Helping America Navigate a New Energy Reality

Peak Oil Review – 30 Jan 2017

By on 30 Jan 2017 in Peak Oil Review with 0 Comments

Quote of the Week

“The blunt reality for the Trump administration is that there is no way to make pipeline approvals conditional on the use of U.S. steel without undermining the goal of fair market access for U.S. exporters.”

John Kemp, Reuters energy columnist

Graphic of the Week

 

Contents

1.  Oil and the Global Economy
2.  The Middle East & North Africa
3.  China
4.  Russia
5. Nigeria
6. Venezuela
7. The Briefs

1.  Oil and the Global Economy

Prices moved slightly higher last week as the markets continued to watch the decline in oil production by most OPEC members and a few other exporters interested in seeing oil move higher. The evidence continues to accumulate that progress is being made in achieving OPEC’s 1.8 million b/d cut. In addition to a number of OPEC luminaries who assured the world that the cuts are happening and that the markets would be balanced shortly, tanker-tracker Petro-Logistics said that its information indicates that OPEC will reduce its supply by 900,000 b/d in January. This number does not include 11 non-OPEC members that are also supposed to be cutting production 600,000 b/d. The CEO of Petro-Logistics which has been monitoring tanker movements for 30 years said this suggests “a high level of compliance thus far.”

As the formal program to cut production moves on, however, oil prices seem to be trapped in a trading range around $55 a barrel and are having trouble moving much higher. Increasing production from Libya, Nigeria, Iran, and the US are the main trouble. While it is quicker and easier to cut production, the four countries where production is increasing have the capability and the incentive to move production higher. In the US (and Canada) high costs of production have marginal oil production costs flirting with the edges of unprofitability. In the other three countries, Libya, Iran, and Nigeria, costs of production are low but geopolitical problems have restricted their ability to produce oil in recent years. Should the four countries succeed in pushing production to anywhere near recently demonstrated levels, then the OPEC cut would be largely offset. Throw in the possibility that the growth in the demand for oil in the coming year may not be all that is projected, and we may not see oil prices significantly higher for an extended period. The IEA warned last week that higher production from countries not a party to the agreement could put an end to the price rally.

There is also the issue of US oil policy in the coming year. Washington in buzzing over the possibility of a 20 percent import tax that might be applied to oil, or possibly only on imports from those countries with which the US has a negative balance of payments. Such a tax would exempt Canadian oil but would impose a tax on oil imported from the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. There would be major repercussions from such a tax should it be implemented. Refiners would almost certainly pass on the $30 billion that tax would raise to consumers, raising the cost of gasoline and nearly everything else. US and Canadian producers would obviously benefit as their product would become more competitive against imports.  US production would rise and the spread between Brent and WTI would narrow.

Because of all the downsides to the proposal, Goldman Sachs suggested last week that the tax only has a 20 percent chance of passing.  However, word from the White House is that President Trump is seriously considering the proposal as a way to pay for a new wall along the Mexican border and to boost manufacturing in the US.  The many announcements of new policies coming from the White House last week that are helpful to the oil industry have some saying that US oil production could increase so fast that prices will remain low for an extended period.

Many are talking about a renewed boom in the US shale oil industry this spring and the complimentary boom in the Canadian oil sands. The low oil prices of the last few years have bankrupted many firms and those that remain have trimmed costs of production to the bone through better technology, drilling in only the best and most productive places, and forcing many oil service companies into operating at a deficit. The EIA says US oil production is up by 400,000 b/d since the end of summer and some 250 drilling rigs have been brought back into production since the low point last May.  The week before last 29 more rigs were added to the active count and 15 more were added last week. The oil rig count, however, currently is only 566 which is some 1,000 rigs below the 1,609 that were active in October 2014.

Of interest is the amount of fracking sand that is being used in drilling to produce shale oil. This year’s consumption of sand is expected to be double the previous US peak of 240 billion pounds. In recent years, the industry has come to believe that using a lot more fracking sand to prop open the tiny cracks made by the hydraulic pressure will accelerate production and bring faster profits. Some skeptics doubt that the high-cost sand will do much for the lifetime productivity of a well, but only gets the shale oil out faster. Given that the number of rigs in production is only about a third of the all-time high of three years ago, the large increase in the use of fracking sand would seem to indicate that the industry is planning to produce a lot more oil in the coming year from a fewer number of rigs.

