Who are the biggest natural gas sellers in the U.S.? You might be surprised to learn that the biggest sellers are not necessarily the biggest producers of natural gas. Oh, you might recognize some of the names of the top sellers (BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips). But others might be more of a mystery (Macquarie, Tenaska, Direct Energy). Would it surprise you to learn that BP (i.e. British Petroleum) is the #1 seller of natgas in the U.S., and has been for years? Last quarter BP sold 22.10 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas here in the colonies. That represents 18% of all natural gas bought and sold. Each quarter NGI (Natural Gas Intelligence) runs the numbers and publishes the list of 25 top natural gas marketers in the U.S. They recently published the first quarter 2018 list, which shows that for a second quarter in a row, overall volumes are up from the same quarter a year ago. Here’s the cool thing: NGI publishes the list absolutely free on their website! As we scan down the list of who sells (i.e. markets) the most natgas in the U.S., we can’t help but notice that many of them have operations in the Marcellus/Utica region…
We sometimes run Top 10 lists for the Marcellus/Utica, or even the U.S., but what about a Top 10 list of natural gas producers in the entire world? We spotted an article on the Forbes magazine website that lists the Top 10 natgas producers for the entire world. By our count, eight of the ten have major or minor operations in the Marcellus/Utica. Cool! Here’s the list…
Over the past decade, from 2004 to 2014, something happened: the miracle of hydraulic fracturing. Because of fracking, the world now pumps more oil than it did a decade ago. During the past decade the price for a barrel of oil went sky high. Now, according to the popular narrative of the day, the price of oil has “collapsed” because we’re swimming in “too much oil.” Who woulda thunk? (Side note: the price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude in 2004 was $41.50. Today? About $43. So much for a price “collapse”–it’s more like a “price maintenance.”) For a while some people, like the now thoroughly discredited Art Berman, peddled the “peak oil” theory–that the world was running out of oil and would soon be paying $200 a barrel or more (see Peak Oil Theorist Art Berman Says Shale Gas is Peaking Too). So much for those theories. A decade ago the world was pumping 64.1 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd)–that is, oil and the energy equivalent in natural gas. Today? The world is pumping 80.4 million boepd. So who are the world’s 21 largest oil and gas producing companies? We have the list below…
Last week MDN brought you the news that WPX Energy will not be drilling any new Marcellus wells in 2014–and likely beyond (see WPX Gives MDN an Update on Their 2014 Marcellus Plans). WPX is focusing their attention on oil and wet gas shale plays. They’re not the only ones.
A Reuters story running in the Canadian National Post highlights comments by ConocoPhillips, a huge oil and gas driller, saying the company is staying away from natural gas for the time being (at least the next few years) because of the low price environment. According to Conoco’s CFO Jeff Sheets, they want to see the Henry Hub price for natgas at $5 per MMBtu for at least two years before they’ll even consider returning to natgas drilling…
Are we about to see large oil and gas companies begin to split U.S. and foreign operations? An interesting theory is put forth in an article on the Investors Business Daily website that a plan by Occidental Petroleum to split its U.S. and foreign businesses may lead to other oil companies doing the same. Why? Investors want to drive up the per-share price of the companies, and by shedding more risky, less profitable international operations, they may be able to do it.
What caught MDN’s eye about the article is that the author uses Cabot Oil & Gas as an example of how a small domestic David-type company’s stock price can run rings around a much larger Goliath-type. MDN pointed this out in early March when we noted that Cabot’s market capitalization soared past Chesapeake Energy, a company at least 10 times the size of Cabot (see Guest Post: Corporate Hubris Humbles Chesapeake – Cabot Soars Sure & Steady). Also of interest is that the article names several large multi-nationals with drilling operations in the Marcellus/Utica (ConocoPhillips, Anadarko Petroleum and Talisman Energy) as being pressured to consider splitting their companies…
Each year Platts publishes a list of the top 250 energy companies in the world. They evaluate companies using four metrics: asset value, revenue, profit, and return on invested capital. It probably won’t surprise you to find out that 7 of the top 10 energy companies in the world have a presence in the Marcellus or Utica Shale.
Here’s the Platts list of the top 10 energy companies in the world for 2012:
ProPublica recently compiled a list of the top 10 natural gas drillers in the U.S. based on daily natural gas production volume. The list includes gas drilled by both “traditional” vertical drilling as well as “non-traditional” horizontal hydraulic fracturing. Or think of it as non-shale gas and shale gas—companies who drill for both are in the list. The Marcellus Shale represents a good portion of the gas now being produced in the country, but other shale formations, like the more mature Barnett Shale (in Texas) also contribute a substantial volume of natural gas.
MDN presents this list as a useful resource for landowners. The biggest drillers are not always the best, and not always the right choice for a given landowner and situation. However, knowing who the “bigs” are can be a helpful guide—you know they have the money and the technology to get the gas out of the ground, and they have money to pay for leases and royalties.
An interesting tidbit from a story about energy giant ConocoPhillips. The article, published on the Houston Chronicle’s website, was about recent efforts by ConocoPhillips to “debunk Wall Street’s view that the Houston-based oil major grows by acquisition rather than finding its own oil and gas.” Buried far down the story is a statement (not a direct quote but a summary statement) from Larry Archibald, company vice president of exploration and production. The statement, as summarized by the reporter, was this:
He [Archibald] said ConocoPhillips shied away from “feeding frenzies” at high-profile shale plays where some companies rushed in and spent $25,000 or more per acre amid the pre-recession boom in gas production. Those plays included the Haynesville in East Texas and northern Louisiana, and the Marcellus in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia.
He said ConocoPhillips will keep spending in more established plays, such as the Barnett shale near Fort Worth, and the lesser-known Eagle Ford in South Texas, where the company has a leading acreage position.
Everyone drools to see energy companies spending $25K per acre for leasing rights. But don’t get your hopes up too high. Marcellus Drilling News has not (so far) found any instances of leasing deals that approach anything near $25K per arce. It’s been more like $5K per acre on the high side in the Southern Tier of New York. If you know of high paying deals in the Marcellus, please let us know!
The other interesting point about the statement is this: It looks like ConocoPhillips will not be a major player in the Marcellus anytime soon, which is unfortunate.
Read the full article: ConocoPhillips flaunts its exploration finds