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

Posts tagged ‘Energy Dominance’

Reactions to Delaware Basin news shows misunderstanding of petroleum economics by Dr. Daniel Fine


The article is here-> https://www.daily-times.com/story/money/industries/oil-gas/2018/12/18/delaware-basin-news-reveals-public-misunderstanding-oil-industry-economics/2282224002/

News of the size of oil reserves in the Delaware Basin (New Mexico’s share of the Permian) while OPEC was deciding how many barrels it will cut from the world market to lift prices caused epic confusion – and revelations of how little “authorities” and the media understand petroleum economics.

The New Mexico media, which relies mainly on interviews with petroleum industry spokespersons, got it wrong.

Government numbers came out as 46 billion barrels (Permian total) with 26 in New Mexico. This means nothing but oil in good rock along with technical recovery as an estimate. Some excited “authorities,” who should know better, exclaimed that there was more.

However, the estimate is based on the application of technical means to recover the oil. The reserves of real oil depend on ultimate economic recovery. This means technical based on geology, plus economics. A high price will recover the billions of barrels while a low price will not.

In short, the numbers reflect the rocks without economics.

The Delaware reserves plus the Texas Permian are now there to expand supply over 12 million b/d in the United States.

This writer has warned that world oil demand is sluggish and imprecise with only references to legacy guesswork that the developing world plus China demand will support prices long term or forever. Yet, world oil consumption has increased only 5 percent in the last 10 years.

OPEC, with Saudi Arabia as its leader, has expired as the world administrator of the price of crude oil. At its December meeting in Austria, Qatar quit after nearly 70 years and announced concentration in LNG production and world export as the existing market leader.

OPEC emerged with a serious factional split between OPEC original and OPEC with Russia. There would have been no agreement without Russia and its old Russian Federation members as producers. Moscow is the new world oil price-setter indirectly while OPEC Original becomes a collaborator in cartel for now. Simply put, Saudi Arabia no longer is the “residual supplier” alone.

The production roll-back of 1.2 barrels per day by both “OPEC” is not enough for “balance” supply and demand for world crude oil.  It is being tested daily by commodity traders. In a briefing to New Mexico independent and small producers before the meeting in Austria, this writer warned that 1.7 million b/d was needed for balancing stabilization. Without that size of a production and export reduction, the average price of WTI oil in 2019 will average $50 per barrel.

Nearing 12 million b/d and over the Permian producers voluntarily will be required by this price to revise capital spending and place production into DUC (non-completions) and storage. There is doubt that the export of tight or shale oil would continue if the Brent price falls lower and loses its premium over WTI. A net cutback of Permian between 500,000 to 750,00 b/d should be a non-OPEC response to an oil glut even more serious than 2014.

Saudi Arabia is untouched as an American strategic ally in confronting Iran in the Middle East as a hegemonic threat.

Despite some Republicans and the Democratic Party in Congress, violation of human rights over the death of a Saudi journalist and critic of the Crown Prince will not override U.S. national interests in the Middle East.

President Trump has not deviated from post—World War Two foreign and defense policy.

Trump wants low oil prices for American consumers and forced OPEC this summer to pump more to offset export sanctions on Iran.

Still, with OPEC under a deep division which no President could achieve since 1973, Trump as a geopolitical manager of world oil has removed about 500,000 b/d between January and December of 2018. America, via Trump and without a formal cartel alignment, determines much of the price of world oil.

The United States and its Southwest tight and shale oil has changed from dependence on world oil to domination. Never again can OPEC engage the U.S. in a price and market share war as it did in 2014-2016 through supply acceleration in an oversupplied world market.

WTI emerges as the new world price. It is American barrels that set the price and OPEC is a price-taker. Since there are nearly 50 billion barrels in reserve in New Mexico, how will the Permian producers set a return on investment in a free market for petroleum?

Dr. Daniel Fine is the associate director of New Mexico Tech’s Center for Energy Policy and the State of New Mexico Natural Gas Export Coordinator. The opinions expressed are his own.

Dr. Daniel Fine: Oil speculation and natural gas/LNG in New England and Russia


 

Link to the article American oil production is poised to reach upward to 11 million barrels of oil per day if the price of West Texas Crude reaches $75 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia or Saudi Aramco believes it will, and commodity speculators are following. It is similar to 2008 in June when Goldman Sachs forecast $250 per barrel as the price approached $150.

What events are running through computer modelling to trigger speculative buying? First, the effort of Saudi Arabia to sell shares in Saudi Aramco to the world – at least 5 percent.

The price of oil is the key for the price per share at an initial public offering. It must be high enough to overcome doubts about the company in terms of ultimate economic value and size of its reserves as well as potential legal action based on the 9/11 Saudi Arabian operatives in the destruction of the World Trade Centers and the death of nearly 3,000 and related family injuries.

This event can no longer deprive the United States of physical barrels resulting in shortage of supply. Prices outside of trading pits or online bids and asks are now determined by West Texas Intermediate, which reflects self-sufficiency against non-North American sourced oil. The Persian Gulf against the Permian Basin?

 Demand for oil in producer estimates, such as, Saudi Aramco or total range between 1.2 percent and less than 1.0 percent growth per year. Supply of oil from American unconventional sources is increasing, with high prices at 8 percent.

The two year low of downturn prices did not create conditions for a supply crunch. Super-giant oil fields are few and far between even at higher prices. Supply shortage talk on the social and commercial media is promoted by Saudi Arabian interest in higher oil prices to support its potential IPO share price. Offshore Norway has applied shale recovery technology from New Mexico, Texas and North Dakota and can be profitable at $35 per barrel against $80 breakeven in 2013.