Last week BP released its annual Energy Outlook report that surveys the prospects for the oil industry in coming decades. The company sees the demand for energy growing into the 2040s but that the demand for oil will slow because of more efficient means of consumption and the increasing use of green energy. The report estimates that 2.5 trillion barrels of oil have been discovered worldwide and could be “technically” extracted. This estimate begs the question of the cost of production of this oil some of which will be too expensive to extract before other technologies arrive. In any case, BP says there is double the amount of oil underground than what the world will need between now and 2050 so there is not need to worry about running out for the next 35 years.

BP also says that the growth of the Asian middle-class is expected to drive the increasing demand for more energy with non-fossil fuel energy continuing to command a larger share of consumption. However, fossil fuels still are expected to be supplying more than three-quarters of the total energy supply in 2035. Natural gas usage is expected to grow the fastest, taking over coal as the second largest source of fuel by 2035.  The company also warned of continuing pressure on oil prices for a long-term oil glut. Some of this glut will come from pressures to reduce the use of fossil fuels in response to environmental concerns.

2.  The Middle East & North Africa

Iran: Exports in February are expected to increase marginally to about 2.2 million b/d from the 2.16 million it is expected to export in January. Tehran’s exports hit a post-sanctions high of 2.6 million b/d in September. However, this was during a period when they were unloading a substantial amount of crude accumulated during the embargo. Iran has some obligations under the OPEC agreement in that while it does not have to cut production, it can only increase output by a limited amount. Exports to the European markets which disappeared during the sanctions have rebounded and will reach a five-year high of 622,000 b/d this month.

Tehran still is going all out to increase its oil and gas production in the coming decade. The National Oil Company says it has 29 foreign oil companies on the short list to take part in oil and gas tenders later this quarter. The company is partnering with Russian energy firms to build a natural gas pipeline that will allow it to export natural gas. An insurance group announced that it as found a way to bypass the remaining US sanctions and allow most Iranian oil cargoes to obtain private insurance. On the downside, Tehran says it is about to cancel the $7 billion natural gas pipeline project with Pakistan. The initial agreement was signed in 2009 with completion scheduled for 2015, but construction never began, and Tehran never built its section to the Pakistan border. The pipeline was to be built across some of the most hostile parts of Pakistan meaning that it was likely to be subject to constant attacks.

The future of Tehran’s relations with Washington is back on the front burner. The Iranian’s have retaliated for the Trump administration’s ban on it citizens from entering the US by blocking US citizens from entering Iran. Where this standoff goes is impossible to say. President Trump has said many times that he favors scrapping the nuclear agreement and replacing it with a much stronger one. Outside of Israel and some Sunni Arab states, this view is not held by many other countries. While the US can impose new sanctions on Iran, without global cooperation, they are unlikely to have much impact.

Iraq: Baghdad says it has already cut its production by 180,000 b/d and plans to cut production by another 30,000 b/d by the end of this month. These numbers are messy as Iraq had originally promised to cut production by 210,000 b/d from a level of 4.56 million, but now says production is being cut from 4.75 million b/d. This situation may mean that in reality, Iraq has not made any cuts at all from its original base.

The government of Iraqi Kurdistan has paid the oil companies that have been producing its oil for the first time in seven weeks. The payment was for October exports, but the Kurds still owe for November, December and now January exports. Given the expenses of the campaign against ISIL, it is likely to be some time before the Kurds become prompt payers of their oil debts.

While government forces continue to make progress in liberating Mosul, and the Trump administration is talking about increasing military pressure on the insurgents, perhaps with Russian aid, the situation is becoming more complicated. The full impacts of the US travel restrictions on various Muslim nationalities entering the US are not yet known, but some in Iraq are calling for a ban on US citizens entering the country. The restrictions are meeting widespread condemnation across the region.

President Trump’s remark at the CIA last week that the US should have taken Iraqi oil while it had the chance is raising concerns everywhere. The president added that “maybe we will have another chance.” Looting oil from another country violates nearly every premise in international law and UN agreements. In the meantime, the administration has asked the Pentagon to look into stepping up military activity against ISIL.

Saudi Arabia: The Saudi oil minister said last week that he is not bothered by a possible rebound in US oil production, saying that $50 oil is not enough to cover US shale oil production costs. In the meantime, Saudi spokesmen continue to insist that production cut is on target to eliminate overproduction by summer.

