When it comes to midstream development in the Northeast, Appalachian natural gas producers have learned by now not to hold their breath. The region is notorious for its staunch environmental opposition to hydrocarbon infrastructure and its propensity for sending gas pipeline projects to the trash pile. Against all odds, however, midstream development in the region has thawed in recent months, in large part spurred by the unlikely advancement of Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), the long-embattled project to move up to 2 Bcf/d from the Appalachia gas supply basin to the Transco Corridor, which runs north-south along the Eastern Seaboard. In today’s RBN blog, we take a look at historical flows on Williams’s Transco Pipeline and what they can tell us about how MVP and Transco’s own planned expansions might reshape gas flows along the corridor.
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.
With the final methane rule from the EPA released recently, we thought it worthwhile to take a quick look at the current state of emissions from the industry to contextualize the gains promised by the EPA. EPA publishes estimates of CH4 emissions from what they call the "Natural Gas System" in t
Data from RBN’s latest Crude Voyager report shows that nearly 4 MMb/d of crude oil were exported from U.S. Gulf Coast terminals in November, similar to the volumes loaded in October.
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Daily Energy Blog
Storage has long been a critically important balancing mechanism in the Lower 48 natural gas market. Now, after languishing for much of the Shale Era, storage values are coming out of the doldrums. The key driver behind this change is that, unlike in the old days, when the storage market was driven primarily by the intrinsic value of capacity — i.e., the need to sock away gas in the lower-demand summer months for use in the peak winter months — the value of storage is being driven almost exclusively by extrinsic economics — i.e., how flexible and responsive capacity allows market participants to manage supply and demand during short-term market swings. This flexibility and responsiveness have become increasingly important criteria for ensuring reliability as LNG export facilities and an increasingly renewables-heavy power sector navigate frequent demand fluctuations day to day, or even intraday, as well as during high-stakes, extreme weather events like 2021’s Winter Storm Uri. In today’s RBN blog, we delve into the fundamental shifts influencing today’s storage market.
Many governments around the world are looking for ways to incentivize reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and two approaches have received the most attention: cap-and-trade and a carbon tax. The European Union (EU) has chosen the former, Canada has opted for the latter, and the U.S. — well, that’s still to be determined. It’s logical for oil and gas producers, refiners and others in carbon-intensive industries to wonder, what does it all mean for us? In today’s RBN blog, we look at Canada’s carbon tax (which it refers to as a “carbon price”), explain how it works, and examine its current and future impacts on oil sands producers, bitumen upgraders and refiners.
If you’re vying for billions in federal dollars, a predictable selection process with measurable criteria is probably what you’re hoping to see. And while there was much speculation about what projects would be ultimately picked for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) regional clean hydrogen hubs initiative, H2Hubs, the selections made October 13 included no curve balls and matched the agency’s previous guidance. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll look at the selections and how they fit into the DOE’s stated criteria.
Second chances don’t always come around, but when they do, you’d do well to learn from your previous experiences and make the most of them. For the Petra Nova carbon-capture/enhanced-oil-recovery (EOR) project southwest of Houston, its previous three-year run largely confirmed the preconceived notions of critics as a highly touted project that fell short of expectations for a variety of economic and technical reasons. But it also enjoyed some significant successes, and now the facility has been given a second life, courtesy of a new owner and higher oil prices. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the long-awaited restart of the Petra Nova project, what its owner hopes to gain from it, and what it could mean for the carbon-capture industry.
It makes perfect sense, really. If you’re planning to build a large, low-carbon ammonia production facility that’s targeting the export market, why not site it alongside the Gulf Coast’s leading deepwater ammonia terminal? That helps to explain why INPEX Corp., LSB Industries, Air Liquide and Vopak Moda Houston — the last a joint venture of Royal Vopak and Moda Midstream that recently developed the ammonia terminal — are collaborating on the development of a planned 1.1 million ton per annum (1.1 MMtpa) clean ammonia production plant along the Houston Ship Channel. In today’s RBN blog, we discuss the proposed production facility, the markets its clean ammonia would serve, and the benefits of building the project at an existing terminal.
Sometimes, courtship is better the second time around. After some previous rumors and flirting with a deal in the spring of 2023, ExxonMobil, the largest international integrated oil company, reached an agreement to acquire Pioneer Natural Resources, the largest pure-play Permian producer, for $64.5 billion, the largest-ever U.S. upstream transaction. In today’s blog, we analyze the deal that would make ExxonMobil the top Permian producer, including shifts in the focus and depth of its upstream portfolio, the integration with its existing midstream and downstream infrastructure, and its energy transition goals.
