Not many years ago, the U.S. steel industry found itself losing ground.
U.S. Steel Corp., the country’s largest producer, still had billions of dollars in revenue, but had posted large losses for three consecutive years. Meanwhile, China was offering cheaper labor and an abundance of the raw materials used to make steel. As a result, the World Steel Association reported that Chinese production of steel increased 57 percent between 2007 and 2013, while American production during that time period declined by 11 percent.
But then came the domestic shale gas boom, which has put the American steel industry back in the business of making pipes for drilling rigs and new pipelines.
via Flood Of Shale Gas Spilling Into Communities Across America – Forbes.
Oil’s biggest bust since the global recession was good for a few cases of whiplash.Just two months ago, Continental Resources Inc. (CLR), the shale driller founded by billionaire Harold Hamm, budgeted for $80-a-barrel oil and planned to spend $4.6 billion in 2015. Six weeks later, with crude down 29 percent in the interim, Continental cut its 2015 budget to $2.7 billion.Halliburton Co. (HAL), the world’s biggest provider of fracking services to oil companies, announced Dec. 11 that it would dismiss 1,000 workers. Two months earlier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dave Lesar said “our sector will be fine” if oil prices range between $80 and $100 a barrel.Oil PricesThe U.S. shale boom that’s brought the country closer to energy self-sufficiency than at any time since the 1980s will be challenged in 2015 as never before. The benchmark U.S. crude price fell below $50 today for the first time since April 2009. Demand growth is weakening and OPEC, which controls 40 percent of supply, is unwilling to cut output.“The extent and rapidity of the price decline has been a surprise,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC, an energy consultant in Houston. “They’re facing a new reality.” Photographer: Daniel Acker/BloombergPioneer Drilling Co. operations near Montrose, Pennsylvania, U.S.West Texas Intermediate reached a 2014 peak of $107.73 in June before dropping as low as $49.77 today on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The grade settled at $50.04 a barrel. That’s below the break-even price for 37 of 38 U.S. shale oilfields, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.RBC Capital Markets and CIBC World Markets predict prices will remain below $60 for the first three months of 2015. Societe Generale SA’s Michael Wittner forecasts an average of $64.50 in the first quarter and $61.50 in the second.
via Oil Below $60 Tests Economics of U.S. Shale Boom – Bloomberg.
Posted in Bakken, Eagle Ford, shale breakeven
Tagged Bakken, Eagle Ford, energy capex, energy capital spending, Shale breakeven, shale jobs, Shale Natural Gas, Shale oil, Shale oil breakeven
A drastic fall in oil prices means the booming sound from the Bakken will be muffled next year and at least one commodity expert thinks oil values will remain low for another two to three years.What it all means for North Dakota’s oil economy is far from certain, but one of the Bakken’s major drillers says half the drilling rigs could be shut down as the industry takes a wait-and-see approach to the market.Lynn Helms, director of the Department of Mineral Resources, said recently in his monthly update that the rig count — now at 181 — could fall by as many as 30 to 45 next year.By Tuesday, though, he was hearing news from Continental Resources that it expects the number of idled rigs throughout the Bakken could be as high as 90, significantly more than he had predicted. The company, owned by billionaire Harold Hamm, produces about 10 percent of the state’s daily oil output.“That’s the most pessimistic view I’ve heard,” Helms said. “That’s their view of what could happen.“If it does, that’s off-book from Continental’s own investor report for 2015. On Dec. 3, the company said it planned to maintain its 2014 Bakken activity level with an average of 19 rigs and spend $2.6 billion on oil development. That included planned cuts of $600 million for the upcoming year.Since then oil dropped off again to $53 a barrel, closing at $58 Thursday. Bakken crude is discounted another $8 to $16 a barrel because of the cost of moving it out of North Dakota. It was quoted at $35.75 Thursday.Marathon Oil has nothing to say yet about 2015 and Whiting Petroleum’s investor relations team says it will announce plans late in January or early February.
via Bakken boom looks to uncertainty in 2015 : Energy News.