The forthcoming IPO for 5 percent of Saudi Aramco is forcing the Saudis to publish an up to date appraisal of their oil reserves, which have been a state secret ever since the Saudis took full control of the company in 1980. Since then the Saudis maintain there has been no change in the country’s estimated oil reserves of 261 billion barrels despite 35 years of pumping out 3 billion barrels a year without any new discoveries. Marketing shares in Aramco would be impossible to sell in the US without a current audit meeting SEC standards. To this end, the Saudis hired a unit of Baker Hughes called Gaffney, Cline & Associates late last year along with Dallas-based DeGolyer and MacNaughton to perform independent auditing of its reserves. Last week it was reported that the audit is already complete and confirms that the Saudi reserves are indeed about 261 million barrels.

Last week Shell announced that it would sell off its share in a joint petrochemical venture with the Saudis and Riyadh announced that it was giving up plans to partner with Petronas to build a $20 billion refinery in southern Malaysia.

Libya:  Tripoli now says its oil production has reached 715,000 b/d and could reach an output of 1.25 million b/d by the end of the year. The Libyans have rescinded a self-imposed moratorium on foreign investment in its oil industry that was imposed in 2011 and says it is now open for business. Last week the Libyans held an investment conference in London to gain financial support for increasing its oil industry. The country is thought to have the largest easy-to-exploit reserves in Africa and is pushing the idea that more oil production would be the best way to stop the flow of refugees transiting the country on the way to the EU.

The National Oil Company says it needs on the order of $100 billion to repair and upgrade its facilities to the point where it can pump the 1.6 million b/d it was producing before the uprising. Should Libya get to 1.2 million b/d in this year, it would largely offset the OPEC production cut.

3.  China

As the world’s largest importer of oil and with an economy still growing on the order of 6-7 percent a year, whatever happens in China is bound to have a major impact on oil demand and prices. As oil prices faltered, China reduced the production from the highest cost oil fields because they could no longer compete with imported oil. This move made the company even more dependent on foreign oil. Last year Russia overtook the Saudis as the biggest source of imported oil. This situation is fine with Moscow and Beijing as Russia’s relations with the EU deteriorate and Europe looks around for other sources of energy.  As oil prices are now back in the mid-$50s, many analysts are suggesting that the Chinese are less interested in building up their strategic reserves as much as they have in the past three years.

Increasing dependence on foreign oil has made the Chinese even more aggressive in seeking out foreign sources. Last week the the Export-Import Bank of China announced it is loaning Angola some $600 million for the construction of a deep-sea terminal. At the same time, it is making major loans, Beijing is cracking down on Chinese takeovers abroad by tightening rules on exporting capital. Last year some $225 billion was spent on acquiring overseas properties.

The recent increase in international oil prices is causing a renewed interest in domestic investment in oil production which has languished for the last three years. CNOOC said last week that it plans to spend as much as $10 billion this year and the other major Chinese oil companies PetroChina and Sinopec are expected to do the same. The investment is expected to take the low-risk path of increasing production from aging oil fields rather than trying to open new ones.

The battle to clean up its air continues. There is a new campaign to replace coal burning in tens of thousands of Chinese homes with electric heaters that at least keep coal burning away from the cities. The plan is meeting considerable resistance as the cost of electric heating is considerably higher than using coal.

Needless to say the advent of the Trump administration is causing considerable concern in China.

4. Russia

Moscow continues to insist that it is doing its part to cut production and bring the oil markets back into balance.

Russian oil companies are moving quickly to replace OPEC in Asian markets. Moscow’s oil shipments to China rose 24 percent last year to an average of 1.05 million b/d for the year. With OPEC cutting production by 1.2 million b/d this year, the Russians see more opportunities to increase their share of the Asian markets. Moscow is also doing its best to get approvals for the new natural gas pipeline through Turkey into the EU. This line would bypass all the troubles which arise by sending the natural gas through Ukraine. Although US LNG shipments may eventually eat into its European markets, Moscow asserts that it is the only reliable supplier of as much gas as Europe requires.

Gazprom is considering assets sales, freezing dividends and increasing borrowing as export earnings fall. As most Gazprom contracts are tied to the price of oil, the last few years have been very hard on the company despite increases in the amount of gas it has been delivering to the EU. It has been a month since Moscow sold a 19.5 percent stake in its largest oil company Rosneft; however, it is still unclear exactly who bought the stake. The €10.2 billion sale was supposed to be to a consortium of Qatar and the Swiss oil trading firm Glencore. President Putin hailed the deal as a sign of international faith in Russia.

