News, Fracking, Oil & Gas Feed

Is U.S. Fracking Killing OPEC?

Energy: Despite cuts in oil output and threats of even more, the OPEC cartel can only watch in disappointment as prices for crude defy their efforts to raise them. Credit fracking for the cartel's loss of power over the world market.

These are desperate times for OPEC. On Thursday, oil prices plunged nearly 5% when it became apparent OPEC wouldn't cut output further, which would have put a serious dent in members' finances. Instead, the cartel will extend current cuts for nine more months.

In essence, they're declaring victory and going home.

Just three and a half years ago, the price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude peaked at $110.62 a barrel. At the time, President Obama was pushing Americans to conserve and warning, "we can't drill our way out of the problem."

Turns out, we could. Today, oil prices are struggling to rise above $50 a barrel, thanks in large part to vast new supplies of crude on the market from American frackers. They've used technology to dramatically slash costs, so OPEC can no longer control the global market price.


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Oil prices flatten out as investors ponder what’s next after OPEC meeting

Oil prices straddled the flat line on Monday, and gave up some of the gains seen ahead of the close in the U.S. on Friday, as the post-OPEC environment continues to develop.

Crude futures slumped nearly 5% on Thursday after the production-cut deal led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was extended by nine months but not deepened--disappointing some who anticipated output cuts would increase. Oil, though, finished up nearly 2% Friday thanks to the late U.S. gains.

Because of holidays Monday in China, the U.K. and the U.S., trading is set to be thin throughout Monday’s global session. That, though, could exacerbate movements one way or the other.

Read: When do markets close for Memorial Day?

In recent trading, West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery CLN7, -0.18%  on the New York Mercantile Exchange was barely changed at $49.79 a barrel in the Globex electronic session. Brent crude LCON7, -0.17%  , the global benchmark, was flat at $52.15.

Daniel Hynes, commodities analyst with ANZ Bank, anticipates oil prices rebounding into the third quarter “as the reality of production cuts hits the markets. But the upside may be limited.” He sees oil possibly making a run toward $60 next quarter.


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Oil prices drop as OPEC output cut extension disappoints the market

Oil prices fell sharply on Thursday after an OPEC delegate said the oil producer group had agreed to extend production cuts in production by nine months to March 2018.

OPEC ministers are gathered in Vienna to decide how long to extend oil production cuts in an attempt to drain a global glut that has depressed markets for almost three years.

Ahead of a closed-door meeting on Thursday, Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's energy and industry oil minister told CNBC, "Nine months with the same level of production that our member countries have been producing at is a very safe and almost certain option to do the trick."


The oil boom and trucking

The recent surge in U.S. oil drilling has helped keep gas and diesel prices depressed, despite oil production cuts by OPEC. In fact, the U.S. is producing more oil than ever before. For the trucking industry, that has meant a big boost in volumes, not just in fuel deliveries, but also equipment being hauled to and from the oil fields.

For a more in-depth look at the trend, read: U.S. oil boom driving a surge in trucking. The infographic at the link below provides a quick glimpse of what is happening.


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Fracking crew shortage may push oil's biggest bubble to 2018

Shale explorers pushing to expand oil production are struggling to find enough fracking crews after thousands of workers were dismissed during the crude rout.

Independent U.S. drillers underspent their first-quarter budgets by as much as $2.5 billion collectively, largely because they couldn’t find enough fracking crews to handle all the planned work, according to Infill Thinking LLC, a research and consulting firm focused on oilfield services and exploration. If the scarcity holds, output increases planned for this summer may get pushed into 2018, creating an unanticipated production bulge with “scary” implications for oil prices, said Joseph Triepke, Infill’s founder.


Oil-field optimism

An increase in activity in North Dakota’s oil patch is bringing optimism back to the area.

“After 2014 we had a tough couple years and lost about 13,000 jobs in the industry. That’s coming back now,” said Rob Lindberg, director of Bakken Backers, a coalition formed about five years ago and comprised of businesses, leaders, workers and citizens who support North Dakota’s oil and gas industry.

