Oregon's House of Representatives on Monday voted 42-12 in favor of a 10-year prohibition on hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas exploration, advancing the measure to the state's Senate. No fracking takes place in Oregon at the moment, but coalbed methane extraction is said to be possible in the state's Willamette Valley.
The Energy Information Administration projects that US shale oil production will increase by 85,000 barrels per day during April and reach a total of 8.59 million bpd. The Permian Basin is expected to account for nearly half of that growth.
Surging oil production in the red-hot Permian Basin has given rise to a $34 billion annual market for water management, the latest frontier for private equity firms including Ares Management, TPG Capital and Blackstone Energy Partners. As the cost of water used to frack Permian Basin wells is expected to climb 17% to $14 billion this year, private equity investors have embarked on a multibillion-dollar race to build water infrastructure in the region and profit from the lucrative water business.
Williams Cos. and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board have established a $3.8 billion joint venture that will have pipeline assets in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, including the Utica East Ohio Midstream and Ohio Valley Midstream systems. "This joint venture will provide CPPIB additional exposure to the attractive North American natural gas market, aligning with our growing focus on energy transition," said CPPIB's Avik Dey.
Excess supplies of associated natural gas in the Permian Basin could be liquefied and exported, putting an end to or at least minimizing wasteful gas flaring in the region, said Matt Schatzman, president and CEO of liquefied natural gas terminal developer NextDecade, at CERAWeek. "LNG is going to be a major part of helping to resolve this gas issue so producers can attain flow assurances so they can produce the much more valuable oil, which is driving the economics of the entire development in the Permian," Schatzman said.
News that Permian Basin producer Legacy Reserves is reviewing strategic options, including a full or partial sale, triggered a stock sell-off that erased 56% of the company's market value on Thursday. It was the biggest intraday share price decline in over 10 years.
US natural gas production increased 11% year-on-year in 2018, the strongest rate of growth on record, with gross withdrawals averaging 101.3 billion cubic feet per day, while marketed and dry gas output also hit records of 89.6 bcf/d and 83.4 bcf/d, respectively. Total natural gas exports climbed 14% to 9.9 bcf/d, while shipments of liquefied natural gas rose 53% to 3 bcf/d.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said in a final environmental impact statement for Texas LNG's proposed liquefied natural gas export project in Brownsville, Texas, that any adverse impacts on the environment could be mitigated. However, the FERC warned of "permanent" and "significant" cumulative impacts on three endangered species when other proposed energy projects in the area are taken into account.
Trafigura's plans for a deepwater oil export terminal along the American Gulf Coast could face a delay of at least a month as the Maritime Administration and Coast Guard paused the project's review until the company provides more details. Trafigura spokeswoman Victoria Dix said such events happen frequently in regulatory reviews "to ensure officials have adequate time to review materials or to allow the applicant to provide additional information."
North Dakota drillers pumped 1.4 million barrels of oil per day in January, down slightly from December's record levels, reported the state's Mineral Resources Department. Meanwhile, natural gas output climbed 2.6% in January to an all-time high of 2.7 billion cubic feet per day.