US oil producers pumped 10.984 million barrels per day in July, marking a 538,000-bpd increase from June that was driven by gains in Texas, North Dakota and the offshore US Gulf of Mexico, according to the Energy Information Administration. Gross natural gas production in the contiguous US also climbed by 1.9 billion cubic feet per day from June to 100.8 Bcf/d.
Grappling with reduced demand for pipeline space due to oil downturn, US pipeline operators such as Energy Transfer, Magellan Midstream Partners and Enterprise Product Partners have started to offer more favorable terms on existing and new contracts and lower rates for crude oil shipment in an effort to retain customers. Pipeline operators' revenues could plummet by as much as 50% this year as the oil demand collapse caused drillers to scale back oil production, analysts say.
CME Group Senior Economist Erik Norland covers seasonal consumption patterns for oil going into winter amid anemic demand by the transportation sector due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Uncertainty regarding future consumption will make matching oil production and demand a challenge.
November West Texas Intermediate crude jumped 2.4% on Wednesday to settle at $40.22 per barrel, while December Brent was up 1.8% to close at $42.30 per barrel, after the Energy Information Administration reported a 2-million-barrel drop in US crude inventories, versus expectations for a 1.9-million-barrel climb. Distillate supplies also fell by 3.2 million barrels, while gasoline stockpiles added 700,000 barrels.
NextDecade has recommitted to a 2021 deadline for making a final investment decision on its Rio Grande liquefied natural gas export project in Texas, said James MacTaggart, the company's senior vice president of LNG marketing for Asia and the Middle East. Commercial efforts have taken longer than expected, "but I think we'll be there next year," MacTaggart added.
The Bureau of Land Management will be taking public comments between October 5 and 19 on a proposed April 14, 2021, oil and natural gas lease sale of six parcels covering about 536 acres in New Mexico's Lea and Chaves counties and Oklahoma's Dewey County. "The BLM will consider all substantive comments received during the public scoping period to ensure that the potential environmental consequences are analyzed in a manner that allows the BLM to make an informed decision about the proposed competitive lease sale," the agency said.
US onshore oil production reached a high point in August that helped push the nationwide total to around 11 million barrels per day, but onshore volumes likely will decrease gradually through year's end as drilling activity remains subdued, Rystad Energy projected. Rystad expects US oil production to start increasing in the second half of 2021 and average 10.82 million bpd next year.
A $3 million grant from the Energy Department will fund a West Virginia University project that aims to develop a cost-effective method of converting flared natural gas into solid carbon and hydrogen for fuel. WVU engineers are collaborating with scientists from North Carolina State University, H-Quest, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, SoCalGas and C4-MCP on the project.
Lonestar Resources has joined a growing list of US shale producers filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, listing between $500 million and $1 billion worth of assets and liabilities. The company is aiming to slash its debt by $390 million.
Oil and natural gas continue to be a priority for ExxonMobil as returns from alternative renewable energy investments remain poor, said Carla Lacerda, Exxon's president in Brazil. "We believe societies and economies will continue to need oil and gas. In the upcoming years, the alternatives really can only fulfill a small amount, or a relatively modest amount, of the overall demand that exists," she said.
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