

Philip Asherman, chief executive of energy engineering and construction company CB&I, is retiring July 1, to be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Patrick Mullen, the company said on Thursday. Asherman, 66, led The Woodlands company for 12 years, and is credited with transforming it from a specialty tank subcontractor to a global technology and construction …

Traffic in Houston Ship Channel keeps rising

Total traffic in the Houston Ship Channel rose slightly last year, according to data recently released by the port. Deep water arrivals — such as the large tankers piloted up the channel — fell by about 100 ships or 1 percent to 8,300 over 2015. At the same time, barge and tow traffic, which is …

Storage company Vopak fined for chemical emissions

Vopak Logistics Services USA, part of the Dutch chemical storage company Royal Vopak, has been fined $2.5 million for violations of the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Wednesday. The EPA claims the company failed to manage equipment caused excess emissions chemicals — including acetone and benzene — in a wastewater treatment …

Exxon Mobil plans to open gas stations in Mexico

Exxon Mobil said it will open a string of retail gas stations in Mexico later this year under the Mobil brand name. The nation’s largest energy company said it intends to capitalize off of Mexico opening its energy markets and undoing the decades-long monopoly held by state-owned oil giant Pemex. Mexico’s first non-Pemex gas station …

Halliburton names new CEO taking over June 1

Energy services giant Halliburton will have a new chief executive on June 1 when President Jeff Miller steps into the CEO role. Halliburton announced the transition late Wednesday, confirming that longtime CEO Dave Lesar will step away from the day-to-day leadership role, but still serve as the executive chairman of the board through the end …

Vistra Energy buys large West Texas solar farm

Dallas-based Vistra Energy announced Wednesday that it has purchased one of the largest utility-scale solar farms in Texas, known as Upton County Solar 2. The project, which is expected to start generating energy next summer, will have the capacity to generate 180 megawatts of power, the most of any solar farm in Texas, Vistra said …

Shell sets company-wide standard of 16-week paid maternity leave

Royal Dutch Shell said Wednesday that it will offer a minimum 16-week paid to maternity leave to employees working for the company around the world. The policy will go into effect Jan. 1. The policy will particularly boost benefits for employees in 45 countries where there are only limited paid or unpaid maternity leave benefits, …

Under Trump, U.S. less attractive for renewable energy investment

The Trump administration’s plans to dismantle the Clean Power Plan and its waffling on the Paris climate accords could push renewable energy investors away from the United States, according to a report released this week from the London-based accounting firm Ernst and Young. Every year, the firm ranks countries on its Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, …

Oil and fuel inventories continue to fall, generating more bullish sentiment

More bullish news for oil producers came out Wednesday with data indicating the nation’s large stockpiles of crude oil and refined fuels are continuing to fall. U.S. commercial crude inventories dipped by 1.8 million barrels from last week, while gasoline storage supplies declined by 400,000 barrels. Likewise, the stockpiles of distillate fuel oils used to make …

Drilling applications backing up at BLM

President Donald Trumps’ pledge to open up oil and gas drilling on federal lands has hit a bureaucratic log jam. More than 3,000 applications for drilling permits are  awaiting review at the Bureau of Land Management, according to a report by E&E News, a trade publication. Acting Director Mike Nedd told E&E the bureau is …

Anadarko to disconnect Colorado gas lines after home blast

Anadarko Petroleum Corp. says it will permanently disconnect the 1-inch lines running underground from its vertical wells in northeastern Colorado, a response to the fatal home blast near one of its old wells there. Natural gas flows through these low-pressure lines to power oil field equipment that separates the oil a company produces from the …

Saudi Aramco to sign deals with Houston oilfield services companies

Saudi Aramco plans to sign agreements with at least 10 companies including General Electric Co. and oil field-service businesses Schlumberger Ltd. and  Halliburton Co. when President Donald Trump visits Saudi Arabia, according to two people familiar with the matter. The world’s biggest crude oil exporter plans to sign accords also with  Baker Hughes Inc., KBR …

GulfMark Offshore plans bankruptcy filing

Houston-based GulfMark Offshore, which runs support vessels for offshore drilling, said Tuesday that it plans to to file for bankruptcy after reaching a agreement with bond holders to convert debt to equity. The reorganization, which was first reported in the Houston Business Journal, would help the company shed $430 million in debt. Shareholders will have .75 …

Market Currents: Russian crude flows to U.S. continue

Talk of rebalancing from the IEA and OPEC / NOPEC assurances of an extended production cut have not been enough to encourage the market higher. Even though global crude flows are showing new trends, the key takeaway is that the market appears well-supplied – at least for now. With that in mind, hark, here are …

Conoco investors reject exec pay in advisory vote

Investors rejected a compensation plan for ConocoPhillips’ top executives in an advisory vote on Monday, signaling disapproval in the company’s pay levels last year. Sixty-eight percent of the Houston oil company’s shareholders voted against or abstained in the so-called say-on-pay vote over its 2016 compensation, according to preliminary tallies. Last year, 83 percent of the …

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