Sunday, 06/07/2015

Expectations for continuing rampant production growth for natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and crude oil have evaporated in the heat of the price melt-down. Volumes may be holding their own, even with 60% less rigs running, but the days of month-after-month record increases in production are behind us, at least for a while. But what about all that infrastructure that has been and continues to be built? Billions of dollars are going into pipelines, processing plants, petrochemical plants, terminals, storage, etc. based on a much higher production growth scenario than now looks likely. So what happens next? That issue is the theme of a new RBN conference scheduled for July 23rd in New York City called State of the Energy Markets, and is the subject of today’s blog – also an advertorial for the conference.

Sunday, 05/31/2015

Did you miss our School of Energy this past March in Calgary?   Not a problem!  We videoed the whole conference and today we are making School of Energy available online, in streaming video format.  The conference video, presentation slides and spreadsheet models are available in segments, or as a full conference package.

Thursday, 05/28/2015

In just a few months’ time, it’s become easier to get regulatory approval to use unmanned aerial systems—more commonly known as drones—and the number of ways drones can be employed by the oil and gas sector has grown substantially. In fact, drones are getting involved in just about everything: geologic mapping, site surveying, methane detection, pipeline inspection—you name it. Today, we explore how drone use in the energy sector is quickly morphing from geeky to mainstream.

Sunday, 01/04/2015

Welcome to 2015!  No, the last few months of 2014 were not a dream – or nightmare, depending on your perspective.  Crude oil prices really did come crashing to earth, sucking down NGL prices in the process.  And natural gas prices followed, falling to $3/MMbtu last week.  Price relationships are out the window, as are drilling budgets.  Over the next few months, these markets will be going through some of the most dynamic changes in years, with unpredictable consequences.  Unpredictable?  Nah.  No mere market turmoil will dissuade RBN from sticking our collective necks out a third year in a row to peer once more into the crystal ball.   Today we wrap up RBNs Top Ten Energy Prognostications for 2015 – Year of the Goat – #5 to #1.

Thursday, 01/01/2015

Time to sober up.  Not from excessive New Year’s Eve reveling, but instead from the past five years of euphoria in the shale oil and gas markets. In the past two months crude oil prices have come crashing to earth, sucking down NGL prices in the process.  And lately even natural gas has succumbed to the malaise, falling below $3/MMbtu this week.  Price relationships are out the window, as are drilling budgets.  Over the next few months, these markets will be going through some of the most dynamic changes in years, with unpredictable consequences.  Unpredictable?  Nah.  No mere market turmoil can dissuade RBN from sticking out our collective necks to peer into the crystal ball for a third year in a row  for 2015 – Year of the Goat.  Really.  We did not make that up.

Tuesday, 09/02/2014

It’s a Remix!!  RBN’s School of Energy has been reworked, restructured and reorganized to make the conference even better.    There is more course content, updated for what is happening in the market right now.  We have added new models, replaced some old models and enhanced them all.  But even more important, we have increased the number of model labs from one to FOUR!!  Each lab will step you through the model logic, how to input the data and how to interpret the results.  You will work through cases that will test your knowledge on how the models work.    And we are branching out.  Two School of Energy Remix conferences have been scheduled – one in Houston, October 29-31, and the other in Calgary March 30-April 1.   Warning, today’s blog is a blatant commercial for our conferences. 

Sunday, 03/30/2014

We just wrapped up our Spring School of Energy, and it was another huge success. RBN’s School of Energy is unlike other crude oil, natural gas or natural gas liquids (NGLs) conferences. Our two-day core curriculum includes an introduction to energy market fundamentals as well as a comprehensive analysis of current markets. We walk through key developments for each of the three hydrocarbons including the increasingly important links between them.  A set of spreadsheet models supplements the presentation materials. Today’s blog – fair warning this is an advertorial - introduces our latest online offering.

