U.S. crude oil, NGL and gas markets have entered a new era. Exports now dominate the supply/demand equilibrium. These markets simply would not clear at today’s production levels, much less at the flow rates coming over the next few years, if not for access to global markets. This year, the U.S. may export 20-25% of domestic crude production, 15% of natural gas and 40% of NGLs from gas processing, and those percentages will continue to ramp up. What will this massive shift in energy flows mean for U.S. markets, and for that matter, for the rest of the world? The best way to answer that question is to get the major players together under one roof and figure it out. That’s the plan for Energy xPortCon 2019. Warning!: Today’s blog is a blatant advertorial for our upcoming conference.

A few weeks back Rusty Braziel sat down with Don Stowers, Chief Editor of Pennwell’s Oil & Gas Financial Journal, to talk about the big picture – some of the most important issues facing the oil and gas industry, the lasting impact of the Shale Revolution, and Rusty’s thoughts from 40-plus years in the energy business.  It turned into the cover story of their June 2016 issue.  Today, we recap a few of the interview questions. You can download the full article (along with Rusty’s smiling face on the cover) at the bottom of the blog.

RBN’s School of Energy is headed north – all the way to Calgary.  We have reworked, restructured and reorganized the curriculum to make the conference better than ever.  And we guarantee it will be way cooler than our Houston Schools. We call it a Remix, because 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 of course, all the course content has been updated to reflect the big changes in markets and pricing over the past few months.   Warning, today’s blog is a blatant commercial for our Calgary conference.

RBN has been in the blogging business for almost three years, and ever since we started these postings one of the most frequent complaints we’ve heard is that “It doesn’t work on my iPhone”.  Finally we are fixing that, and many more things too.  But as with anything new delivered by internet, there are some things you need to know.  So today is a blog about blogs, to make sure all of our members know what we are changing and how to take maximum advantage of our new website’s capabilities.

Drones first made a name for themselves in the military, not just for their ability to remotely map and monitor but—when properly equipped—to target and kill. But drones are breaking through to the civilian side, and no commercial sector is more eager to explore their potential than the oil and gas industry. Some already are beginning to do so, especially in Canada, which is years ahead of the US in permitting civilian use of drones. But the US is catching up, with BP now testing drones at its operations in Prudhoe Bay, AK. In this blog, we examine what drones can do, how they already are helping the oil and gas industry, and what lies ahead.

Consistent lower natural gas prices resulting from the boom in shale production are expected to fuel a major increase in industrial demand over the coming years. RBN expects that sector’s demand to increase by 5 Bcf/d from 19 Bcf/d in 2013 to 24 Bcf/d in 2025. There have been numerous announcements of new plant builds and expanded capacity projects in primary industries. Less well documented are the wider ramifications of abundant shale natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) supplies for US manufacturing industry as a whole. Today in the first of a two part series Taylor Robinson from PLG Consulting outlines the changes underpinning a new industrial renaissance.

Many who write about hydraulic fracturing suggest, or state explicitly, that it is a new technology in the oil and gas industry. This can hardly be further from the truth. Indeed, it is probably the case that hydraulic fracturing is older than most of the people writing about it.  Today we begin a series on hydraulic fracturing and why it has had such a significant impact on gas and oil production over the past few years.

Natural gas and oil development, especially in shale plays that require a lot of wells and a lot of activity, can be inconvenient and noisy.  There are also, of course, various criticisms and protests around some of the processes used, such as hydraulic fracturing, and around the overall level of activity, such as truck traffic.  The gas and oil producing industry values strong relationships with the communities where it needs to work, and can use all the friends it can get as it takes the lead in developing the nation’s vast energy resource.  Bringing big economic benefits to those communities, which are often rural or industrial areas hard-hit by economic downturns, is clearly really important in the efforts to build those relationships and friendships.  There are a lot of different kinds of economic benefits deriving from supply development, but by far the most important to the affected landowners are the royalties resulting from private mineral rights.  Today we continue our examination of the inner workings of oil and mineral rights issues, this time considering some common oil and gas royalty disputes.

RBN Energy is branching out!  Today we are launching our new premium services package called Backstage Pass.  Just like it sounds, this new service gets you deep into the details of the data and models we put together at RBN, providing what we believe is a whole new level of information access, insights and connections across energy markets.  Don’t panic.  The blog is still free.  But if you are like the many RBN members that have asked for a much broader range of services, then you will be happy to learn that the answer is now ‘yes’.  We are rolling out the service with what we believe is the definitive study assessing the crude-by-rail phenomenon.  Learn everything you need to know about our new premium services in today’s blog.  But be warned, this is an unabashed commercial plug for our new service.  We hope you find it intriguing.

So you are feeling pretty good about 2014, eh?  Stock market on a tear.  Most U.S. energy markets relatively stable.  Gaps in the oil and gas infrastructure getting filled.  Well let’s not get cocky.  U.S. energy markets are still in the middle of a revolutionary transformation from shortage to surplus.  Where there are big shifts, there are big market disruptions.  And in such disruptions, there are always winners and losers.   You don’t want to be on the short end of that stick.  So in our time honored tradition – the second year in a row – we again stick our collective RBN necks out to peer into the crystal ball to see what 2014 may hold.   

On this, the last day of 2013 we thought it would be interesting to look back at the 250 or so RBN blogs posted this year to see which ones had the highest hit rates.  When a blog article gets a lot of hits – some up to 17,000 or more – it tells you something about what is going on in the market.  So like we did last year, we’ll take a page out of Casey Kasem’s playbook to look back at the top blogs of 2013 based on numbers of website hits.  


Rusty’s Introduction

As a general rule here at RBN, we try to avoid hot button issues like environmental policy.  We have good friends on all sides of these issues, so our practice has been to steer clear of debates where the relationship between facts and outcomes can be subject to so much interpretation.  However, today we make an exception for a blog by Keith Bailey, a highly respected leader in our industry who serves on the boards of MarkWest Energy, Aegis Insurance Services, Cloud Peak Energy, Apco International Oil and Gas, and by the way, was CEO of The Williams Companies when I worked for that company more than a few years back.   Today Keith contemplates the issue of climate change from the vantage point of someone who has been around the track in energy markets and thinks deeply about the big picture issues.

It’s time!   Registration for RBN’s *Summer* School of Energy is open.  Once again RBN Energy 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.  This time the course is hot.  Really hot.  Because we are holding the conference in the middle of July in Houston.  And we’ve expanded the content to include an optional Preschool that consists of a half-day deep dive into the (hot) condensate markets, and another half day for a tour of (very hot) Mont Belvieu.   There is more - much more that we’ll review below.  And BTW, if this sounds like an unabashed commercial for our conference, that’s because it is.  You have been warned!

Last week we held the first RBN School of Energy at the St. Regis hotel in Houston.  Based on the feedback we received it was a huge success, achieving the goals we laid out for the conference.  Today we’ll report on the conference itself, and review some of the most important points covered in the curriculum.  Warning, this blog could (and should) be considered an advertorial, so read at your own risk.

News flash!  ---Rail transportation has become a very big deal in the business of transporting crude oil, NGLs and petroleum products!!----The whole world does not revolve around pipelines!   Yup, the media has discovered that hydrocarbons can ride the rails.   Never mind that liquid hydrocarbons have been moving in tank cars for 150 years.   The news is that rail is having a market impact like never before.  And that is because there has been a strategic shift in the way rail transportation is being used by the petroleum industry.   In Part II of our series we’ll dissect the strategies being used and discuss how things are evolving in the world of tank cars.