“The price of oil in 2018 will be volatile with commodity market traders selling on signals of OPEC-Russia “cheating” or members producing more oil than the extended Algiers Agreement output quotas. This should be expected as U.S. shale producers push past 10 million barrels per day and exceed 1970 as the all-time high for the United States.
At 10.4 million bpd (barrels per day), American oil production will surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia. Herein lies the price range: 2015 all over again.
Real OPEC and Russian output will break Algiers (1.8 million barrels off the world market until September). Price range to $62.50 WTI high in the first half of the year and $38.65 at end of the second half or one year from today; 2019 would resemble most of 2015.
There is a second threat to price and production in the Southwest and Dakota. Hedge funds invested in public or listed companies want share buy-backs or dividends. In short, they want to make money now as opposed to operators sinking more cashflow into new production projects. The conflict inside Hess is the first example.
Traditional oil operators are 5-year business planners for returns on investment while the new private equity owners or investors are quarterly or payback pressure points for higher stock market share prices and distribution. OPEC/Russia is the external market threat leading to the lower price range alongside an internal investor/owner threat of less cash flow plow back for future production projects and more for short-term return on investment.
Oil price and production will also reflect Saudi Arabian domestic instability over its simultaneous offensive against Iranian influence in the Middle East and social and economic modernization against traditionalism. The plan is for less dependence on oil exports with technology and manufacturing in the national economy: social change and the status of women in the “revolution.”
It has been 70 years since a President of the United States has considered domestic oil and gas as a “power” in world affairs. With Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke charting a new course, the Trump Administration is considering a transfer of Federal Land management with natural resources to the Western States.
Coupled with Zinke’s proclamation of American energy world domination, a revolution on how to think about oil and gas in the San Juan Basin is taking place.
The Four Corners BLM management could move across Farmington to the New Mexico state office. The Bureau of Land Management’s Washington control might move to Denver.
It is more than speeding up Applications for Petroleum Drilling (APD): it is who decides and implements Trump-Zinke. How is San Juan natural gas to advance American oil and gas first in a redesign of domestic resources on a world stage?
Farmington and Carlsbad would control, as New Mexico State offices of oil and gas, new rules with national and global meaning. The San Juan Basin future would have natural gas reserves managed for strategic and economic purposes in the Baltic and Black Seas. Management would be drawn from New Mexico.
What is the cost for this historic transfer of power from Washington or a non-oil and gas Potomac?
The State of New Mexico must legislate expansion budgets to overcome the limitations of Santa Fe staff in numbers and expertise. Under State Oil and Gas Law, inspectors are needed to inspect wells (62,000).
Inspection of Federal oil and gas wells (transfer from Washington BLM) requires a budgetary alignment with the strategy and vision of Secretary Zinke.
There is a return to the economic development history of America. San Juan Basin natural gas does not depend on localized manufacturing alternatives into natural gas in the Four Corners. Pipelines take care of markets. The expansion to ultimate economic recovery is in the new policy of this Administration.
I was the lunch keynote speaker at the Jicarilla Apache Energy Conference in Dulce. Indian nation natural gas must not be outside American oil and gas first. Investment and production is now a different opportunity. Deals with conventional oil and gas companies were part of the excitement.
Readers of this column in the Energy Magazine have followed a forecast made 11 months ago, in which I have seen warning signs of oversupply of world oil in 2019.
The Initial Public Offering (IPO) shares in Saudi Aramco is doubtful. China or BP could buy non-controlling blocks of shares as an alternative. If this IPO fails, Saudi Aramco will have little reason to throttle OPEC production downward.
This would open the way for a trend-line similar to 2014. Saudi Arabia is in the first phase of instability. What happens to Mohammed bin Salmon, the Crown Prince, lies in Qatar, and with the Kurds.
It is important to recognize that the IPO process called for the right of women to obtain driving permits. Underwriters were on notice that such discrimination would distract buyers of Saudi Aramco shares.
Hilcorp’s female staff at Dulce added that they (women in Saudi Arabia) must be 30 years of age and will not be able to drive at night.
Dan Fine, an oil economist with the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy, speaks at a conference in Carlsbad recently about how foreign oil imports are hurting the American oil industry. Fine said OPEC has flooded the U.S. market with foreign oil since 2014 in an intentional effort to put U.S. producers out of business, while Saudi Arabian-backed companies are trying to buy American companies in an effort to control the flow of oil within U.S. borders. (Hobbs News-Sun Photo)
CARLSBAD — Oil experts say America is under attack by Saudi Arabia and OPEC, but instead of bombs, the OPEC oil cartel is dropping millions of barrels of oil on the U.S. economy in a clear effort to undermine the nation’s oil producers and kill any chance of American energy independence.
The first to feel the flood of foreign oil into the U.S. are the independent oil producers, whose stripper wells in Texas alone account for 20 percent of the nation’s oil and gas production, said Judy Stark, executive vice president of the The Panhandle Producers & Royalty Owners Association.
Stark was one of the half dozen speakers at an event of 25 people Sept. 27 in Carlsbad where the Panhandle Import Reduction Initiative, a group of independents seeking import quotas on foreign oil, met to announce their “white paper” that will be presented to the next president.
“We know OPEC has toyed with our market for many years but what I see coming now is a threat, without a doubt, to our national security,” Stark said. “The Middle East wants control of the U.S. market. When they came out and decided to flood the market with oil and drive U.S. producers out of business, their whole point was to take back their lost market share — our production. They are telling us is they are not going to let us produce our own natural resources. Guess what? They have done a pretty good job.”
The Sept. 27 Carlsbad meeting was a first battle cry that Dan Fine, a co-founder of the initiative and oil economist with the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy, said won’t be taken up by the nation for two years — when the rest of the country wakes up and finds it is too late to stop OPEC from controlling America’s energy industry.
“We are pioneers,” Fine said. “My point is, we are sitting here today 18 months to two years ahead of everyone. Sometime in early 2018, the country will discover what we are having a discussion about here today.”
What’s at stake?
What’s at stake is some 276 billion barrels of oil reserves now estimated to exist in the United States.
According to Fine, that number surpasses what Saudi Arabia has and they are terrified. Fine quoted Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, concerning the shale oil discoveries made in the United States.
“The United States has increased oil production by an enormous 65 percent over the past five years,” Fine said, quoting Hamm’s statement. “We can and should use our nearly unlimited oil and gas supplies to drive a stake through the heart of OPEC forever.”
Nearly 40 years ago, when the first oil price shock from the Middle East and OPEC disrupted the American economy, North Carolina and Appalachia briefly became an oil and gas frontier. Following geological investigations, Chevron drilled an exploratory well in the Deep River Basin beneath Lee County, N.C. Oil was discovered at 5,000 feet, but it contained excessive paraffin and Chevron plugged the well.
It remains there today as a new natural gas and oil technology has emerged: the capability of opening tight rock formations or shale through hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
Why is North Carolina not yet a site for drilling rigs, mud and service companies? Why is there shale gas exploration and production in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and on different rock formations in Arkansas, Texas and in the Rocky Mountains?