Third, reaction to OPEC-Russia announcements of production reductions – oil off the world market — are not likely signals for commodity traders to buy. How much oil can OPEC members and Russia take off the market? How long can they lower production in terms of fiscal requirements?

One last event in production denial would be the imposition of sanctions against Iranian oil exports, which would follow the decision to void the nuclear weapons treaty by President Trump.  The North American market for Iranian is almost non-existent.

As before, this Energy Magazine column warns of a downturn next year. How bad? If the buzz around the Permian is that its “health” no longer depends on the price of oil has been taken seriously, the downturn will be serious.

Exxon-Mobil/XTO is preparing to enter the world market of LNG (liquid natural gas) with a plant in Louisiana.  Its natural gas feedstock would be from its Delaware Basin production (New Mexico’s Permian).

The scale and size of its LNG facility will place American production and export as a world leader next to Qatar, which is reacting to Saudi Arabian hostility by expanding investment in American oil and gas.

Turning to Europe, the opportunity of geopolitical deployment of American gas to Europe to offset Russian supply promoted by the State Departments of Bush through Obama and now of Trump has been set back.

Germany has approved the Russian natural gas pipeline under the North Sea despite efforts to isolate Russia because of the Crimea annexation.

This means ongoing European natural gas dependence on Russia without transit pipelines through the Ukraine.  And indirectly it keeps demand and prices for San Juan natural gas lower.

As long as Marcellus natural gas is semi-stranded by New England’s opposition to building pipelines for its markets, based on environmentalist politics, American natural gas is unable to replace residential reliance on heating oil imported from high-risk Venezuela.

Russian LNG appeared in Boston harbor during the worst of a New England winter as an alternative to low- cost pipeline gas from Pennsylvania. This partially keeps San Juan Basin gas at low prices.

Dr. Daniel Fine is the associate director of New Mexico Tech’s Center for Energy Policy and the State of New Mexico Natural Gas Export Coordinator. The opinions expressed are his own.

Fine: NAFTA, natural gas and the San Juan Basin


As seen here in the Farmington Daily Times-> http://www.daily-times.com/story/money/business/2018/01/28/fine-nafta-natural-gas-and-san-juan-basin/1032781001/

The North American Free Trade Agreement is now in a final stage with the U.S. team looking over the “energy chapter,” which has been approved by Canada and Mexico. The Administration’s position, with a revisionist-protectionist core, offers President Trump a withdrawal-from-NAFTA option, at least a tactical move to shake up Canada and Mexico in the interest of American merchandise and agricultural exports.
However, not much is known from the inside on plans for natural gas exports to Mexico.  In 1992, the beginning of NAFTA, Mexico’s oil and gas industry was government owned and operated so it fell outside a free trade agreement.
Today, Mexico permits private capital to build, own and operate oil and gas exploration, production and transportation (pipelines) under its Energy Reform Law.
This admits natural gas into the NAFTA framework. Nearly $6 billion of Southwest natural gas was sold (exported) to Mexico last year.

Mexico imports 53 percent of its natural gas from the United States – with 60 percent on track. Needless to say, Mexico is dependent on American natural gas for its power generation.Texas natural gas pipeline entry points dominate the trade, while the Delaware and the San Juan basins are next as business and strategic sources.
The Mancos Shale natural gas below the Four Corners must access the expanding Mexican market in any revision of NAFTA terms. The Trump Administration’s understanding of American natural gas trade with Mexico should include regional economic integration. Energy is required for Mexican industrial growth, and Mexico has constructed the pipelines on its side border to receive and transport natural gas from the Permian and the San Juan Basin.

NAFTA revised should make natural gas exports from the U.S. Southwest a natural resource exemption from narrow foreign trade objectives. Natural gas reserves in the Southwest can be accessible to Mexican importers if pipelines to cross-border points attract American investment long-term. NAFTA changes
would create risk disincentives.

U.S. NAFTA negotiations can be aligned with the Trump-Zinke energy policy of world domination if the export “New Mexican natural gas” is designated a “win – win.”
If the Mexican market for American natural gas is lost, New Mexican natural gas would be mostly “stranded” without offset storage; and, it would push back on the Permian with an oil-only reality as the output of gas from Pennsylvania and Ohio output expands.

Unless Texas and New York media understand the history behind the oil price collapse history of 2014-2016 the industry and public will be compelled to repeat that history soon.

Oil prices are coupled into a “bubble”; or worse – speculation in a “coin” which exists as a product of computer software. Is Bitcoin speculation infecting the value of oil in commodity trading at least momentarily?
Will hedging create a trade?

With New Mexico oil production over 500,000 barrels per day (323,000 four years ago), the coming 30 days in Santa Fe (Legislative Session) should see a Democratic Party state budget expansion or plain spending offensive which would mirror 2018 primaries and general election conflict between progressives and centrists.
There is no threat from off-shore (Atlantic and Pacific Ocean) to New Mexican oil and gas development. President Trump is right to remove off-shore prohibitions, but now the market takes over. The cost of San Juan Basin natural gas is 80 percent less than exploration and production 50 miles out in North Carolina’s Atlantic Ocean.
Three or four dimensional seismic investments—yes; production—no; not as long as there is economic shale natural gas on-shore in New Mexico and the Southwest.

Daniel Fine is the associate director of New Mexico Tech’s Center for Energy Policy. The opinions expressed are his own.

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