Lindberg, of Bismarck, spoke recently to the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Committee.

With oil prices plummeting about two years ago, North Dakota’s oil boom, better known as “The Bakken,” slowed down and many people working in the oil field left the state. That is changing now and being contributed to a number of reasons including a rise in oil prices and a friendlier oil production climate from the Trump administration.

Despite the recent lows experienced in the oil and gas industry, Lindberg said the Bakken remains special.

“In the history of the world there’s only been 10 formations to ever hit one million barrels per day and we’ve got one of them,” he said.


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OPEC to U.S.: Please produce less oil for the 'prosperity of the world economy'

OPEC, the oil cartel really cares about the world. That’s the message of a new monthly report issued Thursday. OPEC says what the world needs now is a bit less supply on the global oil market. In particular, they would really appreciate it if the United States would stop producing so much damn oil…for the good of the world of course. From CNN Money:

The report said that balancing the market would “require the collective efforts of all oil producers” and should be done “not only for the benefit of the individual countries, but also for the general prosperity of the world economy.”

OPEC said that one producer in particular is to blame: The U.S., where shale producers have continued to ramp up their drilling despite lower crude prices.

The increased production has undermined OPEC’s efforts to keep prices between $50 and $60 per barrel.

Last December, Jazz wrote about OPEC’s decision to cut production for six months in an attempt to drive oil price up. The plan worked. Soon after the announcement was made, prices rose above $50 a barrel. OPEC members made clear at the time that it wanted prices higher but not above $60 a barrel because the low-60s is where U.S. shale would become competitive again. If prices were to settle in that range, it would mean a whole bunch of new drilling in the U.S.

But the OPEC effort didn’t work for long. Prices are back below $50 a barrel now and thanks to increased efficiency, U.S. producers can still make money at those prices.


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Study: Fracking, north-south drilling open up Wyoming oil

CHEYENNE — Certain approaches to hydraulic fracturing — the more of it, the better — and directional drilling appear the secret to successfully tapping a previously unprofitable oil deposit, according to a Wyoming State Geological Survey report released Monday.

For decades, geologists thought the Codell Sandstone of southeast Wyoming was too dense to make drilling worthwhile.

Then came the two techniques that have opened access to such deposits nationwide: Fracking, or pumping pressurized water mixed with fine sand and chemicals into wells to break open deposits, and directional drilling.

The Codell Sandstone has received far less attention than the overlying Niobrara Shale in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska, but the same techniques have revolutionized drilling in both.

Six companies have produced oil from 119 wells targeting the Codell Sandstone east of Cheyenne over the past five years. The Wyoming State Geological Survey looked at what the most productive Codell wells have in common.


OPEC is out of options: How low can oil prices go? - May. 8, 2017

The price of crude has plummeted 13% in recent weeks to below $46, suggesting that the cartel's efforts to vanquish cheap oil are falling short.

OPEC and other major producers had been enjoying higher prices since agreeing in November to slash production, a strategy designed to rid global markets of excess supply.


Controlling radicals in Boulder County want to stop fracking

They call it the "People's Republic of Boulder" as a joke aimed at the perpetual shenanigans of the most liberal city and county in Colorado. But Boulder County and the city of Boulder, for all their leftist leanings, are still political subdivisions of the state of Colorado and the United States of America and are subject to all the laws and regulations thereof.

East Boulder County United and Boulder County Protectors on the other hand aren't government agencies; they are anti-fracking groups whose spokesperson Cliff Willmeng said, "We do not recognize the authority of this body, we do not recognize the authority of those industries to override the free people of Boulder County. We will not be allowing a single well in Boulder County" at a May 1 meeting of the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission. The members of the COGC tolerated Willmeng's tirade with stone-faced bemusement and then went on about their state-authorized business of regulating the extraction of oil and gas statewide.