RBN Energy

As mightily as U.S. LNG exports have impacted global trade dynamics, so have U.S. natural gas flows been reshaped by the pull toward Gulf Coast export terminals. The next new terminal on deck is Venture Global’s enormous Plaquemines facility in Louisiana, which could begin taking feedgas as early as late fall 2024 and will eventually ramp up to more than 2.6 Bcf/d. For Southeast Louisiana, home to a massive industrial corridor along the Mississippi River as well as the U.S. natural gas benchmark Henry Hub, the introduction of such a huge source of demand will change how gas flows into and out of the region — with knock-on effects across the Gulf Coast. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll turn once again to our Arrow Model to help illuminate what the path forward may look like. 

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 John Abeln - Tuesday, 2/20/2024 (3:00 pm)

Equitrans Midstream announced on Tuesday (2/20) that completion of the Mountain Valley Pipeline would be delayed until the second quarter of 2024.

By Albert Marc Passy - Tuesday, 2/20/2024 (2:30 pm)

Kyushu Electric Power (Kyuden), a large Japanese electric utility, and large importer of LNG for those power plants, has announced that directly as a result of the Biden Administration's pause on LNG export licenses, they will be suspending any decision on investing in Energy Transfer's 16.5 mmtp

Daily Energy Blog

Category:
Crude Oil

The price discount for Western Canada’s benchmark heavy crude oil has seen yet another widening in the past few months. Increased pipeline access to the U.S. was believed to be the key to solving this problem in the long term, but more recent fundamental developments surrounding pipeline egress, refinery demand and increasing heavy oil supplies demonstrate that larger discounts can — and do — still happen. This problem could persist for several more months until a better balance is achieved in downstream markets. In today’s RBN blog, we discuss the latest drivers of the wider price discounts for Western Canada’s heavy oil. 

Category:
Natural Gas

Six months ago, the U.S. West Coast natural gas market looked like it was in dire straits. A harsh winter had depleted stocks to the lowest level in over a decade and it seemed like the region would be hard-pressed to refill storage to a reasonable level, given limited and constrained pipeline options to flow incremental gas west. Instead, a combination of mild weather and operational changes eased demand and pipeline constraints, and Pacific Region storage staged a remarkable comeback this summer. In today’s RBN blog, we delve into how the region escaped a worst-case scenario heading into the heating season. 

Category:
Natural Gas Liquids

Phillips 66 is probably best known for its fleet of complex refineries, but the Houston-based company also is involved in marketing, chemicals and midstream services. In fact, P66 is one of only a handful of midstreamers offering the full range of “well-to-market” or “well-to-water” NGL services — everything from associated-gas gathering systems and gas processing to NGL pipelines, storage, fractionators and export facilities. And P66’s standing among NGL midstream providers has only been enhanced by the recent doubling of its ownership interest in DCP Midstream. In today’s RBN blog, we continue our series on major NGL networks with a look at P66’s NGL-related assets, most of which run from the Rockies, West Texas and South Texas to the NGL hubs in Mont Belvieu and Old Ocean, TX. 

Category:
Natural Gas

LNG export projects looking to take a positive final investment decision (FID) need to sell a high proportion of their nameplate capacity under long-term contracts to ensure sufficient cash flows to underpin the project and obtain financing. U.S.-based projects (new and expansions) totaling more than 350 million tons per annum (MMtpa, 48.3 Bcf/) — against a current global market of 400 MMtpa (52.9 Bcf/d) — are vying for creditworthy offtakers from multiple markets in their pre-FID deliberations. The sense of urgency among project sponsors has been boosted by the Russia/Ukraine war and a potentially resurgent Chinese economy, both of which should promise a bright future for new projects. Plenty of those have reached FID in the last couple of years, but what is holding others back from taking the same step? In today’s RBN blog, we’ll look at some of the factors impacting those decisions and the long-term implications that flow from them. 

Category:
Renewables

Every state has its unique set of advantages and challenges, but very few face the number of contrasts that makes New York and its ambitious decarbonization goals so interesting. The Empire State ranks fourth in population (behind California, Texas and Florida) and is home to the biggest city in the country, yet most of the state would be considered rural. It has the nation's third-largest economy, but because its key industries — including financial and business services — are not energy-intensive, and many in the New York City area use mass transit, its per-capita energy use is lower than all but two states (Hawaii and Rhode Island). And while the state gets about 30% of its power from renewable sources (most of it large-scale hydropower), solar and wind generation are still very limited there. In today’s RBN blog, we look at how the state’s plans to ramp up renewable generation — which have long been plagued by problems with incentives, permitting and project cancellations — are running headlong into the difficulties of adding so many resources in a short period of time.  

