Nigeria Approves Petroleum Industry Bill After 17 Long Years

A 17-year-old effort by the Nigerian government to stimulate growth and transparency in the petroleum industry is taking a step forward in the country’s legislature, according to a new Reuters report. The lower house of the Nigerian parliament passed a version of the bill identical to one approved by the Senate in 2017. This marks the first time the same version of the bill has been passed by both houses. Now the president just needs to ink the Petroleum Industry Bill to make it a law. “The PIGB, as passed yesterday, is the same as…

The Biggest Oil Collapse In History

Venezuela’s oil production plunged to new lows in December, surprising even some of the most pessimistic forecasts. According OPEC’s secondary sources data — provided by independent groups — Venezuela’s oil production fell by another 82,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December, taking output down to 1.745 million barrels per day (mb/d). That is certainly a bad result, but not drastically different from the pace of declines from the months before. However, data that came directly from the Venezuelan government says that…

Peak Oil Demand Is A Slow-Motion Train Wreck

Will oil demand peak within five years? 15 years? Or not until 2040 or 2050? The precise date at which oil demand hits a high point and then enters into decline has been the subject of much debate, and a topic that has attracted a lot of interest just in the last few years. Consumption levels in some parts of the world have already begun to stagnate, and more and more automakers have begun to ratchet up their plans for electric vehicles. But the exact date the world will hit peak demand kind of misses the whole point, argues a new report, which…

This U.S. Lab Could Help Saudis Boost Crude Demand

While all eyes are on its upcoming IPO with investment banks scrambling for the role of coordinator, Saudi Aramco, it appears, is quietly investing in efficiency improvement technologies for internal combustion engines, the company’s Chief Technology Officer, Ahmad Al Khowaiter, told CNBC this week. Aramco doesn’t seem overly concerned about electric cars, perhaps with good reason. Despite all the optimistic forecasts about EV adoption amid a string of government plans to phase out all internal combustion engine vehicles in the coming…

Venezuelan Output Drops To 28-Year Low In 2017

Venezuelan oil output dropped 13 percent in 2017, falling to a 28-year low, official figures released by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said on Thursday. The Latin American country produced an average of 2.072 million barrels per day last year, compared to 2.373 million bpd in the year before, Reuters reports. The 300,000-bpd drop is the highest recorded amongst the OPEC nations, which agreed to collectively cut 1.2 million barrels per day of production. Unlike Saudi Arabia or its allied Gulf nations, Venezuela’s…

OPEC Oil Production Falls In December

The latest OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report is out with production numbers for December 2017. All data is in thousand barrels per day. (Click to enlarge) Total OPEC crude only production was up by 42,400 barrels per day in December. However, that was after November production was revised downward by 75,000 bpd. So, OPEC production was actually down 33,000 bpd from what was reported last month. (Click to enlarge) (Click to enlarge)I have posted OPEC production according to “secondary sources” as well as OPEC production…

$70 Oil Cripples European Refiners

In the latest indication of the strength of the recovery of global oil prices, European refineries are struggling to pay their crude bills as margins decline and demand weakens for some of their products, Bloomberg reports. The profit curve for fuel oil, used by shippers and power stations, has fallen the most dramatically. High inflows of diesel in the Middle East are making that fuel difficult to bank on as well. As a result of the capital crunch, refinery runs could become shorter, KBC Advanced Technologies, a research firm in the sector, says,…

OPEC Revises Up Non-OPEC Production Estimates For 2018

U.S. shale suppliers are forcing OPEC to revise upward its estimates for supplies originating outside the bloc’s member nations, according to the latest data released by the bloc. Non-OPEC production will increase by 1.15 million barrels per day in 2018, up from a previous estimate of a 990,000-bpd jump for the year in last month’s report. American oil exports, which gained market share over the course of 2016 and 2017, have been offsetting cuts made by OPEC and its band of allies over the past year. “Higher oil prices are bringing…

Global Clean Energy Investments Near All-Time High

Booming Chinese solar installations propelled annual worldwide investments in renewable energy and energy-smart technology 3 percent higher to $333.5 billion last year—the second-highest on record, a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) report showed on Tuesday. China and the U.S. led the way with the largest portions of clean energy investment, and while European investment dropped — pushed down by changed policies in the UK and Germany — funding for renewables and smart energy tech in Australia and Mexico boomed, BNEF said. The…

China’s Gas Production Hits Three-Year High

China pumped natural gas at the highest rate since 2014 in December 2017 in an attempt to make up for shortages of the fuel in the northern parts of the country amid harsh winter weather, China’s national statistics authority said today. The daily average reached 13.6 billion cubic meters, versus 12.6 billion cubic meters in November. The full-2017 total hence jumped by 8.5 percent on an annual basis to 147.4 billion cubic meters. Sinopec alone reported a 19-percent annual increase in its natural gas production last year. As part of its fight…

