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 RBN Team - Friday, 6/09/2023 (6:30 pm)

It was not a good week for Saudi Arabia. After announcing a unilateral production cut of one million barrels per day last Sunday to support prices, crude prices fell during the week instead of increasing.  On Friday WTI settled at $70.17/bbl, off $1.12/bbl for the day, or $1.57/bbl for the week.   WTI also declined the previous week.  

As usual, today’s decline was in part based on weak China economic data.  China's May “factory gate” prices declined at the fastest rate in seven years as the manufacturing sector slowed.

By Adam Baker - Friday, 6/09/2023 (3:15 pm)

Forecasts calling for above-average temperatures drove natural gas prices higher this week, with the Henry Hub July contract settling Friday at $2.254/MMbtu, up 8.2 cents from last Friday’s close. The contract had risen every day this week before falling by 9.8 cents today as revised forecasts called for some cooling in mid-June.

By Jeremy Meier - Friday, 6/09/2023 (1:15 pm)

US rig count was relatively unchanged for the week ending June 9, falling by one rig vs. a week ago for a total of 695 according to Baker Hughes.  Rigs were added in the Anadarko (+1) and All Other (+2), while the Permian (-2) and Haynesville (-2) both lost rigs.  Total US rig count is down 50 in the last 90 days, and down 38 vs. this week a year ago.

By Michael Knapton - Wednesday, 6/07/2023 (3:30 pm)

Global oil inventories are expected to fall over the next five quarters, the EIA said in its latest Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO), which was released just two days after the OPEC+ announcement that it would extend its production cuts through 2024 and Saudi Arabia decision to voluntary cut production by 1 MMb/d.

By Ashita Khanna - Wednesday, 6/07/2023 (2:15 pm)
Report Highlight: Crude Voyager

The Crude Voyager report shows that crude oil shipments across the U.S. Gulf Coast fell by 679 Mb/d and were estimated at 3.7 MMb/d for the week ended June 2. With these shipments included, crude oil exports from the Gulf Coast in May were estimated at 3.5 MMb/d, down 16% from the previous month and the lowest since January. Only Houston-area terminals loaded more cargoes than in the previous month; for the remaining regions, fewer shipments were noted.

By Todd Root - Wednesday, 6/07/2023 (2:15 pm)
Report Highlight: U.S. Propane Billboard

U.S. propane inventories increased but were below industry expectations while weekly exports of propane were stronger, up 168 Mbbl/d from last week.

By Martin King - Tuesday, 6/06/2023 (5:00 pm)

Canadian natural gas cash prices remain locked in sideways land as a persistent lack of weather-related demand strength has combined with above average storage levels and rebounding production due to the fading threat from Alberta wildfires. AECO forward prices, which had been able to partially withstand bearish price pressures until recently, have also begun to wilt with the prompt month contract price hitting lows not seen since summer 2019 and the COVID-driven lows in April 2020 (lows touching dashed red line in top figure below).

By Noel Copeland - Tuesday, 6/06/2023 (2:15 pm)

The Canadian government-owned Trans Mountain Corp (TMC) has applied to regulators for tolls or tariff rates as we refer to them in the in U.S., on its long-delayed 590 Mb/d pipeline expansion to Canada's west coast, noting shipping fees would increase if project costs mount.  The Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) will increase the flow of crude from Alberta's oil sands to Burnaby, British Columbia from 300 Mb/d to 890 Mb/d, but the project has struggled with regulatory hurdles, environmental opposition and surging costs. 

By RBN Team - Tuesday, 6/06/2023 (11:15 am)
Report Highlight: LNG Voyager

LNG feedgas was down last week driven by lower flows to Sabine Pass because of maintenance.

Propane Inventories Soar in May; Largest Build For The Month In Over 10 Years
By Todd Root - Tuesday, 6/06/2023 (9:45 am)
Report Highlight: U.S. Propane Billboard

U.S. propane inventories took off like a rocket in May.  As shown on the left-hand chart below, total U.S.

By Jason Lindquist - Monday, 6/05/2023 (12:30 pm)
Report Highlight: TradeView Report

WTI Corpus Christi saw its premium to Midland East Houston (MEH) narrow to 16 cents/bbl last week, with market sources attributing the contraction to a decline in export demand through Corpus Christi relative to Houston, according to RBN’s latest Crude Oil TradeView report.