Wednesday, 02/19/2014

There is a common theme of surplus in US energy markets today with more natural gas, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and light sweet crude oil being produced than can be processed and consumed domestically. The likely destination of those surpluses is export markets – either directly or in the form of derivative products.  How should we think about these exports in the context of “energy independence”?   U.S. energy policy since the 1970s has been centered on the importance to national security of reducing dependence on foreign resources—the oft-touted, elusive goal of “energy independence.”  Today we examine whether a btu energy balance is a practical and effective measure of energy independence.

Thursday, 02/13/2014

One goal of the RBN blogosphere is to provide clarity to a highly intricate, interwoven energy complex.  Today we are going to tackle an aspect of energy markets that has vexed us for some time.  We’re going to explore some of the big numbers that are used to measure energy markets, what they mean to the oil patch (Cowtown, a.k.a., Fort Worth here in Texas is a good example of that) and to each of us as energy users.  So put on your thinking cap and tell your colleagues to leave you alone for five minutes.  We’re going to expand our minds.

Tuesday, 02/04/2014

The “polar vortex” of 2014 dipped far south enough to impact power markets in Texas. On Monday January 6th, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) came dangerously close to initiating rolling blackouts as power demand increased due to record low temperatures and unexpected generation unit outages. Real time electricity prices spiked to over $5,000/ Megawatt Hour (MWH). The close call served as a sobering reminder for Texas regulators of the ongoing debate over how the State will meet future power generation requirements. Today we detail the “polar vortex” event and explain the implications for Texas power. 

Tuesday, 10/22/2013

It’s back!   Back2Back.  Registration for RBN’s Spring 2014 School of Energy is now open.  Once again RBN is offering an intense curriculum of energy market fundamentals analysis covering the whys and hows of the most important developments in the crude oil, natural gas and NGL markets.  To keep the conference size manageable while accommodating a larger number of participants, we are doing two School of Energy conferences – Back2Back.   Content for the two conferences will be exactly the same, except like they say on TV…there’s more.  The first session will also include a special Extracurricular Activities (ECA) day, featuring a deep dive classroom session into international LPGs and a field trip to Mont Belvieu, TX.  Warning, this blog is a blatant commercial for our conference. 

Thursday, 08/08/2013

Three North Dakota electric utility companies are adding close to 800 MW of new generating capacity in the next five years. Unlike 68 percent of the State’s current generating capacity that uses coal fuel, the new plants will be powered by locally produced natural gas. The plants are needed in part to meet growing demand for power from Williston Basin oil and gas field services and infrastructure. A 2012 study sponsored by the North Dakota Transmission Authority estimates that demand in 45 Williston Basin counties will increase by 90 percent or 1000 MW between 2012 and 2017. Today we review regional power demand from the oil and gas industry.

Thursday, 05/09/2013

Last week (May 3 2013) a very late winter snowstorm crossed the Rocky Mountains into the upper Midwest, dropping over a foot of spring snow from Colorado to Wisconsin.  So-called winter Storm Achilles smashed snowfall records across the Upper Midwest. The storm was only the second May snowstorm on record for Kansas City and Des Moines.  Today we look at the impact of this year’s late winter weather on energy markets.

Tuesday, 04/09/2013

Last week our attention was drawn to the “State of Energy” report published by the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners (TIPRO).  Using Bureau of Labor quarterly census data the report provides a summary of state and national benefits attributed to growing US oil and gas production during 2012. For example, TIPRO reports that oil and gas industry employment increased by 65,000 to 971,000 in 2012.  But the benefits of increased production are not just confined to the oil and gas industry. According to a presentation by the Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy (ITCE) the shale revolution provided $237B of growth to the US economy in 2012. Today we look at how huge changes taking place in US energy supplies impact the wider economy.

Thursday, 03/07/2013

Does lightning strike twice?  How about three times?  Sure seems like the coal industry has been hit by three lightning bolts in the past several years: a recession that reduced demand for electrical power, low prices for competing fuels (i.e., natural gas), and new federal regulations on smokestack emissions.  Today we review regulations that have left coal power generators singing the smokestack blues.