RBN Energy

Some of the most prolific, crude-oil-saturated rock in the Permian’s Delaware Basin and Central Platform comes with a nasty complication — namely, associated gas with very high levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2). But rather than walking away from all those potential barrels, one midstream company saw the treatment of high-H2S, high-CO2 gas as a market niche worth pursuing. Backed by commitments from Black Bay Energy Capital and an area E&P, Piñon Midstream has been expanding a system in southeastern New Mexico that not only gathers the super-corrosive gas and removes almost all the H2S and CO2, it also permanently sequesters the stuff deep underground through a pair of 18,000-foot-deep, Class II injection wells. In today’s RBN blog, we will provide an update on Piñon’s Dark Horse Treating Facility and the company’s plan for a further build-out of its sour gas system. 

Analyst Insights

Analyst Insights are unique perspectives provided by RBN analysts about energy markets developments. The Insights may cover a wide range of information, such as industry trends, fundamentals, competitive landscape, or other market rumblings. These Insights are designed to be bite-size but punchy analysis so that readers can stay abreast of the most important market changes.

By Jeremy Meier - Friday, 6/14/2024 (3:00 pm)

US oil and gas rig count declined for the second consecutive week, falling to 590 for the week ending June 14, a decline of 4 vs. a week ago according to Baker Hughes.

By Martin King - Friday, 6/14/2024 (2:45 pm)

As of June 14, Baker Hughes reported that the Western Canadian gas-directed drilling rig count rose one rig to 55 (blue line in left hand chart below) and one less than a year ago.

Recently Published Reports

Report Title Published
TradeView Report TradeView Crude Oil Price Analytics And Differentials - June 14, 2024 1 day 13 hours ago
TradeView Weekly Data TradeView Weekly Data - June 14, 2024 2 days 10 hours ago
TradeView Daily Data TradeView Daily Data - June 14, 2024 2 days 13 hours ago
NATGAS Billboard NATGAS Billboard - June 14, 2024 2 days 20 hours ago
Chart Toppers Chart Toppers - June 14, 2024 2 days 23 hours ago

Pages

Daily Energy Blog

Category:
Refined Fuels

Refinery distillation units separate crude oil into light, medium and heavy fractions. After that, refiners start performing chemical reactions using catalysts — materials that accelerate chemical reactions — to change the oil’s natural molecules into the forms needed in modern fuels. In recent years, refiners have stepped up their efforts to recycle those catalysts to improve their profitability and environmental performance. In today’s RBN blog, we explain how catalysts, which were formerly disposed of as hazardous waste, are increasingly being recycled and reused in refineries. 

Category:
Power

Texas and California are opposites in many ways, including their expectations for power prices in the summer ahead. Texas set single-day demand records several times last year and is anticipating more sizzling temperatures — and higher power prices — this year with demand expected to be near available supply. It’s the opposite for California, where the state’s extensive renewable buildout and higher-than-normal hydropower resources are helping keep a lid on power costs. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll examine the factors impacting Texas and California that are causing these polarizing power conditions. 

Category:
Refined Fuels

The March appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed by President Biden to fund the federal government mandated the emptying of the federal gasoline reserve in fiscal year 2024, which concludes September 30, followed by its eventual closure. That means about 1 MMbbl — 42 MM gallons — of gasoline will find its way to the market in the next few months, or in as little as a few weeks. The Department of Energy (DOE) is planning to distribute those barrels by the end of June to help keep a lid on gasoline prices ahead of the July 4 holiday and into the heart of the summer driving season. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the decision to close the reserve and the potential impact of those barrels hitting the market. 

Category:
Refined Fuels

The federal Renewable Identification Number (RIN) and California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) have long served as tools to force renewable fuels like ethanol into the U.S. fuel supply. They are environmental credits that subsidize production of renewable fuels that would not otherwise be economically justified. Nuances embedded in the design of these credit systems have again kicked in to surprise the markets, this time with a hit to renewable diesel (RD) margins. Today’s RBN blog zeroes in on two root causes for that hit. 

Category:
Crude Oil

Bluewater Texas, proposed by a 50/50 joint venture (JV) of Phillips 66 (P66) and commodity trading giant Trafigura, is in a unique position in the race to construct a deepwater crude oil export facility along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Of the four marketed deepwater proposals, Bluewater is the only project in the export-centric Corpus Christi market. It is also the only one in the group that does not include an offshore platform in its scope. In today’s RBN blog, we will explore these and other differences that set Bluewater apart. 

Category:
Natural Gas

To closely analyze the natural gas market is to be constantly bombarded with vast amounts of information — weather forecasts, pipeline flows, LNG feedgas, power demand and storage — that is frequently updated, impacting both spot and future prices. But before you can get into the deeper analysis, you’ve got to understand the natural gas value chain and its terminology. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll explain the various terms used to describe natural gas as it moves from wellhead to consumer. 

Category:
Financial

A macro view of U.S. exploration and production (E&P) company performance over the last quarter century reveals repetitive boom-and-bust cycles driven by periodic extremes in crude oil pricing, including price crashes in 2008, 2014 and 2020. That history contrasts with the remarkable stability in West Texas Intermediate (WTI) realizations since mid-2021 as the industry got its footing post-pandemic. Assisted by a new commitment to financial discipline, producers have generated relatively stable, historically solid overall quarterly earnings and cash flows. But the devil’s in the details, and in today’s RBN blog we delve into peer group and individual company performance as well as overall industry trends for Q1 2024. 

