Analysts are predicting larger-than-expected US shale production increases this year, with Macquarie Group lifting its forecast from 0.9 million to 1.4 million barrels per day through December, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. estimated growth of 800,000 barrels per day by the end of the year, double its previous projection. US shale output will continue to grow into 2018, with JPMorgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecasting a 1.05 million-barrel-per-day increase and a 950,000 barrel-per-day surge, respectively.
The number of US oil rigs climbed by eight to a total of 720, the highest level since April 2015, in the week ended Friday, according to Baker Hughes. The 18-week streak of gains is the second-longest on record, behind a 19-week run in 2011.
Brent crude and US light crude gained 48 cents to $54.09 and 47 cents to $50.80 per barrel, respectively, on Monday on speculation that OPEC could announce deeper supply cuts of 1.8 million barrels per day for six to nine more months. However, SEB Markets Chief Commodities Analyst Bjarne Schieldrop warned that the extended cuts would encourage US shale drillers to further increase production in the medium term.
Drilling activity is spiking across Canada's Montney Shale as a new wave of investment has brought the number of drilled wells to 277 in the first four months of 2017, up 80% from a year earlier, according to Grobes Media's BOE Report. If the play's revival maintains momentum, daily natural gas production could climb from 4.9 billion cubic feet now to 7 billion cubic feet by 2019, while natural gas liquids and oil production could nearly double to 470,000 barrels per day, according to Wood Mackenzie.
US liquefied natural gas exports dropped 16% to 43.47 billion cubic feet in March from February because of maintenance at Sabine Pass' third liquefaction train, according to Energy Department data. A total of 13 cargoes left Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass LNG terminal in March headed to South Korea, Turkey, Kuwait, Jordan, Mexico, Thailand, Chile and Pakistan.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will be offering roughly 1 million acres in the Cook Inlet at a June 21 offshore lease sale, Alaska's first since 2008. "The areas offered for leasing represent a careful balance between jobs, energy development, and natural resource protection," BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank said.
A US Geological Survey assessment finished this month revealed that the Spraberry formation in the Permian Basin could hold 4.2 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil, up from 500 million barrels projected in 2007, and 3.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The upward revision can be attributed to technological advances such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling that have helped companies unlock previously untapped resources.
The oil industry is making progress in developing automated drilling systems, but the effort faces challenges such as geological adaptability, sensor selection and the need for a way for machines to communicate with each other. A new report called Stage One gives onshore and offshore drillers technological guidelines and a framework for coordinating automation.
Energy companies Vitol, Eni and Ghana National Petroleum have started oil production in a basin at the Sankofa reservoir off the coast of Ghana three months ahead of schedule, Vitol announced. The companies are using a floating production facility at the basin, which contains an estimated 1.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 500 million barrels of oil, and may produce about 45,000 barrels of oil per day by August.
In light of declining oil prices and the need to operate on leaner budgets, some energy companies are taking a new approach to exploration, drilling in areas other companies have abandoned and finding ways to get more from fields already in operation. Dallas-based Kosmos Energy surveys a large area of the Atlantic in West Africa with a vessel, carefully decides where to drill a small number of test wells and focuses on extracting oil and selling it as quickly as possible.
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