Analysis by the father of American Geopolitics Dr. Daniel Fine, MIT.

Posts tagged ‘Downstream’

This is what an oil bust looks like by Jonathan Thompson


Low prices have energy companies and communities reeling as rig counts plummet and unemployment climbs.

The full article is here-> http://www.hcn.org/articles/this-is-what-an-oil-bust-looks-like

“In early March, Daniel Fine, associate director of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy, told a gathering of tribal energy officials that the oil bust is officially on. Those gathered, however, sure as heck didn’t need an expert to tell them that. In the oil and gas patches it has become clear that the economic gains of the so-called shale revolution are being wiped away by one of the worst fossil fuel downturns in U.S. history.

Now, the oil companies are crying for help. First, they got the crude oil export ban lifted. Next they want proposed federal rules on methane emissions weakened or scrapped. As if any of that will help.

Back in 2010, the price of a barrel of Brent crude (the international oil price benchmark) topped $80. That made it profitable to extract oil from tight shale formations, which is especially costly. A drilling frenzy ensued, domestic oil production skyrocketed, oil companies raked in profits and oil patch communities prospered.

But all that new oil on the market, plus China’s slowing economic growth, began to dampen oil prices in the summer of 2014. Instead of curtailing production to keep prices afloat, OPEC’s leaders launched a thinly veiled price war, clearly aimed at putting U.S. producers out of business. Here are some indicators that OPEC won the war:

The U.S. rig count has collapsed to levels not seen since, well, ever. With both oil and natural gas prices at near-record lows, it simply doesn’t make economic sense to spend up to $10 million to drill a well. So the rigs are shutting down. In September 2014, 1,931 oil and gas rigs were operating in the U.S.; today there are just 476. That’s a 75 percent decrease, and it’s still some 50 percent lower than the 1987 count, which followed what was considered the biggest, baddest bust ever, until now. Tom Dugan, who runs an oil and gas production company in northwest New Mexico, told the Farmington Daily Times, “It’s the hardest bust I’ve been through and I have been in this business for 57 years.”

Energy policy expert says oil slump a bust


by James Fenton, jfenton@daily-times.com5:02 p.m. MST March 5, 2016

The complete article is here-> http://www.daily-times.com/story/money/industries/oil-gas/2016/03/05/energy-policy-expert-says-oil-slump-bust/81289608/

FARMINGTON — “It’s officially a “bust.”

That’s the verdict from Daniel Fine, one of Gov. Susana Martinez’s senior advisers on energy policy. The U.S. oil and gas industry — and the San Juan Basin — is in a “bust” period, Fine said Tuesday at an inter-tribal energy conference at San Juan College’s School of Energy.

“This is what a bust is. You lose the workforce,” said Fine, who is associate director at New Mexico Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Tech. “Loss to the country and to the Southwest will be the workforce. It will be decimated at levels of less than $30 a barrel (of crude oil).”

And 2015 was a year of layoffs and cutbacks.

Since the collapse of oil prices on the commodities market in fall of 2014, the number of  workers laid off from local oil and gas companies — from the large corporations to the smaller independents — has been in the thousands.

“We’re in a ‘bust.’  So be ahead of the curve, and think ahead in this business by at least six months,” Fine told the Native American and non-tribal energy leaders and business people in the Merrion conference room at the new $15.8 million school.

He said looming federal regulations such as the the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s proposed Onshore Oil and Gas Orders Nos. 3, 4 and 5 along with proposed updates to its rule aimed at reducing “fugitive” atmospheric methane from oil and gas operations were doubling the pain already caused by low crude oil prices. He said that a third of all U.S. oil and gas producers — especially those burdened with debt — will inevitably go bankrupt.

But Fine’s sobering analysis wasn’t without one ray of hope for the industry.”

Column: Mexico and Shale Oil — North America Strategy By Dr. Daniel Fine (Daily Times)


Editor’s note: This is an abridged version of Daniel Fine’s column. Read the full version in The Daily Times’ Energy magazine, which will be available in the April 27 edition of our newspaper and online.

For the complete abridged article use this link–> http://www.daily-times.com/farmington-opinion/ci_27941975/column-mexico-and-shale-oil-north-america-strategy

Since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has imposed a price war upon Southwest shale oil producers, there have been efforts to come up with a counter-strategy. Since San Juan Basin oil is light and tight, is there a market in North America for it?

Projects are underway for the export of natural gas to Mexico for Liquid Natural Gas conversion for overseas markets primarily in Asia, but, until now, no parallel strategy surfaced concerning oil. Mexico is prepared to take the ultra-light crude oil for blending purposes into its Mayan heavy and sour.

So far, the discussion is over Mexican ocean-based refineries taking 100,000 barrels of our light oil in a swap for 100,000 barrels of their heavy for U.S. East Coast refineries.

The swap can be a physical exchange with tankers delivering to Mexico and picking up cargoes of Mexican heavy.

Any heavy Mexican oil purchased by U.S. refiners displaces foreign overseas imports from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. This emerges as a North American counter to the OPEC oil price war. Now Mexico and the United States have a common market interest in a swap of oil between them. There are historic and strategic origins that surround the swap transactions. First, the change in Mexico towards oil and gas ownership and investment is itself a significant, if not radical, shift from exclusive, anti-foreign government control towards an opening to private foreign exploration and production companies. American companies are prominent among applicants to the first auction. PEMEX, Mexico’s state monopoly company is prepared to take partners who deliver capital and technology to increase production.

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