The uncertainties around solar power are well understood. When the sun doesn’t shine as much as expected, power grids that rely heavily on solar must turn elsewhere to meet consumer demand. And while a shortfall in solar generation can be tricky to navigate, the difference between actual and forecast levels is typically only a few percentage points, and power grids are usually ready and able to make up any difference. But what happens when the daytime sun is obscured for hours at a time? Much of the U.S. is about to find out. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll preview the path of the October 14 solar eclipse, detail its expected impact on the generation of electricity, and describe what steps are being taken to keep power grids performing as usual.
New England is hell-bent on decarbonizing quickly, and it’s been making some progress. But like it or not, the region still depends heavily on natural gas for both power generation and space heating, and gas supplies are stretched to the limit during periods of extreme winter demand. Worse yet, the Everett LNG import terminal, which for years has fed a big, soon-to-close gas-fired power station and supported the Boston area’s gas grid, may be on the verge of shutting down. Well, help may finally be on the way. Enbridge recently proposed an expansion to its 3-Bcf/d Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline system. The question is, can it get built in a region notorious for its opposition to energy infrastructure projects? In today’s RBN blog, we discuss Enbridge’s Project Maple and the role it could play in New England’s aggressive plan to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Merger-and-acquisition (M&A) activity in Canada’s oil and gas sector has accelerated this year compared to 2022. With crude oil prices generally strengthening over the course of 2023, it should come as no surprise that the focus of much of this activity has been crude oil- and NGL-producing companies and assets. As we discuss in today’s RBN blog, several large deals have been announced and many have already closed, including a complex arrangement involving Suncor and production ownership in the oil sands that only recently concluded after six months of uncertainty, with more deals expected before the year is over.
Appalachian natural gas producers and marketers are adapting to a new status quo — a world where new pipeline takeaway capacity out of the Northeast is hard to come by and is more or less capped ad infinitum. Without the assurance of pipeline expansions, regional gas producers are no longer drilling with abandon in hopes that the capacity will eventually get built. Instead, producers are practicing restraint by slowing drilling activity, delaying completions and choking back producing wells to manage their inventory during periods of lower demand and prices. In today’s RBN blog, we consider what this new playbook will mean for pricing trends in the supply basin.
LNG feedgas demand has averaged a record of about 12 Bcf/d this summer and fall. While that may sound like an impressive number (and it is), it could increase significantly — even without new capacity additions — over the next few months as seasonal demand rises and maintenance activity slows. And that’s just for starters. Next year, the first of several planned LNG export terminals and expansions of existing ones will start commissioning, and by the end of this decade feedgas demand may well double. In today’s RBN blog, we look at how current LNG feedgas demand stacks up compared to past years, the factors driving current demand, and the potential for additional upside.
Even now, three-plus years after the start of the oil and gas industry’s biggest consolidation in a quarter century, hardly a month goes by without another major M&A announcement. Just this week, Civitas Resources said it will acquire acreage and production in the Permian from Vencer Energy for $2.1 billion. The primary drivers of these deals — many of which are valued in the billions of dollars — are clear. Among other things, E&Ps are seeking scale and the economies of scale that come with it. They also have come to believe that it makes more sense to grow production through M&A than through aggressive capital spending. And, for some producers not yet involved in the all-important Permian, acquiring even a smaller E&P there provides a foothold to build on. In today’s RBN blog, we discuss highlights from our newly released Drill Down report on the past 12 months of upstream M&A activity in the U.S. oil patch.
Just as homeowners in parts of the Northeast are thinking about turning on the heat again, the market for heating oil, diesel and other middle distillates in PADD 1 is unusually tight. Inventories are hovering near their five-year lows; prices are up sharply; and the near-term prospects for rebuilding stocks are modest at best. For one thing, the import-dependent region can’t rely on them as much as it used to; for another, at least a couple of in-region and nearby Canadian refineries the Northeast counts on are offline for major turnarounds. In today’s RBN blog, we discuss the latest developments in PADD 1’s distillates market.
U.S. oil, natural gas and NGL markets are more interconnected than ever — with each other and with global dynamics. The deep connections we see today have evolved in the 15 years since the start of the Shale Revolution, and in recognizing how the various segments have impacted one another, we can better explain how they are driving today’s markets. That was the focus of our Fall 2023 School of Energy and it’s the subject of today’s RBN blog, which (warning) is a blatant advertorial for School of Energy Encore, a newly available online version of our recent conference.
Government forecasts are predicting a sharp drop in natural gas demand in the power sector in the coming decades based on an expectation that the renewable capacity build-out will accelerate and displace other sources. However, forecasts in the past decade have consistently and severely underestimated gas burn for power. In today’s RBN blog, we consider the pitfalls of forecasting gas consumption in a world often focused on pushing a renewables-heavy generation stack.