President Donald Trump is reportedly preparing an executive order that would instruct the Interior Department to potentially open Pacific waters off the California coast to oil and natural gas development and reverse an Obama-era ban on Arctic and Atlantic drilling. While there are still active rigs drilling for oil in the Pacific, the US hasn't sold any drilling rights off the West Coast since 1984.
Trump administration officials, including White House economic adviser Gary Cohn and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, are increasingly supporting liquefied natural gas exports and touting LNG as a job-producing machine. Perry said at a conference in New York that LNG can help strengthen national security while offering allies an avenue to diversified energy sources.
The Energy Department on Tuesday authorized the Golden Pass terminal on the Texas Gulf Coast to export up to 2.21 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas per day. The project, being developed by a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, is expected to create 45,000 jobs over the next five years and an additional 3,800 jobs within 25 years.
US crude supplies surged by 897,000 barrels in the week ended Friday, missing expectations for a 1 million-barrel decline, according to the American Petroleum Institute. Meanwhile, gasoline stockpiles increased by 4.4 million barrels, while distillates fell by 36,000 barrels.
Oil trader and hedge fund manager Pierre Andurand is optimistic that oil prices will rise further in the coming months, citing Saudi Arabia's production cuts and shrinking US inventories as indicators of an increase. Andurand said in a note to investors that increased US shale production won't be enough to offset demand growth and plunging stockpiles, even though it could surge by 800,000 barrels per day this year.
BHP Billiton is looking to divest its US natural gas assets in the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas, last valued at $919 million, more than two years after it first attempted to sell them. News of a potential sale of the assets comes as activist investor Elliott Management is pressing BHP to spin off its US petroleum business.
The Oregon House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a 10-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in a move considered symbolic since there's no fracking activity in the state. However, Oregon's Willamette Valley holds vast coal-bed methane reserves that could attract frackers to the state, according to the US Geological Survey.
East Coast refiners, including Phillips 66 and Monroe Energy, are looking to take in higher volumes of oil shipped via tanker from Texas to Philadelphia as the incentive to transport Bakken crude by rail slowly disappears with the opening of the Dakota Access and other pipelines. Buying domestic oil from the US Gulf would give refiners access to a variety of grades, including Eagle Ford, Permian and even Bakken crude, although they'll likely continue to rely on foreign crude for most of their supply.
The US Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy in a report underscored the need for more natural gas pipelines in the Northeast US and slammed environmentalists for challenging new projects. "As a result, residents in the Northeast are paying the highest electricity rates in the continental US, with no relief in sight if infrastructure is not built," Institute for 21st Century Energy President and CEO Karen Harbert said.
Corpus Christi, Texas, is emerging as an oil export hub and alternative to overcrowded Houston as surging oil production in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford is prompting more investments in pipelines running to the city, according to a Morningstar report. Two new pipelines have been proposed from the Permian to Corpus Christi, potentially adding 1 million barrels of daily capacity by the end of 2019.
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