May NatGas Deliveries to US LNG Plants Lowest Since Last October

Feedgas, which is the gas that flows to LNG export facilities, hit the lowest levels it has seen since last October according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. As we pointed out two weeks ago, natural gas prices are staying low because worldwide demand and prices for LNG is currently low (see Why Does NatGas Price Stay So Low with Falling Production?). Low prices will continue for the foreseeable future, with some 20 U.S. LNG export cargoes for June now canceled and another 45 for July rumored to be canceled.
Continue reading

IEA Predicts Biggest Collapse in Global Energy Investment in History

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the “lifeblood” of the global energy system is…investment. That is, money. Without investment, new sources of energy don’t appear. In 2016 IEA began to publish an annual report called World Energy Investment, in order to track spending on all forms of energy worldwide. Earlier this week IEA published its fifth annual version of the report. In the report, IEA says 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic, will mark the largest-ever collapse in global energy investment in history. IEA says the coming investment decline will impact oil the most.
Continue reading

Why Does NatGas Price Stay So Low with Falling Production?

It’s kind of a mystery. The supply of natural gas produced in the U.S. has been declining over the past few months. Oil drillers are laying down rigs (historic lows for rigs in the oil patch), and companies are shutting in oil wells–all of which means there’s less associated natural gas being produced. M-U drillers like EQT (the largest natgas producer in the U.S.) are curtailing huge quantities of their production (see EQT Shuts in 33% of NatGas Production in Pennsylvania, Ohio). And yet, with all of this gas being removed from the market, the price of natgas is still stubbornly low. Why?
Continue reading

$4 Natural Gas This Winter? Maybe, IF Things “Fall into Place”

We spotted an interesting story by S&P Global Platts about the dramatic increase in the stock price for gas-focused drillers, particularly in the Marcellus/Utica. Did you know that EQT’s stock has shot up 127% in value over the past three months? Range Resources and Southwestern Energy are both up 81% in value. Antero Resources is up 76%. It’s impressive! Then again, the stock price for most of those companies decreased by 90% over the past five years, so we have a lot of ground to make up.
Continue reading

Oil Price Collapse Appears Over Already…Gas Price Impact?

What happens in the oil patch has a direct bearing on the financial health of gas drillers in the Marcellus/Utica, which is why we periodically cover happenings in oil. We’re now beginning to see articles with the theme that the oil price crash is already over. Yesterday West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed at $32.50/barrel. Still not great, but a lot better than the negative $37.63 we saw a few weeks ago! However, does a higher price for oil automatically mean shale oil drilling will immediately return, and with it more associated gas keeping the price of natgas low?
Continue reading

Oil Markets are From Mars, Natural Gas Markets are from Venus

Our favorite government agency, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, published a blog post yesterday to outline the differences between the oil markets and natural gas markets and how each market responds to world events vis-à-vis pricing. EIA says crude oil markets respond quickly and often dramatically to world events, but natural gas markets have tended to be driven by regional factors and have been less connected to the international market. Oil markets are from Mars, natgas markets are from Venus.
Continue reading

Oil & Gas Experts Say Industry Itself to Blame for Oil Price Crash

Simon-Kucher & Partners, a global strategy and marketing consulting firm along with Rice University surveyed 195 oil and gas industry experts from around the world. They published their findings in a report titled “2020 Oil & Gas Crisis Study.” The upshot, the sentiment, is that the current crisis faced by oil companies is largely homegrown. We did it to ourselves.
Continue reading

“End Game” – America’s Shale Oil Industry Begins to Shut Down

In the end, physics and not government intervention is forcing the end of large amounts of shale oil production across the U.S. With a forced shutdown of the world’s economy (including the U.S. economy) due to the coronavirus pandemic, some 30 million barrels per day of oil the world would have used (out of a previous 100 million bpd) has disappeared. Demand has dried up. Yes, the oil apocalypse is here. Welcome to Hades. Some of our favorite oil superheroes will not make it out alive.
Continue reading

U.S. Oil Industry: April Will be Terrible, May Will be Impossible

As the price of oil continues to crash and burn, U.S. shale oil companies are “living a nightmare.” Companies are now laying off employees by the thousands and beginning to shut-in wells. Everyone is holding their collective breath waiting for a tidal wave of bankruptcies, hoping it won’t come, fearing it will. What is it like living inside the oil price crash bubble in Texas? Believe it or not, an article in the well known fake news source New York Times does a pretty good job of describing the hell that America’s shale oil companies are now living through. A quote from one operator: “April is going to be terrible, but May is going to be impossible.” And, “I’m just living a nightmare.” That about sums it up.
Continue reading

