Shale Enters a New Phase
US crude oil production will reach a record level of 12.29 million B/D in 2019, increasing faster than expected both this year and in 2020, according to the latest US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast. Output will rise to 13.29 million B/D next year.
Sustainability and environmental issues played a key part in the content at two of SPE’s recent major conferences.
Reshaping Energy Markets
The US shale sector continues to disrupt global oil markets. Soaring US crude production and the resulting exports to Asia and Europe, are transforming worldwide trade flows and changing how consumer countries price crude.
After the oil price downturn, operators placed renewed emphasis on spending discipline, in drilling, project costs, and balance sheets. For some, that was a different metric: return to shareholders over production growth.
Market Remains Out of Balance
Five years since the start of the precipitous oil price drop that led to the industry’s worst recession since the 1980s, the oil market is still struggling with supply/demand balances and price stability.
In Search of Profitability
With the shale industry still awash in red ink, and oil prices falling, it may take more consolidation to try to bring some financial stability to the sector.
Although the shale sector continues to thrive, the pace of deepwater E&P is now gradually picking up.
The Rise of LNG
Natural gas, often hailed as the bridge to an energy future that will include greater demand for alternative energy supplies, may be poised to overtake oil as the globe’s primary fuel source in the next decade.
Shale's Second Act
Another industry report issued last month touts the coming gains in US shale, predicting that the country will soon be the largest oil producer and possibly exporter in the world.
A Lot to Be Proud Of
Last year, the SPE Board of Directors approved a new 5-year Strategic Plan, a blueprint to provide guidance on how the association can meet the needs and expectations of its members and the industry over the next several years.
A Year of Uncertainty
Late December/early January is the time of year when industry outlooks are announced, revealing company spending plans, oil price predictions, and potential stumbling blocks.
Revival for Carbon Capture?
The most recent report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and December’s international conference on climate change held in Katowice, Poland, show that the world is not coming close to reaching the targets set in the landmark Paris Agreement of 2015.
SPE's New Publications
SPE is launching a new online publication and newsletter on data science and digital engineering and a new monthly newsletter on the unconventionals oil and gas sector.
Innovation and Uptake
Slow uptake of innovation and new technology is an oft-repeated criticism of the oil and gas industry.
Better Days for E&P
After years of reined-in spending, major operators are beginning to cautiously loosen their E&P budgets.
The Golden Age of Gas Revisited
Seven years ago, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued a report on the prospects of natural gas titled, Are We Entering the Golden Age of Gas? The answer appears to be not yet.
Getting Published in JPT
JPT editors frequently get questions about how to get articles and information published in the print magazine or online. Both SPE members and nonmembers have several avenues to choose from that could lead to publication.
The Inevitable Price Cycle
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met in mid-June on the sidelines of a World Cup game in Moscow to discuss oil prices and diplomacy ahead of the recent OPEC meeting.
Offshore Emerging Upbeat
Cost containment, digital technology’s impact on the industry, and cautious optimism permeated discussion and technical and panel sessions during last month’s Offshore Technology Conference (OTC).
Offshore Makes a Comeback
All eyes in the upstream continue to be on the growth in unconventional production, particularly in the US. But the offshore arena may be making a quiet comeback, at least in the near term.
Although the oil and gas industry can be full of surprises, its executives tend to rally around a consensus point of view on where the market and industry are headed.
Mexico Moves Forward
Later this month, Mexico will auction off 35 shallow-water blocks in the Gulf of Mexico, as its attempt to revive its oil and gas industry moves forward.
The Vaca Muerta
Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale play is considered one of the most promising unconventional resources in the world. Advertised for years as the next great shale resource outside of the US, foreign investment has now picked up and the play may finally begin living up to its potential.
What Will the New Year Hold?
In this issue, SPE’s technical directors evaluate the current state of the upstream oil and gas industry and offer their outlook for what will drive the sector in 2018.
Signs of Recovery
After 3 tough years of cost cuts and downsizing, the oil industry is seeing signs of new life in a lower-price environment.
How JPT Selects Technical Papers
The goal of publishing these technical paper summaries is to provide readers with short versions of important papers.
Mexico Builds Momentum
In August, Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission delayed the date of its next deepwater auction by a month to January 2018 to give companies more time to study the acreage on offer.
At What Price Profitability?
Consensus is growing around the idea that oil prices will fluctuate in the $45–60 bbl range, both in the short term and perhaps even for the long term.
Volatility Trumps Stability
Last month, OPEC received another warning that the battle for market share in the global oil market was not over.
Hydraulic Fracturing Studies
Several recent studies have shown that there is no evidence that hydraulic fracturing in unconventional plays harms groundwater.
Public and government concern over unconventional oil and gas production continues.
Peak Demand or Too Much Oil?
Momentum is building for what is being called the “peak demand” theory—that before too long global oil demand will begin to fall.
New JPT Website, Newsletter
Earlier this year, JPT debuted a new website.
Turning a Corner
The 2-year downturn in oil prices has been a challenge for operators and service companies alike, but operators appear to have turned a corner, going by the most recent fourth-quarter earnings.
Numerous reports suggest that the worst of the oil industry downturn is decidedly over, and that the outlook for renewed capital spending this year is positive. Some firms are even hiring again.
How Big a Threat?
As the oil industry begins to emerge from one of the worst downturns in decades, some see a new threat on the horizon: the growing use of electrically powered vehicles, which could cut seriously into future oil consumption.
The Supply/Demand Balance
Layoffs have slowed, some companies posted profits in the third quarter, and there is even talk of a coming oil shortage that would cause oil prices to spike.
Facing the Future
Many of the top-level executives attending the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) in Dubai see the oil and gas industry rising from a market that has bottomed out and is on the rebound.
