Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Monday, August 8, 2022

US oil imports at a 2 year high; distillates exports at an all time high; oil rigs fall by most in 25 months

US oil imports at a 2 year high; distillates exports at all time high, US oil supplies at an 18 year low, Strategic Petroleum Reserve at a 37 year low; ​oil rigs fall by most in 25 months, ​natural gas rigs at a 35 month high..

oil prices fell for the fifth time in six weeks on weak economic reports from China and Europe and lower US demand for fuel...after rising 4.1% to $98.62 a barrel last week on falling Russian oil exports and on a larger than expected drop in U.S. crude inventories, the contract price for the benchmark US light sweet crude for September delivery fell in Asian trading early on Monday as a surprise contraction in Chinese factory data added to concerns that a global slowdown might sap demand, while an increase in Libyan output eased supply concerns, and then tumbled more than 4% in New York trading to settle down $4.73 at $93.89 a barrel after European manufacturing data indicated a deeper contraction at the start of the third quarter, with Germany, France, Italy, and Spain all recording sub-50 readings in their respective PMIs...oil prices dropped again in early trading on Tuesday as traders absorbed the bleak outlook for fuel demand amid data pointing to a global manufacturing downturn, but recovered to settle 53 cents higher at $94.42 a barrel ahead of an OPEC+ producers meeting wherein a further boost in crude supply was uncertain amid concerns that a possible global recession could limit energy demand...oil prices dipped in overnight trading after the American Petroleum Institute reported a surprise build of crude inventories against analysts' predictions of a modest draw, but rallied early Wednesday despite the API data after OPEC+ ministers signaled the coalition might raise oil production in September, despite signs of decelerating demand growth in Asia and European Union, before turning lower after the EIA confirmed that US crude and gasoline stockpiles had unexpectedly surged higher last week, and after OPEC+ said it would raise its oil output target by only 100,000 barrels per day in September, and settled $3.76 or nearly 4% lower at a six month low of $90.66 a barrel, as the EIA data also showed an unseasonal drop in gasoline consumption, underscoring concerns that spiking fuel prices had undermined usually strong summer driving demand...oil prices steadied above those levels early Thursday, as traders weighed tight supply against demand fears, but then dropped to their lowest levels since the Ukrainian war began, as traders fretted over the possibility that an economic recession later this year could torpedo energy demand, settling $2.12 lower at $88.54 a barrel as traders refocused on global recession fears, rising inflation, and building crude oil inventories in the US...oil prices eroded further in overnight trading into Friday as traders awaited the release of July employment data in the United States, which was expected to show a slowing pace of new hires amid softer economic growth and tightening monetary policy, but reversed to settle 47 cents higher at $89.01 a barrel, after a surprisingly strong U.S. jobs report painted a picture of a U.S. economy that was not slowing down...nonetheless, oil prices still finished 9.7% lower on the week, the biggest weekly decline since early April, amid growing signs that a global economic slowdown was curbing demand....

meanwhile, natural gas prices also finished lower for the week, on milder forecasts and on an inventory increase that exceeded expectations....after rising 0.4% to $8.229 per mmBTU last week, but closing 0.8% lower than the prior week's July contract closing price, the contract price of natural gas for September delivery retreated in early trading Monday as weekend weather models had moderated, but bounced off the bottom to finish 5.4 cents higher at $8.283 per mmBTU, after midday weather models showed more heat on the East Coast...however, natural gas prices dropped about 7% to a two-week low on Tuesday on record output from US wells and on forecasts for less demand over the next two weeks than was previously expected, and settled 57.7 cents lower at $7.706 per mmBTU....but that drop almost was completely reversed on Wednesday, when prices rose 56.0 cents or 7% to $8.266 per mmBTU, after Freeport LNG said that its LNG export plant in Texas remained on track to return to service in early October...natural gas prices then slid on Thursday after the storage report showed a bigger-than-expected injection into storage, and on forecasts for cooler weather that could reduce air-conditioning demand but partially recovered from steeper losses to settle 14.4 cents, or 1.7% lower, at $8.122 per mmBTU...natural gas prices gave up another 5.8 cents on Friday to settle at $8.064 per mmBTU, as gas output from wells neared record highs and forecasts for hot weather were revised slightly lower and thus finished 2.0% lower on the week...