By RBN Team - Monday, 6/05/2023 (10:15 am)

The price of U.S. ethylene on the Gulf Coast swooned to only 16.25 cents per pound on Friday, the lowest level since the earliest days of COVID in 2020, and historically a very low price for the petrochemical building block.

By Jeremy Meier - Friday, 6/02/2023 (1:15 pm)

US oil and gas rig count continued the slide that began in early May, with rig count for the week ending June 2 falling to 696 according to Baker Hughes, a decline of 15 vs. a week ago.  This marks the first time since April 2022 that rig count is below 700.  Most major basis saw declines, including the Eagle Ford (-4), Anadarko (-3), Permian (-2), Haynesville (-2), Bakken (-1), Niobrara (-1) and All Other (-2).  Total rig count has declined 53 in the past 90 days, and declined 31 vs. this week a year ago.

By TJ Braziel - Thursday, 6/01/2023 (3:00 pm)

Total crude production has remained stymied near current levels of 12.2 – 12.3 MMb/d all year, per the EIA’s Weekly Petroleum Status Report (WPSR), however their Petroleum Supply Monthly (PSM) state production data disagrees. The PSM data, which is three-months in arrears and is widely accepted as being more accurate, shows U.S. production rose 175 Mb/d to 12.7 MMb/d in March, nearly 500 Mb/d over the WPSR reported volume. The current disparity between the two EIA figures is near the upper limit it has reached dating back to 2019.

By Todd Root - Thursday, 6/01/2023 (2:45 pm)
Report Highlight: U.S. Propane Billboard

U.S. propane inventories post the largest build for the week in the last ten years while exports remain low.

By Martin King - Thursday, 6/01/2023 (2:00 pm)

Citing rapidly increasing costs, Norwegian energy giant Equinor, and its partner BP, elected on May 31 to postpone for up to three years further development of the Bay du Nord deepwater oil project offshore Eastern Canada. Well advanced in terms of planning and design, a final investment decision (FID) was expected to be made on the $10 billion (C$13.5 billion) project by Equinor and BP late this year or early in 2024.

By Jason Ferguson - Thursday, 6/01/2023 (11:30 am)
Report Highlight: Hydrogen Billboard

Press reports indicate that the U.S. Treasury Department is hard at work forming the tax framework for the hydrogen tax credits created by the Inflation Reduction Act. However, the rules aren’t complete and certain requirements have the potential to upend some proposed clean hydrogen projects. Plug Power announced that it will be part of three projects in Finland totaling 2.2-gigawatts (GW) of green hydrogen production.

By Noel Copeland - Wednesday, 5/31/2023 (3:00 pm)

Spire Inc. has agreed to acquire MoGas and Omega pipeline systems from CorEnergy Infrastructure Trust Inc. for about $175 million in cash.

MoGas (red pipeline) is a 263-mile interstate natural gas transmission and distribution system providing service to markets in Missouri and Illinois. MoGas has pipeline receipt and delivery interconnects with Mississippi River Transmission Corp. (green pipeline), Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co.(yellow pipeline), Rockies Express Pipeline (dark blue), and Spire STL Pipeline (purple).

By Martin King - Wednesday, 5/31/2023 (1:15 pm)
Report Highlight: Canadian Natgas Billboard

Though it has taken most of the month of May, Western Canada's natural gas production has recovered to levels that prevailed in early May before the onset of wildfires in Alberta initiated significant curtailments in important gas producing regions. As the fire threat has faded, the toll on overall gas output has become more clear with May average production falling to ~16.5 Bcf/d, a drop of just over 9% versus April's record. For 2023, we are now estimating annual average production growth in Western Canada will be just 0.5 Bcf/d, half of what what we were thinking just one month ago.

Propane Production Increases Sharply
By Todd Root - Wednesday, 5/31/2023 (11:45 am)
Report Highlight: U.S. Propane Billboard

As shown on the left-hand chart below, monthly propane gas plant production for March 2023 finally recovered from the weather-related curtailments in December.  March propane production, as reported by the EIA on May 31, increased to 1,931 Mb/d, up 60 Mb/d from February and 100 Mb/d, or 5.5%, above what was recorded in March 2022.  However, production remains 29 Mb/d, or 1.5%, below the all-time high of 1,960 Mb/d set in September 2022.    Not surprisingly, most of the increase in propane supply has been in PADD 3 (Gulf Coast), which represents about 60% of total U.S.