West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.5% on Thursday to end the session at $63.53 per barrel, the highest settlement since May 2019, bolstered by refinery restarts in Texas and the Federal Reserve's promise to keep interest rates low. However, Brent for April delivery slid 0.2% to $66.88 per barrel on Thursday amid concerns that months of rallying oil prices will encourage producers to pump more.
GlobalData expects oil and natural gas production in Oklahoma's SCOOP/STACK shale play to average 342,000 barrels per day and 5.8 billion cubic feet per day this month, and 373,000 bpd and 5.8 Bcf/d for the full year, a decline of roughly 43% in oil and 27% in gas output from peak levels reached in September 2019. The rig count in the play has fallen from an average of 84 in 2019 to 20 in 2020, although it has since improved slightly thanks to higher commodity prices, GlobalData oil and gas analyst Andrew Folse said.
The deep freeze that swept across Texas earlier this month caused the state's dry natural gas production to plunge from 21.3 billion cubic feet per day in the week to Feb. 13 to 11.8 Bcf/d in the week ending Feb. 17, a decline of nearly 45%, said the Energy Information Administration, citing estimates from IHS Markit. Overall US dry gas production slumped by 21% to 69.7 Bcf/d during the same period.
Chevron on Thursday announced the launch of Future Energy Fund II, a $300 million fund that will pursue investments in low-carbon technology, with a focus on sectors of the economy that are more difficult to decarbonize. "The primary motivation here is not a profit motivation, it's to nurture technology," Chevron Chairman CEO Mike Wirth told CNBC.
The Delaware River Basin Commission on Thursday voted to permanently ban natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the Delaware River watershed, citing evidence that high-volume fracking could have negative impacts on water resources. The commission also voted unanimously to develop rules governing the import and export of fracking wastewater from the basin, as well as the use of fresh water for fracking operations outside the basin.
Beginning in 2022, Cheniere Energy will provide its customers with greenhouse gas emissions data for each liquefied natural gas cargo it produces, from wellhead to delivery point. Cheniere's move is part of an effort to improve transparency and address buyers' concerns about the environmental footprint of shale gas.
Last week's winter storm caused US oil production to plunge by 1.1 million barrels per day to 9.7 million bpd, the steepest weekly decline ever, while refinery runs slumped by 2.6 million bpd to 12.2 million bpd, the lowest since September 2008, according to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration. Crude stockpiles gained 1.3 million barrels during the week, gasoline supplies were up by 12,000 barrels, while distillate inventories slid by 5 million barrels, the EIA reported.
Venture Global's Calcasieu Pass liquefied natural gas facility in Louisiana could be ready to begin production in October, according to traders, who said at least 12 cargoes from the plant have been offered for loading between Oct. 2021 and Dec. 2022. The plant is slated to enter commercial service in 2022, but Venture Global CEO Mike Sabel said in December that the project was advancing faster than expected thanks to the modular construction approach.
Matador Resources plans to deploy a fourth drilling rig in the Permian Basin and expects to increase spending on drilling, fracking and other equipment by roughly 22% this year to $575 million, as well as boost oil production by 10%, breaking away from the industry's newfound capital discipline mindset. "As a result of recent actions taken by the newly inaugurated Biden administration, we have elected to pick up a fourth operated drilling rig beginning in March to ensure the orderly development of our federal leasehold in the Delaware Basin going forward," Matador CEO Joseph Foran explained.
Deb Haaland, President Joe Biden's pick for Interior secretary, said Wednesday during her confirmation hearing that the administration's moratorium on oil and natural gas leasing on federal lands is just a pause. "It's not going to be a permanent thing where we're saying we're restricting all these lands from something," Haaland said.
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