The supply of crude oil appears to be rising faster than demand based on the large gap between the current physical price of oil compared to oil futures. The price of actual barrels as measured by Dated Brent is trading at the steepest discount to Brent-crude futures in more than a decade, suggesting "there are no buyers," said S&P Global Platts head of analytics Chris Midgley.
Rig workers in the Gulf of Mexico work in close quarters, which makes for difficult and stressful times amid the coronavirus outbreak. BP has moved all non-essential staff from its Thunder Horse rig in the Gulf, while Chevron is only operating with essential staff at all of its Gulf facilities.
The Public Investment Fund -- Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund -- has invested $1 billion across four European oil companies -- Eni, Equinor, Royal Dutch Shell and Total -- it believes are undervalued. The fund invested $200 million in Equinor, but it remains unclear the exact amount invested in the other companies.
Rystad Energy estimates the number of rigs operating in the US could fall by 65% from 620 in mid-March to 200. Much of the fall will take place this month as the current reaction is happening much more rapidly than in previous land rig down cycles in the US, says Artem Abramov, head of shale research.
Crude inventories in the US saw the largest ever weekly build -- adding 15.18 million barrels -- during the week ended April 3, the EIA reports. Activity in Cushing, Okla., was responsible for much of the gain, with crude stock rising 6.42 million barrels for the week.
Saudi Arabia must act now to help stabilize oil prices or risk "reciprocal responses" from the US government, such as a scale-back of joint military efforts and possible sanctions, a group of Republican US Representatives warned in a letter to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. American Petroleum Institute president Mike Sommers says tariffs would jeopardize free trade and adds that the current oil oversupply is "80 percent a demand issue related to the coronavirus" and production will naturally decline.
Marathon Oil has said it will cut its 2020 budget by $1.1 billion, putting its planned spending at $1.3 billion. During the second quarter, the company will take "frac holidays" in the Bakken and Eagle Ford shales as it cuts back drilling, CEO Lee Tillman says.
Oil drillers in the US have announced cuts to their budgets that total more than $27 billion, but most -- including Pioneer Natural Resources and EOG Resources -- are planning to either grow production rates or remain level in 2020 versus last year. However, further production cuts are likely as demand continues to weaken, storage limits are reached and much of the supply reaches shut-in levels during the second quarter, Piper Sandler analysts predict.
SDX Energy says it has found an estimated 24 billion cubic feet equivalent of recoverable natural gas and condensate at its onshore Sobhi well in Egypt. The company, which drilled the well 2,208 meters deep, says it's preparing to test the well and later will tie it into another site that has flow lines connecting to the South Disouq Central Processing Facility.
Equinor has received approval from the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Industry for the proposed North Sea Hywind Tampen floating wind farm. The $448 million project, which will help power five oil and natural gas platforms and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, will include 11 wind turbines installed in water depths of up to 300 meters, Equinor says.
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