5. Nigeria

There was no word last week on the status of Nigerian oil production. Its output is still thought to be about 400,000-500,000 b/d below normal. As the government suppresses most news about insurgent attacks and their impact on oil production it is difficult to follow what is happening. There do not seem to have been any new insurgent attacks in the last few weeks, but this could be because the oil companies are not repairing damage done by previous attacks as the insurgents have demanded.

Shell and Eni have been ordered by a Nigerian court to surrender control of a jointly owned oil license while the government investigates any irregularities in the purchase of the asset. There have been allegations of conspiracy, bribery, and official corruption surrounding the issuance of the license.

A UK High Court ruled that two Niger Delta communities that were devastated by oil spills cannot pursue their case in British courts where they had hoped to get a more favorable treatment.  The court said that Royal Dutch Shell could not be responsible for the actions of its Nigerian subsidiary. Responsibilities for oils spills in Nigeria have always been murky with the oil companies saying most have been caused by oil thieves drilling into pipelines and not negligence by company employees.  Local villages which have been hurt by the oil spillages naturally are looking to the oil companies for damages rather than to the oil thieves.

Fitch has downgraded Nigeria due to concerns that the lack of foreign exchange will hurt economic growth. Nigeria’s economy contracted by 1.5 percent in 2016, but may grow a bit this year.

General Electric is trying to form a consortium of companies to overhaul Nigerian refineries which are barely functioning due to lack of maintenance and upgrades. This situation has forced the country to import rather than produce oil products for domestic consumption, greatly adding to their cost.

6. Venezuela

The newest woe to beset the failing country is a slew of dirty tankers. It seems that there are so many oil leaks that tankers entering the ports are becoming fouled with oil. As it is illegal for dirty tankers to navigate international waters or enter foreign ports, the tankers must be cleaned before they can leave Venezuela. As the national oil company cannot afford to have the tankers cleaned and certified, some dozen tankers holding more than 4 million barrels of oil are anchored in the Caribbean awaiting money for cleaning. There is a two-month backlog at the only tanker cleaning facility in the country and the oil leaks have yet to be repaired.  Another 11 tankers are in “financial retention” which means port authorities will not let them sail due to unpaid bills. These tankers are holding an additional 2.9 million barrels which cannot be sent to customers.

Venezuela’s exports fell to 1.59 million b/d in the last quarter of 2016 from 1.82 million in the third quarter.  There is no sign of improvement in Venezuela’s situation.

7.  The Briefs

The deal between producers worldwide to cut output and ease a glut is boosting the cost of Middle East supplies, priced against the Dubai benchmark, because most of the reductions are coming from that region. Meanwhile, US marker West Texas Intermediate is turning relatively weaker as a rebound in global crude prices from the worst crash in a generation is spurring more American rigs into action. (1/25)

Global demand: The world is facing a long-term oil glut as producers scramble to exploit reserves before fossil fuel demand goes into decline, according to a BP assessment that suggests that oil companies should brace for prolonged pressure from low prices. The UK oil and gas group said there was twice as much technically recoverable oil available as the world is expected to need between now and 2050, making it likely that some oil reserves will never be extracted. The surplus should spur increasing competition between companies and producer nations to ensure their assets were not left “stranded” as demand gradually shifts from oil to cleaner forms of energy. The result is likely to be quite significant pressures to dampen long-run prices. (1/26)

The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline is a key element of Azerbaijan’s efforts to export its Caspian Sea natural gas deposits to European markets. It is also a cornerstone of the European Union’s strategy to weaken Russia’s hold on European gas markets. The pipeline’s route, however, passes through ancient olive groves and over pristine beaches in the Italian tourist region of Puglia. That has set up a standoff between global energy interests and local environmental activists; right now, the activists are ahead. (1/26)

Lebanon wants to auction energy rights to areas in the Mediterranean Sea contested by neighboring Israel and will invite more companies to qualify for bidding next month. Five blocks will be available for exploration and development, including areas that lie in waters disputed by Israel. (1/28)