Although global crude oil production has declined in some regions since the collapse in oil prices began, and there have been massive cuts in company spending, world output has remained stubbornly resilient
Dubai Hosts Annual Meeting
SPE's growth in the Middle East and a preview of the Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in Dubai in late September.
Gas Producers Look for Opening
While OPEC has lost some its influence over prices, major natural gas producers are working to create their own cartel that they hope could bring some stability to international gas prices.
Growth in Renewables
The renewable energy sector is showing strong global growth, especially wind and solar power, but oil shows no sign of losing market share in the global energy mix.
The Toll on Future Supply
Low oil prices have taken a huge toll on exploration and production (E&P) activity, and the decline could lead to production shortfalls in the future.
Technologies of the Future
The future of technology in the global energy industry will be driven by cost pressures, the scope of government regulation, and increased digitization
Surviving the Downturn
The recent IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston brought together high-level executives. Over 5 days of discussions and panel sessions, several key themes emerged about the current state of the global oil and gas industry.
Long vs. Short Term
ExxonMobil’s latest long-term energy outlook paints a generally robust picture for oil and natural gas despite the steep fall in hydrocarbon prices and cuts in capital spending.
Ending the US Export Ban
US companies began selling crude oil on the international market last month shortly after the US Congress ended the country’s 40-year-old ban on oil exports.
Trying to Get in Balance
All signs point to another bleak year for the oil and gas industry. Major operators have begun announcing significant capital spending cuts, and analysts see no quick fix to the current global supply/demand imbalance.
The IEA’s Prediction
The IEA's new energy outlook paints a generally optimistic view of the supply/demand balance and oil price picture to 2020.
The Story of Innovation
In times of high and low oil prices, the oil and gas industry has pursued innovation and steady technological advancement. As international oil companies cut or outsourced research and development. This ushered in a wave of innovation and growth in the service sector.
Reader Survey Results
JPT recently conducted its annual readership survey to get valuable feedback on how useful and relevant the magazine is to readers in their jobs and how it can be improved.
SPE’s Annual Meeting
The SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ATCE) is not only an annual gathering for members but has also been a platform for the technology breakthroughs as well as discussions of the ups and downs of the oil industry through the years.
New Reports Confirm Market Strain
The oil market continues to wind itself through a period of oversupply and battles over global market share, with no short-term solution apparently in sight.
EPA Examines Hydraulic Fracturing
Last month, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a long-awaited study concerning the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water.
A Pivotal Month
This month should offer key clues to the direction of the oil market over the next several months.
New Fracturing Rules
For US operators, new regulations from the federal government regarding hydraulic fracturing practices could not have come at a worse time.
Macondo 5 Years Later
The Macondo explosion and oil spill occurred 5 years ago this month, freezing activity in the US Gulf of Mexico and putting the industry in a negative spotlight for weeks.
A New Swing Producer
OPEC’s decision last year not to cut production in order to defend market share and drive some high-cost producers out of the market appears to be working. But it is setting up a new market paradigm, argues a new study, which could have long-term implications for the oil industry.
Just Another Cycle?
One question raised about the sharp slide in global crude oil prices is whether this is just another cycle in a volatile business that has certainly seen its share of ups and downs, or a more significant shift in the relationship between producers, namely OPEC, and consuming countries.
History in Mexico
This month, Mexico will begin opening data rooms as it prepares for its first upstream bidding round involving foreign participation.
JPT’s Editorial Committee
Conference technical papers explain state-of-the-art technologies and their application to upstream developments, share best practices, and present detailed case studies and solutions to problems.
Innovation Follows Price
Higher than normal oil prices during the past few years have led to a sharp rise in spending on upstream technology and innovation. The investment drivers are the need to extend the life of producing assets, improve operational efficiency, access new resources, and improve safety.
The Problem of Water
The issue of water needs for shale resource development has largely focused on public concern about possible constraints on water supplies, particularly in areas suffering from drought.
The growth in unconventionals production and the spotlight on hydraulic fracturing have heightened public concern about oil and gas industry operations and raised the stakes for those working in the industry.
Every year, JPT surveys its readership to help determine future coverage and to ensure that it is fulfilling its mission.
Global oil production, consumption, and prices have remained largely stable in recent years, but several trends in the world supply/demand balance are evident in BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2014.
Capital Spending Declines
Both international and national oil and gas companies are putting tighter reins on capital spending this year, which is not only affecting merger and acquisition activity but could also impact expensive deepwater projects and total global oil supply growth.
Mexico’s Next Step
The opening of Mexico’s energy sector to private foreign investment continues to move forward, with more details of the landmark legislation expected soon.
Argentina’s Shale Play
After months of speculation, development of one of the world’s most promising shale plays, Argentina’s Vaca Muerta field, is entering a new phase and attracting strong interest from supermajors.
Global Shale Prospects
Several years into the “shale revolution,” progress remains confined largely to North America.
Asia Pacific’s Future
Asia Pacific’s energy sector is on the brink of major change. New areas are opening to foreign investment, national oil companies are adopting more aggressive E&P strategies, and the supply/demand balance is shifting.
Signs point to sustained strong oil prices this year, levels that will continue to support upstream unconventional projects in North America and elsewhere.
The Embargo at 40
Forty years ago, the global oil market faced shortages, price shocks, and unanswered questions about security of supply.
Every year, JPT surveys SPE members to determine whether the publication is fulfilling its readers’ needs and to get opinions about ways to make the magazine better.
Mexico’s Oil Reform
Momentum appears to be growing for a proposal that would more fully open Mexico to outside oil and gas investment. The move could offer attractive upstream opportunities to operators and the service sector, and intends to rescue Mexico’s steeply declining production.
Initial forecasts for 2014 predict continued growth in global oil supply, relatively moderate demand, and a potential softening of oil prices.
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