Iraq Ready To Sign Deal With BP For Kirkuk Fields

Iraq will today sign an agreement with BP for the development of oil fields around Kirkuk, according to an unnamed Iraqi official who spoke to Reuters. The government first approached the supermajor last October, after its army retook control of Kirkuk from Kurdistan after an ill-fated independence referendum. BP was present in northern Iraq until 2015, providing technical assistance in the development of the huge Kirkuk field, but after that, the Kurdish minority took over the field and adjacent deposits. Though control of the city of Kirkuk has…

The Best Places In The World To Mine Bitcoin

Deep in China’s Sichuan mountains, miners are chipping away at complex mathematical puzzles in hopes of unlocking one of today’s most prized assets, bitcoin. Currently, more than 60 percent of all bitcoin is mined in China, and these miners have picked their location wisely. The remote Sichuan mountains enjoy a cool year-round temperature and cheap electricity provided by small-scale hydro-electric facilities, averaging from $0.05 to $0.08-cents per kWh. Recent rumors, however, suggest that this could all come crashing down. First reported…

Oil Prices Rebound After EIA Reports Another Large Crude Draw

Amid emerging doubts that OPEC and Russia have outdone themselves with the oil production cuts and are starting to suffer the consequences, the Energy Information Administration reported another large draw in oil inventories this week.  At 6.9 million barrels, the draw is significant enough to support a further price rise for WTI.  Yesterday, the American Petroleum Institute reported yet another draw, of 5.12 million barrels, keeping spirits high. Analysts expected the EIA to report its ninth straight weekly inventory draw, with a Reuters…

Kinder Morgan Delays Trans Mountain Launch Again

Kinder Morgan said it would have to delay the start of the expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline by another three months, to December 2020, its chief executive Steve Kean said at the presentation of the company’s fourth-quarter results. The US$5.95-billion expansion project still needs to gather all necessary permit approvals, Keane said, adding that the other reason for the delay was “because we’ve not completed the work necessary with our contractors to determine where we can save time and money on the build and we don’t have a…

Shell Inks Another Solar Deal

Just a couple of days after it acquired a hefty stake in a U.S. solar company, Shell has made another solar move, closing a power supply deal with British Solar Renewables. Shell Energy Europe, the regional marketing and trading unit of the supermajor, will receive the whole output of the Bradenstoke solar power plant—the second-largest in Britain—for a period of five years. Bradenstoke has a peak capacity of 69.8 MW and produces an average of 65 GWh annually. The size of the deal was not disclosed. On Monday, Shell said it will buy…

Crypto-Miners Buy Russian Power Stations

Two electric power stations in Russia were recently sold to a cryptocurrency miner looking to expand his operations – the latest sign that the country’s government-supported push to become a cryptocurrency mining hub has been successful. The two stations are situated in the Perm Region on the western slopes of the Middle Ural Mountains, and in the neighboring Republic of Udmurtia. The facilities will be used as data centers as well as housing for cryptocurrency mining equipment and a center for cryptocurrency mining. The price paid…

IEA: Don’t Expect Much Oil From Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Before 2030

Despite the fact that part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) has been declared open to drilling, low oil prices and abundance of onshore shale deposits makes the Arctic currently less attractive for development, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, has told a U.S. Senate committee, adding that he didn’t expect substantial volumes of oil from that region before 2030. “With the current context, it will be difficult to believe that there will be a substantial amount of oil production…

Minister Says Norway Must Prepare For Arctic Oil Race With Russia

Norway should map the northernmost areas of its part of the Barents Sea close to the Russian maritime border in order to protect its economic interests in the Arctic, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum Terje Søviknes said at an energy conference on Wednesday. “We need to start the discussion about what to do in the far north. We see a development on the Russian side of the border, where they are drilling and likely will find oil,” Søviknes said at the conference, as quoted by Reuters. Norway and Russia agreed in 2010…

Eight Years Late—UK Hinkley Point C To Be In Service By 2025

EDF Energy—the developer of the first new nuclear power plant in the UK in a generation, Hinkley Point C, is confident that it can put the first unit into service in 2025, EDF Energy chief executive Simone Rossi said on Wednesday, in what would be an eight-year delay compared to the first plans to have Hinkley Point up and running in 2017. Back in 2007, EDF bosses predicted that UK households would be cooking their 2017 Christmas turkeys with power generated from Hinkley Point—a prediction that turned out to be a bit too ambitious.…

Colombia’s Crude Exports Fall Amid Unrest

Crude exports out of Colombia in recent years have averaged just over 600,000 barrels per day, with exports typically highest in January, before gradually descending through the year. To start this year, however, export volumes have dropped off considerably, as unrest rises up in the country once more. Exports are currently at 540,000 bpd so far this month, considerably adrift of year-ago levels: (Click to enlarge) The drop in exports comes amid the end of a temporary ceasefire between the Colombian government and the National Liberation Army (ELN),…

