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The Shale Revolution created an unprecedented need for midstream infrastructure of every sort — gathering systems, processing plants, storage hubs, takeaway pipelines, fractionators, export terminals, and more — all with the aim of connecting new hydrocarbon supply to demand. Throughout the 2010s, the scope and urgency of this midstream build-out o…
 
Here’s an idea. Let’s start up a new company that does energy market fundamentals linked to rock & roll songs. Do it with practical, commercial insights. Keep the quality top notch. Then give it away for free! Sound crazy? Maybe so. But that’s how RBN Energy got started 10 years ago, and it’s worked out pretty well. Now, 2,540 blogs later and with …
 
In March 2020, the collapse of the OPEC-plus coalition, the initiation of COVID-19 lockdowns, and other factors pushed the U.S. E&P sector to the brink of insolvency. Crude oil prices had crashed to $20/bbl — one-third their level at the start of that fateful year — and producers had shifted to survival mode, slashing capex, cancelling infrastructu…
 
The energy market dislocations of the COVID era have accelerated consolidation in the midstream sector as oil and gas gatherers — and gas processors — in the Permian and other basins seek greater scale, improved reliability, and the potential to direct more hydrocarbons through their takeaway pipelines. New evidence of this trend came just last wee…
 
It’s possible for a single new infrastructure project to be a game-changer — the Transcontinental Railroad comes to mind, and so do the New York City subway system and the Hoover Dam. In the energy industry’s midstream sector, things work a little differently. There, projects are incremental. They’re privately, rather than publicly backed and so th…
 
The idea of capturing the carbon dioxide emitted from power plants and industrial facilities and permanently storing it deep underground is widely viewed as one of the more promising ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The catch is, how do you convince private-sector CO2 emitters to invest tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in carbon capt…
 
Pandemic. Deep freeze. Decarbonization. Stymied production growth. Sky-high prices. 2021 was definitely one for the record books. But thank goodness we made it and can look forward to a New Year! That means it is time for our annual Top 10 Energy Prognostications, the long-standing RBN tradition where we consider what’s coming next to energy market…
 
Over the last decade and a half, oil and gas companies have taken investors on a wild roller coaster ride as their ambitious growth strategies and stock prices have been boosted, then badly battered, by volatile demand and commodity prices. With sentiment toward the old-school energy industry turning negative, producers and midstreamers shifted cou…
 
Activity in Oklahoma’s SCOOP/STACK play has been picking up. In 2021, the number of active rigs there improved by about 30 — that’s a bigger gain than any U.S. hydrocarbon production basin except the Permian. On a percentage basis, the 160% year-over-year increase in the SCOOP/STACK rig count was exceeded — and just barely — by only a couple of oth…
 
With Alberta’s bitumen production rising to record levels of late, finding more ways to export this molasses-like heavy oil has become more important than ever. In early 2020, Gibson Energy and US Development Group embarked on the construction of a diluent recovery unit in Hardisty, AB, to greatly reduce the need for diluent and retain more of it f…
 
The international shipping industry’s push to significantly reduce its carbon footprint over the next three decades is raising an obvious question: Is there a zero- or low-carbon bunker fuel that meets all of the industry’s basic criteria — things like availability, safety, and relative economy, not to mention sufficient on-board energy to transpor…
 
Global natural gas prices went through the roof in December, and while prices are back down from those highs, they remain incredibly strong compared to years past and the economics for U.S. LNG exports are riding high. LNG exports have been in the money for quite some time, but feedgas deliveries to U.S. export terminals throughout the spring and s…
 
You can count on certain things this time of year. Alabama is in the hunt for a college football national championship, there’s fresh powder somewhere in the Rockies, it’s mostly still shorts weather in Houston, and there’s a catchy new country song ripe for blog titles. January also brings some unknowns, with pundits throwing out various scenarios…
 
Capturing carbon dioxide and permanently storing it below ground is expected to be a critically important tool in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The oil and gas industry has been a leader in showing how CO2 –– albeit mostly CO2 that is produced from underground reservoirs, not captured from industrial facilities or powe…
 
Mexico’s state-owned Petróleos Mexicanos, the second-largest exporter of crude oil to the U.S. after Canada, said in late December that it will slash its export volumes in 2022 and eliminate them completely in 2023. The plan is premised on Pemex’s expectation that, with increased utilization of the company’s six existing refineries and the impendin…
 
In the aftermath of the massive Winter Storm Uri in February of last year and its impact on the natural gas industry, there has been a blizzard of civil and regulatory litigation. Whether it’s someone not providing contracted gas supply, not taking expensive must-take gas supply, or saying “not that contract, but this contract” where there was a bi…
 
