US crude inventories posted a decline of 2.5 million barrels in the week ended Friday, beating analysts' forecast for a 2-million-barrel drop, according to the Energy Information Administration. Gasoline supplies plunged by 600,000 barrels, while distillate stocks climbed by 1.1 million barrels.
Tropical Storm Cindy has forced Gulf of Mexico energy companies to shut 17% of oil production while vessel offloadings at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port marine terminal have been put on hold. Shipping activity in the Gulf is expected to be the most affected by the storm, whereas natural gas production operations will remain largely intact.
Oil prices will likely continue to fall in the coming period, setting the stage for a limited rally once the US rig count stabilizes, which should happen within the next four weeks, writes John Kemp. Until stabilization occurs, oil traders will likely continue to act as a drag on oil prices in an attempt to force US shale drillers to slow down drilling activity, Kemp writes.
Noble Midstream Partners has agreed to boost its stakes in two midstream firms operating in the Delaware Basin and the Denver-Julesburg Basin in a $270 million deal with Noble Energy. Upon completion of the deal, Noble Midstream will be the sole owner of Colorado River DevCo and will also hold 40% of Blanco River DevCo, up from 25%.
US District Judge James Boasberg on Wednesday scheduled a series of hearings through the summer to determine whether the Dakota Access Pipeline should be shut down while the US Army Corps of Engineers more thoroughly reviews the project. A lawyer for the US Army Corps gave no time frame for completing the additional environmental review.
Oil's plunge into bear market territory is helping investors differentiate between healthy shale drillers and the weak ones. Producers with solid finances will likely continue to ramp up production and turn the low oil prices into an opportunity to scoop up cheaper acreage while weak, indebted producers will be forced to scale back activity.
The value of mergers and acquisitions in the US exploration and production sector declined from about $23 billion in the first quarter to less than $15 billion in the second quarter, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. "Management teams are taking a more conservative view on M&A activity and that will extend through the end of 2017," Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Vincent Piazza said, citing uncertainty over the future of oil prices as one of the reasons.
Colorado's shale industry has changed from a burden on the state's economy into a boon, helping it become the top economy in the US and achieve the lowest unemployment rate on record, according to a state economic report. Colorado's oil and natural gas industry is on the upswing, but Gov. John Hickenlooper said it would be challenging to maintain the momentum.
A new mobile app, the Risk Based Data Management System WellFinder, allows users to search oil and natural gas well permit numbers, well types, production data and regulatory and emergency contacts. The app, which the Ground Water Protection Council launched in May, includes data from nine states and is helping field inspectors, industry members and residents.
Norway offered 93 oil and natural gas exploration blocks in the Barents Sea and nine in the Norwegian Sea in a licensing round Wednesday. The country proposed a record number of blocks in the Arctic Barents Sea despite the Norwegian Environment Agency's recommendation to remove about 20 of them near Bear Island, where Arctic birds have a nesting place.
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