Research paper by Raymond J. Keating, Chief Economist, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council
For about a decade, natural gas production has been a key driver of new jobs and business growth in the state, and the impact on small companies is noteworthy. In our most recent report, the Small Business Entrepreneurship Council found that the natural gas boom brought a disproportionately positive impact on small and medium sized businesses, which make up an overwhelming majority of the nation’s—and Pennsylvania’s—energy sector. The next logical step is to open new markets by exporting natural gas to energy hungry countries. Between 2005 and 2012, Pennsylvania experienced an extraordinary 1,239.3 percent increase in natural production, which contributed significantly to the state’s economy. Employers during this timeframe added 86,566 jobs, with 18,033 of those jobs occurring in five energy sectors. One in five jobs were created by the natural-gas-related industries of extraction, drilling, support services, pipeline and related structured construction and field machinery manufacturing. The rate of employment growth in these sectors over this period ranged from 37 percent to 512 percent, while U.S. total employment actually declined.The number of business establishments in the state grew as well, while the number of U.S. businesses declined. With Pennsylvania’s key energy sectors leading the way, most of this tremendous growth was concentrated among smaller businesses.A common misperception is that dividends from natural gas production go straight to so-called “Big Energy.” However, our report has found the exact opposite to be true.
via The next step in Pa.'s shale boom is LNG exports: Raymond Keating | PennLive.com.
Houston-based Enbridge Energy Partners LP (NYSE: EEP) is the latest energy company to announce budgetary cuts due to dropping oil prices.In an effort to cut costs, Enbridge Energy Partners has cut jobs in its domestic gas pipelines and processing business unit, according to the Houston Chronicle. Less than 100 jobs were cut. The company’s adjusted operating income dropped $20 million in the third quarter over last year due to reduced volumes of natural gas running through its pipelines as companies are slowly scaling back production.
via Enbridge Energy Partners LP to cut jobs – Houston Business Journal.
London-based BP PLC (NYSE: BP) plans to reduce staff by cutting mid-level managers across the board in production, refining and in corporate offices, the company told the Times of London.The announced cuts come after continued drops in oil prices, which are currently below $70 a barrel. BP, which has about 84,000 employees, is one of Houston’s largest energy employers with about 10,000 people in the region. Some cuts are expected to take place in Houston, where the company houses its main U.S. offices. Project freezes may also take place.
via BP Plc to cut jobs in production, refining as oil prices slump below $70 – Houston Business Journal.
The Eagle Ford shale is bringing jobs and economic growth to South Texas, but many residents are worried the cost is too high.According to Dr. Gunner Schade, of the Department of Atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M, the air quality needs to be monitored. Shade has been studying Texas air quality for six months and presented his research at a workshop for resource management of the environment Tuesday.Shade said indications of hydrocarbon emissions from the shale are constant, not intermittent, and the concentrations can be heavy enough to be noticed by shale residents.”People who smell it, live close to it, and may be screaming loudly about it, they are not wrong, they are just loud,” said Shade.Schade said many of the hydrocarbons don’t pose a danger, but continued exposure can have long-term effects. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality collects air quality information from a monitoring station in Floresville, and the agency also responds to complaints about shale emissions.TCEQ will soon be adding another monitoring station in Karnes County to gather more information about air quality.
via Eagle Ford shale brings jobs, economic growth South Texas.
The San Antonio Business Journal recently reported that in the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association’s “State of Energy Report”, Texas increased its oil and gas employment by 23,100 in 2013. The job total for the sector is now at 411,600. Texas alone accounted for 75 percent of new U.S. jobs in the industry last year. The state leads the United States in production numbers. In 2014, Texas has added over 4,000 new positions between April and June alone.
via Oil and gas job openings increase in Texas | eaglefordtexas.com.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Waist-high weeds and a crumbling old Chevy mark the entrance to a rust-colored factory complex on the edge of town here, seemingly another monument to the passing of the golden age of American industry.But deep inside the 14-acre site, the thwack-thwack-thwack sound of metal on metal tells a different story.“We’re holding our own,” said Greg Hess, who is looking to hire draftsmen and machine operators at the company he runs, Youngstown Bending and Rolling. “I feel good that we saved this place from the wrecking ball.”The turnaround is part of a transformation spreading across the heartland of the nation, driven by a surge in domestic oil and gas production that is changing the economic calculus for old industries and downtrodden cities alike.Here in Ohio, in an arc stretching south from Youngstown past Canton and into the rural parts of the state where much of the natural gas is being drawn from shale deep underground, entire sectors like manufacturing, hotels, real estate and even law are being reshaped. A series of recent economic indicators, including factory hiring, shows momentum building nationally in the manufacturing sector.
via Boom in Energy Spurs Industry in the Rust Belt – NYTimes.com.