Category:
Financial

Permian-focused M&A activity may grab all the headlines, but don’t forget about the Eagle Ford. Over the past couple of years, a steady stream of big-dollar deals have been announced in the South Texas shale play, most of them tied to efforts by growth-oriented E&Ps to increase their scale, improve their operational efficiency and expand their inventory of top-tier drilling sites. As we’ll discuss in today’s RBN blog, the dealmaking has continued this spring, most recently with Crescent Energy’s announcement that it will be acquiring SilverBow Resources. 

Category:
Crude Oil

Situated in West Texas’s Winkler County, the tiny city of Wink (population just under 1,000) might seem easy to overlook but it holds a special place in music history as the childhood home of Roy Orbison — he formed his first band, the Wink Westerners, there in 1949. But beyond its rich musical legacy, Wink in recent years has emerged as a key hub for crude oil connectivity in the prolific Permian Basin. Don’t blink or you might miss out on what’s happening in this dynamic locale, the subject of today’s RBN blog. 

Category:
Crude Oil

If you asked someone where U.S. crude oil shipments would go when the Obama administration ended the ban on most crude exports in December 2015, it’s not likely that Nigeria would have come to mind. Yet this year marked the second time since the restrictions ended that U.S. oil has been sent to the OPEC member, this time to feed its long-awaited Dangote refinery. In today’s RBN blog, we will examine this development and the prospects for more U.S. exports to the West African nation. 

Category:
Financial

Another day, another mega-deal between top-tier oil and gas producers — or so it seems. Now, it’s ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil’s turn, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more logical pairing among the ever-shrinking list of big E&Ps that hadn’t already found a partner during the ongoing frenzy to consolidate. In today’s RBN blog, we examine ConocoPhillips’s newly announced, $22.5 billion agreement to acquire Marathon Oil with a look at their similar histories, their complementary assets, and what will now be their joint effort to boost shareholder returns. 

Category:
Natural Gas

Energy Transfer is yet again slaking its acquisition appetite by gobbling up another natural gas gatherer and processor to further expand its already formidable Permian footprint. The company announced May 28 that it has struck a $3.25 billion cash-and-stock deal to buy WTG Midstream, a West Texas-based and private equity-backed operator whose Permian assets will boost the acquiring company’s access to gas and NGL volumes as the U.S. midstream sector shows continued consolidation. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll look at how the addition of WTG’s midstream holdings will enhance Energy Transfer’s asset lineup, including its ongoing NGL export and storage expansions. 

Category:
Natural Gas Liquids

With an announcement in late 2023 by Dow Chemical that it would be undertaking an enormous expansion of its ethylene production site in Fort Saskatchewan, AB, it was immediately clear that Alberta’s ethane supplies would need to increase by a significant 110 Mb/d. As we’ll discuss in today’s RBN blog, a deal was signed in February between Dow and Pembina Pipeline Corp. that calls for the midstreamer to provide up to 50 Mb/d of additional ethane supplies and, according to executives at Pembina’s investor day earlier this month, will require the company to invest between C$300 million (US$220 million) and C$500 million (US$367 million) to build out its existing NGL/ethane infrastructure.

Category:
Crude Oil

On the surface, the Bakken story in the mid-2020s may seem as boring as dirt. The boom times of 2009-14 and 2017-19 are ancient history. Crude oil production has been rangebound near 1.2 MMb/d — well below its peak five years ago. And that output has been getting gassier over time, creating natural gas and NGL takeaway constraints that have put a lid on oil production growth. But don’t buy into the view that the Bakken is yesterday’s news. Beneath the surface (sometimes literally), the U.S.’s second-largest crude oil production area is undergoing a major transformation that includes E&P consolidation, production (and producers) going private, the drilling of 3- and (soon) 4-mile laterals, novel efforts to eliminate flaring, and even a producer-led push for CO2-based enhanced oil recovery (EOR). As we’ll discuss in today’s RBN blog, these changes and others may well breathe new life into the Bakken and significantly improve the environmental profile of the hydrocarbons produced there. 

Category:
Energy

There’s never been any reason to question the drivers for energy infrastructure development — until now.  Historically, the drivers were almost always “supply-push.” The Shale Revolution brought on increasing production volumes that needed to be moved to market, and midstreamers — backed by producer commitments — responded with the infrastructure to make it happen. But now things seem to be different. U.S. energy infrastructure investment is soaring across crude oil, natural gas and NGL markets and, as in previous buildouts, midstreamers are bringing on new processing plants, pipelines, fractionators, storage facilities, export terminals and everything in between. We count nearly 70 projects in the works. But crude production has been flat as a pancake, natural gas is down, and lately NGLs are up — but as you might expect, only in one basin: the Permian. So what is driving all the infrastructure development this time around? In today’s RBN blog, we’ll explore why that question will be front-and-center at our upcoming School of Energy: Catch a Wave. Fair warning, this blog includes an unabashed advertorial for our 2024 conference coming up on June 26-27 in Houston.