In Saudi Arabia, Shell sold its stake in a joint venture effort to Saudi Basic Industries Corp. for $820 million in a move that solidifies the Dutch supermajor’s shifting priorities in the wake of last year’s acquisition of BG Group. The agreement marks the end of a joint venture agreement that was set to expire in 2020. (1/24)

China has opened a challenging chapter in its pollution battle, installing electric heaters in village homes near Beijing to cut winter coal-burning, but stoking discontent about rising power bills. (1/25)

Offshore Senegal, Australian-based FAR Ltd., which has a strong African footprint, said new drilling started in a survey of a bright spot. The company said information taken from the new appraisal program will help “fine-tune” the concept for eventual full field development. (1/24)

In Colombia, bomb attacks last week halted pumping operations along the nation’s second largest oil pipeline, the Cano-Limon Covenas, state oil company Ecopetrol said on Sunday. The company did not say who was responsible for the attacks but military sources said it was the leftist National Liberation Army rebels. Production and exports were not interrupted. (1/23)

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a meeting with Trump Thursday after the U.S. leader blasted him on Twitter for refusing to pay for a wall along the countries’ border — and now Trump’s considering a 20 percent tax on Mexico imports to pay for it. Gas exports, seen as supporting jobs in the U.S. while handing Mexico cheap fuel, could end up being one trade that bucks the political maelstrom. (1/28)

Canadian winner? President Donald Trump’s controversial 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico to pay for a border wall would come as a second gift in less than a week for Canada’s oil patch. The tax would apparently apply to countries with which the U.S. has a trade deficit. That would seemingly exempt Canada with whom the U.S. ran a surplus of $11.9 billion in 2015. (1/27)

Canada’s lead pipeline regulator has voided past decisions on TransCanada Corp. ’s application for its proposed Energy East pipeline, forcing the company to start the hearing process from the beginning shortly after competing pipeline projects have been approved. (1/28)

TransCanada Corp said on Thursday it submitted a presidential permit application to the US Department of State for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The announcement comes two days after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order that allowed TransCanada to reapply for a permit for the pipeline, after it was rejected in 2015 by then-President Barack Obama on environmental concerns. (1/27)

Keystone concern? Just because President Trump wants to see the pipeline built does not mean TransCanada will move to break ground anytime soon. There are a number of uncertainties that could prevent construction from progressing.  At present, it is unclear what kind of requirements President Trump would put on the project and how that might complicate TransCanada’s calculations. (1/26)

Keystone wrinkle: President Donald Trump’s invitation to TransCanada to resubmit its application for the Keystone XL pipeline was twinned with a memo ordering the secretary of commerce to develop a plan to ensure all pipelines built, repaired or upgraded in the United States use domestically made steel.  But a requirement to use domestic steel would almost certainly violate 70 years of settled international trade law. (1/26)

Oil sands kerfuffle: Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau sparked outrage earlier this month by saying the Alberta oil sands need to be “phased out.” Because the oil sands industry is the third-biggest employer in the province, the outrage is easily explained. The province is estimated to hold the world’s third-largest oil reserves. As several Canadian observers noted in analyses following Trudeau’s controversial statement, the oil sands make the perfect target for environmentalists and liberal politicians. (1/24)

“Unwelcome good news?” President Trump may have handed some to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada on Tuesday when he revived a cross-border oil pipeline project. The move is likely to complicate a delicate balancing act Mr. Trudeau has been trying to keep up: He has long maintained that Canada needs to develop its energy industry, but he also stands for aggressively cutting the country’s carbon emissions. (1/26)

The U.S. oil rig count increased by 15 to 566 this week, Baker Hughes Inc. reported.  That number is 68 oil rigs higher than one year ago.  Gas rigs increased by 3 to 145 this week, which is 24 above last year’s rig count for the same week. The total active rig count of 712 rigs is 93 (including one miscellaneous rig) above the total rig count one year ago. (1/28)

GOM uptick: BP took another step towards its goal of adding 800,000 barrels of new production by 2020 with the start of production in December from the Thunder Horse South Expansion project. The project is expected to increase production at Thunder Horse by an estimated 50,000 gross barrels of oil equivalent. The Thunder Horse South Expansion project also started 11 months ahead of schedule and $150 million under budget. (1/24)

