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US

Oil & Gas

Oil trades near six-year low as OPEC fails to turn focus from glut

Oil extended losses to trade near an almost six-year low as OPEC’s warning that prices may surge without new investment in production failed to shift the market’s focus from more immediate signs of a global supply glut. Futures fell as much as 0.6% in New York. A spike to $200 a barrel is possible without spending for the long term, according to OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri. US crude inventories probably rose to 402.1 million barrels last week, the most in records dating back to August 1982, a survey shows before a government report on Wednesday.

Americas

US onshore rig count continues steady decline

The US onshore rig count has continued a steady decline according to research by the Gaffney, Cline and Associates (GCA) oil and gas monitor. It was launched earlier this month to track onshore and Gulf of Mexico (GOM) activity it the wake of lower oil prices. The Baker Hughes rig count showed a fall of a further 43 over the past week in the US onshore total, with this now having declined by 297 from a high of 1,876 in November last year down to 1,579 this month.

Americas

Video: Obama calls for expansion to protect Alaska from drilling

President Barack Obama will call on the US congress to expand protection of Alaska’s Arctic refuge to 12million acres. The move will prohibit oil and gas drilling in a region with more than one million acres of oil heavy coast. The proposal was unveiled by the Interior Department at the weekend.

Oil & Gas

Oil Price Collapse Hurting Some More Than Others

US oil and gas rig counts dropped to their lowest level in over four years, falling by an additional 74 units for the week ending on January 16. The lower count provides fresh evidence that low oil prices are forcing drillers to pare back operations and slash spending. While that may soon begin to cut into actual production figures, a new Wood Mackenzie report finds a lot of nuance in the oil patch, painting a complex picture of what to expect in 2015.

Americas

BHP cuts US shale rigs as oil to iron ore prices slip

BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP), the biggest overseas investor in US shale, will cut the number of its rigs there by about 40% as plunging petroleum prices add to concerns about lower iron ore earnings. Drilling and development spending on US onshore oil and gas fell to $1.9 billion in the six months to December 31 from $2.1 billion a year ago, the Melbourne-based company said today in a statement. BHP will cut the number of active rigs to 16 from 26 by July, it said. Brent crude, a benchmark for more than half of the world’s oil, declined 48 percent last year as increasing output in the US contributed to a global glut.

Americas

Keystone: Calls for oil pipeline carries to be used only in US

Senate Democrats said Tuesday they’ll push amendments to legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline requiring that it’s built with domestically produced steel and that the oil it carries is used in the US. “The project now would simply pump American oil across the American heartland -- not to be used here -- but to be shipped overseas,” Senator Charles Schumer of New York, the Senate’s third-ranking Democrat, said at a news conference. With polls showing a majority of voters supporting Keystone, Democrats have sought to undermine its purported benefits to the US.

Oil & Gas

Oil trades near $50 after first weekly gain in 2 months

Oil traded near $50 after capping its first weekly gain in two months as investors weigh rising OPEC output against speculation supply from outside the group will slow. Futures were little changed in London and New York. Iraq is pumping at a record pace of 4 million barrels a day, Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said. Non-OPEC nations will boost output this year at a weaker rate than previously forecast, according to the International Energy Agency.

Americas

Steepest oil-rig drop shows shale losing fight to OPEC

US drillers have taken a record number of oil rigs out of service in the past six weeks as OPEC sustains its production, sending prices below $50 a barrel. The oil rig count has fallen by 209 since December 5, the steepest six-week decline since Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) began tracking the data in July 1987. The count was down 55 this week to 1,366. Horizontal rigs used in US shale formations that account for virtually all of the nation’s oil production growth fell by 48, the biggest single-week drop.

Americas

ConocoPhillips chief exec calls for US exports of surplus crude oil

The chief executive of ConocoPhillips has called for US exports of surplus crude oil. Ryan Lance told policymakers attending a briefing at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that the nation’s approaching surplus production of crude oil offers and opportunity for expanded global trade through exports. He said America could sustain the job creation and economic stimulation powered by the US energy renaissance, while putting downward pressure on consumer fuel prices and improving global energy security.

Markets

Increased US output bolsters oil glut fears sending prices back down

Oil resumed its decline after the biggest gain since June 2012 as US crude production increased, bolstering speculation a global supply glut that spurred last year’s price collapse may persist. Futures dropped as much as 1.8% in New York. US output surged to 9.19 million barrels a day last week, the fastest pace in weekly records dating back to January 1983, the Energy Information Administration reported. Crude may fall below a six-month forecast of $39 a barrel and rallies could be thwarted by the speed at which lost shale production can recover, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Opinion

Opinion: It’s time for radical actions

I’ve been told that scores of companies in and around Aberdeen are now letting go of people as the oil price-driven depression deepens in high cost oil & gas provinces around the globe. The likelihood is that several thousand jobs in our area have either gone or are about to be axed. Remember, it’s not just the UKCS that’s being hammered.