Nigerian Militants Threaten To Attack Oil Facilities Within Days

The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA)—the militant group responsible for most of the 2016 attacks on Nigeria’s oil infrastructure—threatened on Wednesday to unleash the deadliest round of attacks on Nigeria’s oil sector—“in a few days time”. “This round of attacks will be the most deadly and will be targeting the deep sea operations of the multinationals which include Bonga Platform, Agbami, EA Field, Britania-U Field, Akpo Field; amongst others littered across the deep waters of the Niger Delta region,”…

Sunk Iranian Oil Tanker Leave Behind Two Slicks

Sanchi, the Iranian tanker carrying condensate to South Korea that crashed into a Chinese freight ship on January 6 and sank earlier this week, has produced two oil slicks, Chinese authorities report. There were several explosions on board the tanker, the last one proving fatal for the vessel. Cleanup teams from China are now working to remove the slicks and are also monitoring the area to see which way they could drift, and assess the ecological impact of the disaster, which is the biggest one in decades in the area. The Sanchi carried almost…

CNPC Expects Robust Oil Demand Growth In China

China’s state-owned oil and gas giant CNPC has just added fuel to already strong optimism on oil markets by forecasting that crude oil demand in China will jump by 4.6 percent this year to 12 million barrels per day. In imports, the news is even better for producers: CNPC sees net crude oil imports at 7.7 percent above 2017 levels, to 451 million metric tons, or about 9.06 million barrels per day. The forecast is based on estimated GDP expansion of 6.7 percent, slightly down from 6.9 percent in 2017. Last year, China overtook the United States…

Saudi Arabia Shuns UBS, BofA As Aramco IPO Coordinators

Saudi Arabia has excluded Swiss UBS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Barclays from the select group of investment banks invited to pitch for the role of coordinators in the initial public offering of Aramco, five sources told Reuters. Riyadh, the sources explained, is distrustful of lenders that have not extended loans to it in the last few years, as local corporate culture requires, which is why BofA and UBS have been excluded. As for the reasons for Barclays’ exclusion, the sources were not clear. Yet not all is lost for the three lenders;…

WCS-WTI Spread Narrows As Exports-By-Rail Pick Up

Volume constraints on the Keystone pipeline system levied by U.S. regulators have widened the spread between Western Canadian Select crude prices and benchmark American crude prices, but the steep discount is set to moderate, according to emerging reports. Growing volumes from Alberta’s oil sands have had trouble getting to U.S. markets since federal regulators ordered TransCanada to curtail the line’s capacity by 20 percent after a spill in South Dakota in November. So while WTI climbed, oil prices from Alberta’s oil sands fell.…

Norway Grants Record 75 New Offshore Exploration Leases

Norway awarded a record seventy-five new offshore oil exploration leases to companies in its latest bidding round, according to a new report by Reuters. “The number of licenses is the highest ever awarded in a licensing round on the Norwegian continental shelf. Access to new, prospective exploration acreage is a central pillar in the government’s petroleum policy,” Energy Minister Terje Soeviknes said in a statement. Forty-five were in the North Sea, 22 in the Norwegian Sea, and eight others in the Barents Sea. Thirty-four firms…

China’s Growing Appetite For Renewables

The Chinese appetite for clean energy has boosted international investments in solar energy, according to a new report by Bloomberg. Renewables and clean energy innovators won $333.5 billion in investments in 2017 – an increase of three percent from 2016 figures, Bloomberg New Energy Finance figures show. Half of it went to solar projects and 40 percent came from China. Solar panels and wind turbines get cheaper by the day, thanks to Chinese mass manufacturing.  “The 2017 total is all the more remarkable when you consider that…

Is The Rig Count Still Relevant?

The weekly rig count report that Baker Hughes releases is probably on everyone’s not-to-miss schedule. However, its days as one of the most reliable U.S. oil industry growth metrics seem to be numbered: the shale industry has advanced beyond rigs.  Just a few years ago, the number of rigs was conclusively indicative of oil production growth: more rigs equaled more oil. But over the past couple of years, forced by low prices, drillers have sought and found other ways to increase production without adding more rigs. That’s why in…

2018: A Breakout Year For Clean Energy

The bullish momentum for global clean energy investment, which rose 3 percent to $333.5 billion in 2017, will continue this year. There was significant progress in the transition to cleaner energy in 2017, and 2018 should see more of the same. New solar installations will top 100 GW this year, with China likely to make up about half of that total, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), which lays out some key predictions for 2018. However, beginning this year, BNEF says that new countries will become relevant in the…

What’s The Limit For Permian Oil Production?

The ‘hottest shale play’ has been the media’s favorite cliché for the Permian Basin over the past year. And while cliché, the basin straddling West Texas and New Mexico has lived up to this description—its oil production, unlike that in other basins, did not fall off a cliff during the downturn, it recently beat its own record from the 1970s, and is expected to continue to increase production more than any other U.S. shale play and account for most of the American oil production growth. The Permian has been…

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