Category:
Renewables

When Navigator CO2 Ventures decided to pull the plug on its long-planned Heartland Greenway project, a vast network that would have captured carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from dozens of ethanol producers in the Midwest and Great Plains then piped them hundreds of miles for permanent sequestration, it was a significant setback for the Biden administration’s climate goals. More than that, it showed how large-scale carbon-capture projects face opposition from seemingly all sides and how the lack of a meaningful regulatory framework at the federal level only adds to the industry’s challenges. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the Heartland Greenway cancellation, what it says about the future of similar projects, and what regulatory changes might be needed at the federal level to make large-scale carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) a reality. 

Category:
Natural Gas

Certified or differentiated natural gas — an upgrade from the old “responsibly sourced gas” — is on the rise. More and more producers, pipeline companies, gas utilities and LNG exporters and buyers want their gas to be certified as having a lower emissions profile, and for a variety of reasons, chief among them achieving their ESG goals and winning over ESG-minded investors and customers. But while there’s a consensus that methane and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can and should be reduced significantly, there are differing views about the best ways to monitor wells, pipelines and other infrastructure for methane leaks, measure total emissions, and ensure that emission reductions are real and sustainable. In today’s RBN blog, we continue our deep dive on certified/differentiated gas with a look at the approaches the leading certification/differentiation entities and others are taking in emission monitoring, measuring and scoring. 

Category:
Natural Gas

Continued growth in Permian crude oil production can’t happen without sufficient infrastructure — not just takeaway capacity for crude, natural gas and NGLs but also the capacity to process the fast-increasing volumes of associated gas being produced in the Midland and Delaware basins. The incremental need for processing capacity is enormous, as evidenced by the ongoing, almost frenetic build-out of gas processing plants across the Permian. More than 1 Bcf/d of new capacity is slated to come online by the end of this year, with another 1.9 Bcf/d in the first half of 2024 and another 1.8 Bcf/d after that. In today’s RBN blog, we discuss the race to add processing plants in key locations in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico and the drivers behind it. 

Category:
Financial

Rumors about potential oil and gas mergers are always swirling, but the announcement of ExxonMobil’s record-breaking deal to acquire Pioneer Natural Resources a couple of weeks ago generated a fever pitch of speculation about potential matchups. In the past week, we’ve seen media reports of possible courtships between Devon Energy and Marathon Oil and then Chesapeake Energy and Southwestern Energy. However, it was Chevron that shocked the oil patch by swiping right on former integrated oil company Hess Corp., opting for a $60 billion acquisition of an E&P with no Permian Basin exposure. In today’s RBN blog, we analyze the drivers and implications of what is now the second-largest U.S. upstream transaction ever. 

Category:
Renewables

Plans to greatly expand the production of low-carbon energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be found just about everywhere, from national and international policy discussions to debates at the state and local levels. Given the potential for dramatic economic, social, and geopolitical impacts over the coming decades, it’s no surprise that top-down mandates for a transition to a more renewables-centric energy mix and away from fossil fuels can stir up concern over the pace, scale, and ultimate effectiveness of such a massive undertaking. In some places, like California, critical voices are largely drowned out. In other spots, apprehension may fester just below the surface. But in a state like Texas that identifies so closely with the energy industry, the conversation is right out in the open. In today’s RBN blog, we look at how that debate is playing out in Texas, where renewable energy is booming in a state known for fossil fuels. 

Category:
Financial

Ongoing M&A activity in the upstream portion of the oil and gas industry has garnered a lot of attention, most recently regarding ExxonMobil’s planned $64.5 billion acquisition of Pioneer Natural Resources. But there’s also been a lot of consolidation in the midstream space as the companies that gather, process, transport, store and export hydrocarbons seek to gain the scale, scope and synergies they think they will need to succeed in an increasingly competitive industry. In today’s RBN blog, we discuss highlights from our newly released Drill Down report on the major midstream deals of 2022 and 2023 to date. 

Category:
Natural Gas

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. 

Category:
Refined Fuels

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. 

Category:
Renewables

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. 

Category:
Renewables

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.