Pandemic. Deep freeze. Decarbonization. Stymied production growth. Sky-high prices. 2021 was definitely one for the record books. But thank goodness we made it and can look forward to a New Year! That means it is time for our annual Top 10 Energy Prognostications, the long-standing RBN tradition where we consider what’s coming next to energy market…
 
Finally! It’s the last day of 2021, which means it’s time for our annual Top 10 Energy Prognostications blog, the long-standing RBN tradition where we look into our crystal ball to see what the upcoming year has in store for energy markets. And unlike many forecasters, we also look into the rear-view mirror to see how we did with last year’s predic…
 
How do you sum up a year like 2021? It was good times for the economic health of producers and midstreamers alike. Prices were up, as were production and flows. But 2021 also brought along more than its share of chaos, including disruptive market events like Winter Storm Uri’s deep freeze and Europe’s natural gas crisis, along with general perplexi…
 
Countries around the world are formulating and refining their strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Their policies target numerous areas such as stationary emissions, electricity production, and transportation. Within the transportation sector, one aspect that has spurred quite a bit of investment relates to reducing the carbon intensity o…
 
Among the 21 countries able to liquefy methane and export LNG, Australia, Qatar, and the U.S. are the hands-down leaders, holding more than half the world’s liquefaction capacity among them. For now, Australia holds the top position but its capacity buildout is all but complete. While a number of liquefaction projects are planned Down Under, only o…
 
You would expect the start-up of Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement project early this fall to have eased the constraints on crude oil pipelines from Western Canada to the U.S. — and it did. You’d also expect that L3R coming online would narrow the price spread between Western Canadian Select and West Texas intermediate — but it didn’t. The latest widen…
 
The U.S. is poised for a massive buildout in renewable diesel production capacity — a boom spurred by increasingly supportive government policies and a big push by ESG-minded refiners wanting to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations. It also hasn’t hurt that while renewable diesel is produced from used cooking oil, tallow, and other renew…
 
For the next few years, New Englanders will remain heavily dependent on natural-gas-fired generation — and keep their fingers crossed regarding the availability of piped-in gas for power during periods of frigid winter weather. But the power sector in the enviro-conscious six-state region has ambitious plans to gradually ratchet down its reliance o…
 
Global natural gas prices are once again at record levels as escalating tensions between Russia and the Western world have re-ignited fears over gas shortages in Europe this winter. The global gas market is in the midst of an epic bull run that has been going on for more than a year, taking prices from all-time lows in the summer of 2020 to repeate…
 
A few things have changed since we wrote our first hydrogen blog a year ago. First, there’s heightened awareness of the many ways hydrogen can be used to help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Second, the number of proposed hydrogen production projects has proliferated, and our project list continues to grow each week. Third, and perhaps most …
 
It may seem like a strange turn of phrase, but the best way to describe the E&P sector’s recent round of quarterly earnings calls is a celebration of remarkable climate change. Buffeted and nearly swamped over the past few years by price volatility, investor revolt, regulatory restrictions, and a global pandemic, oil and gas producers finally have …
 
Japan’s strategy for LNG imports has been based on security and reliability of supply, with JERA, the country’s largest LNG buyer, reliant on supply contracts that can last for 20-25 years. Those deals have been of paramount importance since imports to Japan started in 1969, but things are changing in a big way. In parallel with Japan’s plan to dec…
 
Way back in the spring of this year, propane prices were behaving themselves. Mont Belvieu values were high relative to the previous two years, but no higher than what they ought to be with crude oil up to the mid-$70s/bbl range, as it was back then. Yet, market players were uncomfortable. Production was flat, exports were strong, and inventories w…
 
In early December, natural gas production in the Permian has been averaging a record 14.2 Bcf/d, a gain of 1 Bcf/d in only six months. That rapid pace of growth is putting pressure on every aspect of midstream infrastructure — gas gathering systems, processing plants, and takeaway pipelines — and resulting in a variety of efforts aimed at ensuring …
 
There’s been a lot of talk lately about “green” and “blue” hydrogen becoming increasingly important players in the world’s lower-carbon energy future. Green and blue ammonia too, given that ammonia, with its high hydrogen content, is an efficient “carrier” of hydrogen when it needs to be delivered by ship, railcar, or truck. Also, ammonia itself — …
 
It has been an epic year for U.S. LNG. After COVID-19 and the subsequent global market crash brought LNG development to a standstill and shut-in production from existing terminals in 2020, this year has seen global prices repeatedly smash previous record highs, driving existing terminals to operate at peak levels and renewing interest in new LNG bu…
 
Trans Mountain Pipeline, the only pipeline that connects crude oil production areas in Alberta to Canada’s West Coast and the U.S. Pacific Northwest, has started to resume operations after a three-week shutdown. The pipeline closure — the longest in TMP’s 68-year history — began November 14 after major flooding exposed portions of the 300-Mb/d cond…
 
