Huge natural gas find off Egypt’s coast boosts energy hopes in Mediterranean

The discovery of a huge natural gas deposit in Egyptian waters has “boosted hopes of other such finds in the eastern Mediterranean [Sea] that could help meet Europe’s energy needs,” according to the Associated Press. The news service reports that Eni SpA Chief Exploration Officer, Luca Bertelli, said the Italian company’s discovery of the Zohr deposit, estimated to hold 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, has reinvigorated the interest of other major oil and gas companies in the Mediterranean region. For more, read the full story.

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Report: Oil and gas producers to spend $25 billion more on capital projects this year

A new analysis by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie says oil and natural gas producers expect to spend $25 billion more on capital projects this year than they did in 2016, reports FuelFix.com. The analysis also says companies hope to pump 1 million more barrels of oil and gas per day in 2017 compared to the prior year. Companies focused on the United States will spend about $15 billion more this year, an increase of 60% over 2016. For more, read the full story.
 

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U.S. shale expansion runs counter to OPEC’s global oil strategy

Reuters reports that U.S. shale producers are plotting “ambitious production growth outside the red-hot Permian Basin in Texas, widening a resurgence that could confound” a strategy by OPEC to tighten global supplies. As U.S. shale producers rebound from a two-year price war with OPEC, many are planning to expand production in North Dakota, Oklahoma and other regions such as the Utica and Marcellus shale plays, according to the new service. Reuters notes that Hess Corp., Chesapeake Energy Corp., Continental Resources Inc. and other companies recently detailed expansion projects that would result in a “steady supply of American crude exports through the next decade.” For more, read the full story.
 

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Oil producers spend big on projects despite questions about prices

Financially strapped oil companies are spending billions to boost production even before it is clear that crude oil price increases brought on by output cuts by OPEC can be sustained, Reuters reports. The news service says that, even with oil prices about 70% higher than a year ago, “most companies have yet to reach the point where their cash flow covers annual shareholder payouts and expansion projects vital to the industry's long-term survival.” Factor in other expenses, such as the interest on debt, and the break-even point is pushed out until at least 2020, according to an estimate by Citigroup. For more, read the full story.

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IEA warns of spike in oil prices if major projects are not started

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says crude oil prices could spike sharply in a few years unless the oil industry starts to invest in major projects again, according to FuelFix.com. The news site says the IEA expects growth in global oil demand to outstrip production increases, with demand growing 7.4 million barrels a day and output rising 5.6 million barrels a day by 2022. That could strain the resources of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, shrink spare oil production capacity and “leave markets short of oil if supply levels suddenly dropped because of a war or geopolitical tension,” FuelFix says. For more, read the full story.

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Report: LNG demand to rise 4% to 5% annually through 2030

A new report from Royal Dutch Shell PLC says global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) will rise 4% to 5% annually between 2015 and 2030, according to Oil and Gas Journal. The news site says Shell’s “LNG Outlook” notes that LNG demand has been bolstered by the addition of six new importing countries—Colombia, Egypt, Jamaica, Jordan, Pakistan and Poland—since 2015, bringing to 35 the number of importers. The report says the bulk of the increase in LNG exports in 2016 came from Australia, and the United States also contributed to the growth with 2.9 million tonnes of LNG delivered from the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana. For more, read the full story.

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Russia tops Saudi Arabia as world’s largest oil producer

Bloomberg reports that Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest crude oil producer in December 2016 as both countries started restricting supplies ahead of an agreed production cut “to curb the worst [oil] glut in decades.” Citing numbers published by the Joint Organisations Data Initiative, the news service says Russia pumped 10.49 million barrels of oil a day in December, while Saudi Arabia’s output was 10.46 million barrels a day. The United States was the third-largest producer at 8.8 million barrels a day, with Iraq and China rounding out the top five. For more, read the full story.

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Thailand company acquires stake in Marcellus shale play

Thailand-based Banpu Plc, a coal mine and power plant operator, has acquired a 10.24% stake in a portfolio of natural gas assets in Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale play for $63 million, reports the Bangkok Post. According to the newspaper, Banpu Chief Executive Somruedee Chaimongkol said the project is estimated to have 133 billion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. It spans more than 10,000 acres, and 170 wells are expected to be drilled. For more, read the full story.

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Israel finally tapping natural gas in Mediterranean Sea

After years of delay, Israel is finally pushing ahead with an ambitious strategy to tap reserves of natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea that could transform its economy and its place in “a historically hostile region,” reports the New York Times. The newspaper says Israel could not only become largely energy-independent, but also supply natural gas to neighboring countries. In addition, the Israeli government envisions building pipelines that could transport the nation’s gas as far away as Europe. For more, read the full story.

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Oil workers losing jobs as automation takes hold

As the global oil industry begins to climb out of a collapse that took 440,000 jobs, anywhere from a third to half of those positions may never come back as a combination of more efficient drilling rigs and increased automation is reducing the need for oilfield workers, Bloomberg reports. Energy companies, which rely on large, complex equipment for drilling and maintaining oil and natural gas wells, are particularly well-positioned to benefit from automation, said Dennis Yang, chief executive of San Francisco-based Udemy, a company that retrains workers whose careers were ended by advanced machinery. Bloomberg also says a laptop has become the main tool for oilfield workers instead of “a toolbox full of wrenches and tubing benders.” For more, read the full story.

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