Oil & Gas

Oil declines for fourth day as global surplus seen persisting

Oil fell for a fourth day, extending losses from the lowest close in more than five and half years as the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait predicted a global supply glut will persist to at least the second half of 2015. Futures dropped as much as 1.5% in New York. The market may recover only when demand improves later this year, Ali Al Yabhouni, the UAE’s governor to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said yesterday.

Opinion

Opinion: Why Americans hate fracking but love cheap gasoline

During the holidays, a friend was driving home and said she spotted a fracking well soon after she crossed into Texas. She wasn’t happy about it. Another friend posted on Facebook a picture of gas prices below $2 a gallon — something that hasn’t happened in more than five years — and commented that the low price made him feel as if “he was stealing something.” In America, the world’s largest energy-consuming nation, the biggest fractures occur not in deep underground shale formations but in the way we separate our perceptions of energy from reality.

Oil & Gas

Demand for protection against Oil at $40 a barrel reaches record

Demand for protection against oil falling below $40 in the next month reached a record as a global supply glut pushed prices to the lowest in more than 5 1/2 years. Open interest, or the amount of contracts outstanding, for March $40 puts on West Texas Intermediate crude climbed to 22,575. The price of the options reached 79 cents a barrel today, up from 1 cent in November. Investors should buy less-expensive March or April $35 puts for protection, BNP Paribas SA said.

Renewables/Energy Transition

Just Energy strike deal to sell solar electricity

Just Energy Group has struck a deal with Clean Power Finance (CPF) to sell residential solar electricity. The agreement will provide CPF’s networks with a large solar sales pipeline as well as access to Just Energy’s 1.6million residential energy customers. The companies plan to roll out the solar program beginning in the first calendar quarter of 2015 in New York and California, before expanding the offering into key target solar markets across North America.

Markets

China imports record crude as price collapse spurs buying spree

China’s crude imports surged to a record in December after a buying spree in Singapore by a state-owned trader and as the government in Beijing accelerated stockpiling amid the collapse in global oil prices. Overseas purchases increased to 30.4 million metric tons last month, according to preliminary data released by the General Administration of Customs.

Markets

Oil extends drop below $45 as US supplies seen worsening glut

Oil extended losses to trade below $45 a barrel amid speculation that US crude stockpiles will increase, exacerbating a global supply glut that’s driven prices to the lowest in more than 5 1/2 years. Futures fell as much as 2.6% in New York, declining for a third day. Crude inventories probably gained by 1.75 million barrels lasweek, a survey shows. The United Arab Emirates, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, will stand by its plan to expand output capacity even with “unstable oil prices,” according to Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei.

Oil & Gas

Goldman sees need for $40 oil as forecast for OPEC cut abandoned

Goldman Sachs said US oil prices need to trade near $40 a barrel in the first half of this year to curb shale investments as it gave up on OPEC cutting output to balance the market. The bank cut its forecasts for global benchmark crude prices, predicting inventories will increase over the first half of this year, according to a report. Excess storage and tanker capacity suggests the market can run a surplus far longer than it has in the past, said Goldman analysts including Jeffrey Currie in New York.

Other News

US and international rig count down

Baker Hughes said the international rig count for December 2014 was 1,313, down 11 from the months before and 22 from the same month in 2013. The international offshore rig count for December 2014 was 338, down 3 from the 341 counted in November 2014, and up 32 from the 306 counted in December 2013. The company said the average US rig count was 1,882, down 43 from the 1,925 counted in November.

Oil & Gas

How OPEC weaponized the price of oil against US drillers

If there ever was doubt about the strategy of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, its wealthiest members are putting that issue to rest. Representatives of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait stressed a dozen times in the past six weeks that the group won’t curb output to halt the biggest drop in crude since 2008. Qatar’s estimate for the global oversupply is among the biggest of any producing country. These countries actually want -- and are achieving -- further price declines as part of an attempt to hasten cutbacks by US shale drillers, according to Barclays Plc and Commerzbank AG.

Oil & Gas

Petsec begins drilling in Louisiana

Petsec Energy has started drilling a well at its West Crab Lake exploration gas project in Louisiana. Drilling began earlier this week and will be drilled to a true vertical depth of 12,500 to test multiple Lower Miocene age Marg and Discorbis sand reservoirs in a fault closure syncline. The company has a 20% non-operating working interest (15.5% net revenue interest) in the well before payout.

Markets

US stock market bouncing back as oil price shows signs of stabilising

The US stock market is bouncing back from a tough start to 2015. Investors sent shares sharply higher for a second straight day, erasing the market’s heavy losses from the first few days of the year. The gains were driven by a combination of positive economic news from the US and hopes for stimulus from Europe’s central bank. The price of oil is also showing signs of stabilising after six months of heavy losses, and there is renewed confidence that the Federal Reserve will keep supporting the economy as growth outside the US appears to be flagging.