Market sentiment toward oil and gas companies, particularly producers and midstreamers, has been increasingly negative since the oil price crash in late 2014, driven by a mix of shorter-term concerns like price volatility and corporate debt and longer-term worries like the environment and an impending energy transition. One company that has found i…
 
International shipowners need to significantly reduce their carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030 and will come under pressure to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Given that the industry currently depends almost entirely on fossil fuels for ship propulsion — and that every zero- or near-zero-carbon alternative faces serious headwinds — it won’t be an …
 
It’s no secret to anybody paying attention to U.S. natural gas markets that Appalachia has long been bedeviled by midstream constraints, often leading to deep gas price discounts. There have been brief respites when new capacity has come online, allowing more gas to flow out, but if you've been reading our blogs and natural gas reports lately, you …
 
Late last month, the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) ruled against Enbridge’s proposal to convert as much as 90% of the capacity on its multi-pipeline, 3-MMb/d Mainline crude oil system to long-term contracts. The CER’s action leaves in place the Mainline’s current capacity-allocation process, under which every barrel-per-day of the pipeline system’s…
 
Carbon dioxide is not the most potent of the greenhouse gases, but it is by far the most prevalent, which makes it a primary focus of efforts to protect the planet. And while a lot of attention is being paid to ways to reduce CO2 emissions and to capture those that are produced, it’s important to remember one key fact: There’s strong demand for CO2…
 
There’s been a slew of high-profile shipments of “carbon-neutral LNG” the past few months, typically involving the use of carbon credits to offset, ton-for-ton, the carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gases released during the production, piping, and liquefaction of natural gas, the shipping of LNG, and often the regasification and ultimate con…
 
The Permian has been a leader in domestic oil and gas production for decades but the Shale Revolution made it a global superstar. In the past few years, thousands of miles of new crude oil, associated gas, and produced-water gathering systems have been installed in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, as have dozens of new gas processing plants …
 
If there was ever a year that proves NGLs march to the beat of a different drummer, 2021 was it. Compared to pre-pandemic volumes, production is up, not down. It’s the same story for exports. Price behavior has been even more extraordinary. We’ve seen startling counter-seasonal price swings in propane and butane markets. Ethane has been dancing to …
 
Determining whether to approve plans for interstate natural gas pipeline projects has never been an easy task for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. There are so many things to consider, chief among them the need for the pipeline, impacts on the environment and landowners along the route, and what it all means for gas customers. But as compl…
 
These are troubled times, as the song says, caught between confusion and pain. Following the COVID trauma of 2020, oil, gas, and NGL markets are now coping with uncertainty of medium- and long-term prospects in light of energy transition rhetoric. Will we continue to see sufficient investment in the hydrocarbon-based supplies that the world needs t…
 
It has been a chaotic couple of years for North American LNG and the global gas market. In a short time, international gas markets went from oppressively oversupplied balances, high storage inventories, and historically low prices for much of 2020 to reckoning with panic-inducing supply shortages, low inventories, and multi-year or all-time high pr…
 
The number of floating storage and regasification units in operation has nearly doubled in the last few years, but that’s hardly a shock given the growth in the global LNG market. What might be a surprise is how a number of these specialty vessels are being utilized and what it could mean for the shipowners and the wider LNG market. In today’s RBN …
 
The U.S. is poised for a massive build-out in renewable diesel production capacity — a boom spurred by capacity rationalization amongst traditional refineries, increasingly supportive government policies, and a big push by ESG-minded refiners wanting to reduce the carbon footprint of their operations. It also hasn’t hurt that while renewable diesel…
 
With the market dislocations brought on in 2020-21, many if not most E&Ps have been reexamining their strategies and making changes. A common result has been a deemphasis on capex and expansion and a renewed focus on increasing free cash flow — and with that excess cash reducing or eliminating debt and rewarding shareholders through dividends and s…
 
Discussions about energy transition and increased electrification are all around us, whether they involve accelerating the ramp-up in renewable power sources such as wind and solar, facilitating the shift to electric vehicles, or switching to alternative fuels like hydrogen. But amid all the talk about the evolution to a low-carbon world — and away…
 
Energy marketeers are faced with a conundrum. Should the focus be on producing, processing, and marketing the hydrocarbon-based energy that the world needs today? Or is it time to go an entirely different direction toward net-zero emissions, renewables, and battery-powered everything? The answer, of course, is both. That means living, working, and …
 
The November 4 decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its collaborators — collectively known as OPEC+ –– to stay the course on crude oil production surprised few and disappointed many. Officials from leading oil-consuming nations, including the U.S., Japan and India, want the group to relax its production restraint by…
 
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