Analysis: Trending oil & gas news stories


The Independent Petroleum Association of America’s daily newsletter “Energy in Depth” is chalk full of interesting stories on July 20 with many of the headlines dominated by Russia.

1) Topping today’s report are allegations Russia is backing anti-fracking groups. Then there are multiple news stories over concerns that sanctions being levied against Russia could impact US international oil companies.

2) Total US natural gas reserves grew to 2,817 trillion cubic feet (500 trillion barrels of crude oil equivalent) in 2016, reaching a 52-year high according to an oil and gas industry fund research report. (Put another way, that is 19,000 cubic miles of oil equivalent. By comparison, Lake Michigan contains roughly 22,000 cubic miles of water.)

3) The House of Representatives to streamline the building of pipelines from Mexico or Canada with new proposed legislation.

In June, the Canadian Energy Research Institute issued a report on natural gas consumption in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia discussing both provinces’ needs for natural gas, which could lead to becoming net importers.

4) The EIA is discussing the United States’ potentially unique role in providing liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the world, according to an article by UPI. The article cited figures by Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency, that over the last seven years $1 trillion has been invested in the US upstream and $200bn in US midstream.

5) Japan’s Kansai Electric signed an agreement to buy 1.2 million tons per year (MTPA) of LNG from two different planned LNG export facilities in the U.S.

6) Jobs are returning to the oil patch after a 27-month decline that saw 206,000 layoffs and more than 125 bankruptcies. The number of new jobs is relatively small with just 2,500 jobs year to date.

According to Haynes & Boone’s Bankruptcy Monitor, the more than 125 bankruptcies applies just to oilfield services , which had $25.8bn in secured (63.5%) and unsecured assets. Upstream companies also suffered 123 bankruptcies between 2015 and April 2017 encompassing $79.8bn in secured (39.7%) and unsecured assets. Midstream was hurt too but to a lesser degree, with 19 bankruptcies totaling $18.6bn in secured (48.9%) and unsecured assets.

6) BHP looks to continue spending on its US shale assets despite investor activists calling for a sale.

7) The outstanding inventory of drilled but uncompleted (DUCs) wells represents another challenge to global oil prices.

8) West Virginia wants to grow its share of $185bn in new petrochemical investments made in the US as a result of the shale boom.