A group in Alaska has submitted a ballot proposal that, if approved by voters, would impose higher taxes on oil production in an effort to close the state's budget deficit. The initiative would raise production taxes for the industry by up to $2 billion and steer investment away from the state, BP warned.
Despite a 12% decline in the US oil rig count from year-ago levels, domestic oil production continues to flirt with record levels and remains on a healthy trendline even though the pace of increases has slowed. The continued growth can be attributed to a spike in well completions, which rose from 1,277 in July 2018 to 1,411 last month.
Oil price volatility coupled with the shale industry's shaky financial condition are discouraging investors from buying junk-rated energy bonds even as issuance of such bonds has jumped by about 30% year-on-year. The US high-yield energy default rate has risen from 4.1% to 5.7% this month in wake of bankruptcy filings by some shale producers, and that figure will likely approach 10%, UBS analysts said.
Canadian oil producer Encana is stepping up its efforts in the Permian Basin with plans to drill 14 horizontal wells on its Neal 39 leases in Upton County, Texas. The wells will target the Spraberry formation to a depth of 10,300 feet.
US independent drillers have boosted hedges in the second quarter to shield against oil price fluctuations and bolster their bottom lines. Occidental Petroleum has hedged 40% of its output for 2020 and 2021, Whiting Petroleum has covered 59% of its production for the rest of the year, while Pioneer Natural Resources, Laredo Petroleum and Parsley Energy have also rushed to lock in higher prices for their barrels.
New Mexico's revenues for the budget year that ended June 30 are expected to come in at a record $7.8 billion, thanks in large part to the oil boom taking place in the Permian Basin. Oil drilling activity has helped push total state revenue collections through April about $273 million above projections, the latest Legislative Finance Committee revenue tracking report shows.
Wind gusts strong enough to shake the ground could register seismic activity, according to a study conducted on the San Jacinto fault zone near Anza, Calif. The results of the study can help scientists better understand why non-earthquakes get recorded and improve the detection of small events, said Adam Ringler, a geophysicist with the US Geological Survey.
At least 72% of large earthquakes over a nine-year period began with smaller quakes underground, according to a study by led by seismologist Daniel Trugman from Los Alamos National Laboratory. The findings could lead to better forecasting of earthquakes by detecting micro-quakes near fault lines.
US petroleum consumption climbed 0.9% from a year ago to average 20.8 million barrels per day in July, the highest level for the month going back to 2005, while year-to-date oil production was at a record 12 million bpd, according to the American Petroleum Institute. "The continued ability of U.S. production to meet the world's increasing energy needs is a testament to the shale revolution," said API Chief Economist Dean Foreman.
The Energy Information Administration expects US refiners to process a gross 17 million barrels per day on average this year, down from 17.3 million bpd in 2018, in what would mark the first annual decline in 10 years. However, an anticipated jump in refining capacity and utilization will likely push refinery runs to 17.6 million bpd in 2020.