In the oil industry, unbridled enthusiasm about the incoming Trump administration has been replaced with more caution, skepticism and outright confusion about what exactly the president’s policy goals are and how he’ll implement them. When it comes to several oil proposals, analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. conclude that a move to the tax program preferred by the House Republicans would cause pain for U.S. consumers in the process. They say U.S. gasoline prices could rise by about 30 cents per gallon at the pump. (1/25)

Import tax? The oil business is sizing up the potential impact of the various protectionist measures being bandied about Washington – which have sent crude markets into a tizzy. The trade proposal with the most momentum may be the controversial tax reform, pushed by Republicans in Congress, that could slap a tax of up to 20 percent on all imports, including crude oil.  (1/28)

Dakota Access Pipeline: Energy Transfer Partners got a boost on Tuesday when President Donald Trump threw his weight behind its controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline. Yet the company declined to comment. Why the silence? One possible reason: the memo Trump signed in support of Dakota Access fell short of granting Energy Transfer the easement it needs to drill the final portion of the pipe beneath North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, so litigation surrounding that will continue. (1/26)

SPR sale: Yesterday the U.S. DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy awarded contracts for the first of several sales of crude oil, up to $375.4 million, from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This sale will be the first of several planned sales totaling nearly 190 million barrels during fiscal years 2017 through 2025. (1/27)

Permian primed: According to a recent report from commodity analysts with Barclays, the Permian will be the only shale play that will see a production increase this year, while all the rest will see declines. (1/26)

Shale shift: A recent survey of shifting dynamics in the Lower 48 from consultant group Wood Mackenzie finds the Delaware basin may be one to watch. For example, Halcyon Resources just spent $705 million to acquire acreage in the Delaware shale basin, in Texas, while unloading acreage in the Eagle Ford shale for $500 million. (1/26)

Chevron Corp. posted its first annual loss since at least 1980 as the world’s biggest oil companies struggle to emerge from the worst collapse in a generation. Investors punished the stock, wiping out about $5 billion in market value. The company had a $497 million loss last year and failed to replace all of the crude and natural gas it pumped with new reserves. (1/28)

Baker Hughes Inc. reported mixed results with a small quarterly loss balancing against substantial cost reductions. The oil services company said its revenue of $9.8 billion for 2016 was down 37 percent from the previous year. (1/27)

Exxon Mobil, in the face of continued pressure over its environmental policies, announced it appointed a new member to its board—Susan Avery—with strong climate credentials. Touting her resume, Exxon said Avery served in a wide-range of positions as an atmospheric scientist, serving in a national capacity as an advisor to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (1/27)

Hess’s oil and gas production averaged 311,000 boe/d in Q4, down from 314,000 boe/d in Q3 and 368,000 boe/d in Q4 of 2015. The dip was expected as the company cut its capital and exploratory expenditures to $1.9 billion in 2016, down from $4 billion in 2015. It plans to spend $2.25 billion on those expenditures in 2017 when it forecasts production to average between 300,000 boe/d and 310,000 boe/d. (1/26)

Halliburton Co. failed to keep up with the rapid growth in the shale patch last quarter. North America’s drilling revival is leading the oil industry’s recovery, with shale explorers seen increasing spending four times faster than the global average this year. While the number of rigs drilling for oil and gas in the U.S. and Canada has more than doubled since May, and grew 19 percent in the last three months of the year, Halliburton’s revenue in the region rose just 9 percent from the previous quarter. (1/24)

Oilfield services sector: Despite oil prices nestled in the $50s for the last few weeks, it’s not enough to stop the cratering of the oilfield services sector (OFS) this year, some analysts forecast. Lingering weakness in customer demand, overcapacity, and a high net burden continue to punish the OFS. Despite an increase in the rig count, OFS remains 65 percent lower than late 2014. (1/24)

Oil state blues: Six of the top eight oil-pumping US states slipped into recession last year, S&P Global Ratings said in a new report. Alaska, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Wyoming saw their economies shrink in 2016, while Texas and Montana had GDP growth much smaller than in 2015. (1/26)

The Iron Roughneck, a robot made by National Oilwell Varco, automates the repetitive and dangerous task of connecting hundreds of segments of drill pipe as they’re shoved through miles of ocean water and oil-bearing rock. The machine has also cut to two from three the need for roustabouts per shift on the job. (1/26)

The European Commission wants the EU to be ahead on the global clean energy transition. For this reason, the EU has committed to cut C02 emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030, while modernizing the EU’s economy, delivering jobs and growth for all European citizens. (1/26)

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