Oil Price Crashes -$56; First Time in History Sellers Pay Buyers

Frankly, we’re speechless. Yesterday the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil for near-term May contracts went from trading at $18.27 per barrel (bbl) to minus $37.63, a drop of $55.90 in a single day. This is the first time in history sellers of oil in the U.S. (more properly the contracts to buy oil) are paying buyers to accept it–because the sellers have no place to store physical oil should they keep the contracts. This is a complete and utter meltdown in the oil market. Trading for May contracts ends today, thank God. The June contract is (so far) showing deals trading at $15.59/bbl. That’s still a disaster, but not as bad as paying someone else to take the oil! What caused this price crash, and where does it go from here?
Continue reading

Texas Waha NatGas Price Crashes to -$7.67/Mcf

Although the NYMEX futures price for natural gas zoomed up to $1.92 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) yesterday, the price for natgas didn’t go up everywhere. As you know, there is no one price for natural gas, although the most quoted price is the Henry Hub benchmark. Yesterday at the Waha trading hub in West Texas (the Permian Basin), the traded price for natgas sunk to a new, historic low: -$7.67/Mcf. It closed the day at -$5.79/Mcf. That is, sellers were paying buyers to take their gas. Why?
Continue reading

The “Upside” for Marcellus/Utica in the Oil Price Crash

We’ve previously brought you various articles, and comments on articles, describing how Marcellus/Utica drillers may benefit from the current crash in global oil prices. How? A number of oil drillers in Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and other oil states are not only not drilling new wells right now, but they’re also not completing previously drilled wells and in some cases, they are shutting in existing/flowing wells. All of which means there will be a rapid decline in the amount of “associated gas” being produced in those states. Less associated gas means less supply and less supply means higher prices–for M-U drillers. We spotted an article that does a good job at defining how this will likely play out. How much less associated gas can we expect? What does that mean for natgas prices (when will they go higher)? What if the price of oil is $40/barrel rather than $30/barrel?
Continue reading

With Condensate Near $0, Utica Drillers Shift Permits to Dry Gas

Last week MDN highlighted an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the low low prices Marcellus/Utica condensate has fetched since the beginning of the year (see M-U Condensate Prices Briefly Go Negative, Down 91% from Jan 1). S&P Global is currently reporting prices for Utica condensate have not yet recovered, sometimes still dipping into negative territory. As a result, drillers are reducing their new permits and drilling in “wet gas” areas of the Utica and instead shifting gears to “dry gas” regions.
Continue reading

OPEC+Russia+US Agree to 9.7M Bbl/d Oil Cut – Too Little Too Late

To say that history (in the world oil market) was made this past week is an understatement. The United States of America, under the direction of Donald J. Trump, threw in its lot with both Saudi Arabia and Russia in order to salvage a deal to cut oil production worldwide by 9.7 million barrels per day. The fact that Trump leaned on/cajoled/pressured the Saudis and Russians is not the historical part. What is history is that the U.S. itself pledged to cut a portion of its production in cooperation with those bad actors–a pledged to cut 300,000 bbl/d, because Mexico wouldn’t. We’ll explain.
Continue reading

The Case for Rising NatGas Prices – How High and How Soon?

We’ve preached “lower for longer” for a long time now–the theory that natural gas prices are low and will remain low for the foreseeable future. Not because we want it to be that way, but because it is that way, and we want you, our beloved MDN readers, to know the truth. We live for the day when we can tell you natgas prices are heading higher. Are we finally beginning to see some hope in that regard? Maybe! We’ve outlined the latest thinking across several recent posts that given the crash in oil prices, less associated natural gas will be produced leading to less supply on the market and (eventually) higher prices for gas. When will that happen? We have some new speculation to share.
Continue reading

“Lower for Longer” Not Only for NatGas, but Oil & Petchem Too

If you’ve read MDN for any length of time you know we’ve preached the gospel of “lower for longer”–that natural gas prices will remain low, quite low, for a long period of time. How low? Likely in the $2/Mcf range (or just under, or just over). Gone are the days of $3 and $4 gas–at least for a period of years. Although that may have now changed with the double shock of too much oil and the coronavirus destroying demand, which affects natural gas prices. How? Less oil drilling in American shale means less associated gas produced by oil drilling. Less supply equals higher prices. But let’s not go down that rabbit trail right now. We spotted a couple of articles by analysts who predict the current oil price crash will have a profound and long-term effect not only on the oil industry but also on the petrochemical industry–the downstream recipient and user of oil (and gas).
Continue reading