Plummeting demand due to the coronavirus outbreak has pushed US liquefied natural gas exports to a 20-month low of 4.1 billion cubic feet per day in June, with volumes averaging 3.1 Bcf/d so far in July, Refinitiv data show. US LNG plant utilization has dropped from 85%-90% last year to just 32% month-to-date, and LNG exports are only expected to grow by roughly 7% this year.
Energy Transfer continues to schedule shipments for August and currently is not emptying the Dakota Access oil pipeline as ordered by the US District Court for the District of Columbia. Energy Transfer believes Judge James Boasberg "exceeded his authority and does not have the jurisdiction to shut down the pipeline or stop the flow of crude oil." The company is requesting the decision be frozen pending an appeal.
A glut in liquefied natural gas is leaving little room for price growth, especially during the hot summer months. US producers are faced with a collapse in European prices.
US crude inventories increased by 5.7 million barrels last week, despite analyst expectations for a 3.7-million-barrel decline, according to the Energy Information Administration. Gasoline stockpiles were down by 4.8 million barrels, while distillate supplies added 3.1 million barrels.
Mexican crude oil exports to the US jumped by 834,000 barrels per day to an eight-year high of about 1.3 million bpd in the week of July 3, according to the Energy Information Administration. Buyers included Lyondell Basell Industries, Valero Energy, Marathon Petroleum and Shell.
AT&T and Accenture are providing a private 5G cellular network proof of concept to support industrial internet of things deployments at Phillips 66's Belle Chasse refinery. The technology will be used for such tasks as tracking capacity and inspection of oil distillation units.
The number of drilling permits issued by the Railroad Commission of Texas fell from 1,001 in June 2019 to just 312 last month, of which 157 permits were for new oil and gas wells in the Midland district. Total well completions processed so far this year are 7,930, an increase from 5,050 during the same period of 2019.
Associated natural gas production from major US shale plays has risen to the highest level since early May so far this month as producers are beginning to restore shut-in oil production. Gas output in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale has jumped by about 430 million cubic feet per day and 300 MMcf/d, respectively, from June, while the Denver-Julesburg Basin and the Bakken Shale recorded increases of 140 MMcf/d and 130 MMcf/d, respectively.
US producers could restart all shut-in production by the end of September if oil prices hold around $40 per barrel, Morgan Stanley researchers predict. "With WTI now back around $40/bbl, pipeline flows suggest around 1 million b/d of curtailments have been reversed over the past few weeks," the researchers said.
California regulators have approved 48 new hydraulic fracturing permits since lifting a fracking moratorium in April, including 12 permits issued last week for Chevron, which is looking to frack in the Lost Hills Oil Field in Kern County. The approvals sparked outrage from Center of Biological Diversity attorney Hollin Kretzmann, who argues that fracking has negative effects on air quality and disproportionate health impacts on low-income families and communities of color.
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