The EIA's natural gas storage report for the week ending July 29th indicated that the amount of working natural gas held in underground storage in the US rose by 41 billion cubic feet to 2,457 billion cubic feet by the end of the week, which left our gas supplies 268 billion cubic feet, or 9.8% below the 2,725 billion cubic feet that were in storage on July 29th of last year, and 337 billion cubic feet, or 12.1% below the five-year average of 2,794 billion cubic feet of natural gas that have been in storage as of the 29th of July over the most recent five years....the 41 billion cubic foot injection into US natural gas working storage for the cited week topped even the highest of estimates ahead of the report, and was quite a bit more than the 16 billion cubic feet that were added to natural gas storage during the corresponding week of 2021, and also more than the average injection of 33 billion cubic feet of natural gas that has typically been added to our natural gas storage during the same week over the past 5 years....   

The Latest US Oil Supply and Disposition Data from the EIA

US oil data from the US Energy Information Administration for the week ending July 29th indicated that after a jump in our oil imports, a drop in our oil exports, and another big withdrawal of crude from the SPR, we were able to add oil to our stored commercial crude supplies for the 3rd time in 7 weeks, and for the 15th time in the past 36 weeks.   Our imports of crude oil rose by an average of 1,178,000 barrels per day to a 2 year high of 7,342,000 barrels per day, after falling by an average of 355,000 barrels per day during the prior week, while our exports of crude oil fell by 1,036,000 barrels per day to 3,512,000 barrels per day, which meant that our trade in oil worked out to a net import average of 3,830,000 barrels of oil per day during the week ending July 29th, 2,214,000 more barrels per day than the net of our imports minus our exports during the prior week.  Over the same period, production of crude from US wells was reportedly unchanged at 12,100,000 barrels per day, and hence our daily supply of oil from the net of our international trade in oil and from domestic well production appears to have totaled an average of 15,930,000 barrels per day during the July 29th reporting week…

Meanwhile, US oil refineries reported they were processing an average of 15,853,000 barrels of crude per day during the week ending July 29th, an average of 174,000 fewer barrels per day than the amount of oil than our refineries processed during the prior week, while over the same period the EIA’s surveys indicated that a net average of 32,000 barrels of oil per day were being pulled out of the supplies of oil stored in the US.  So, based on that reported & estimated data, the crude oil figures from the EIA for the week ending July 29th appear to indicate that our total working supply of oil from net imports, from oilfield production, and from storage was 109,000 barrels per day more than what our oil refineries reported they used during the week. To account for that disparity between the apparent supply of oil and the apparent disposition of it, the EIA just inserted a (-109,000) barrel per day figure onto line 13 of the weekly U.S. Petroleum Balance Sheet in order to make the reported data for the daily supply of oil and for the consumption of it balance out, a fudge factor that they label in their footnotes as “unaccounted for crude oil”, thus suggesting there must have been an omission or error of that magnitude in this week’s oil supply & demand figures that we have just transcribed...moreover, since last week’s EIA fudge factor was at (+864,000) barrels per day, that means there was a 973,000 barrel per day difference between this week's balance sheet error and the EIA's crude oil balance sheet error from a week ago, and hence the week over week supply and demand changes indicated by this week's report are completely worthless....however, since most everyone treats these weekly EIA reports as gospel, and since these figures often drive oil pricing, and hence decisions to drill or complete oil wells, we’ll continue to report this data just as it's published, and just as it's watched & believed to be reasonably accurate by most everyone in the industry...(for more on how this weekly oil data is gathered, and the possible reasons for that “unaccounted for” oil, see this EIA explainer)….

This week's modest 32,000 barrel per day decrease in our overall crude oil inventories left our oil supplies at 896,408,000 barrels at the end of the week, which was again our lowest total oil inventory level since February 6th, 2004, and therefore at a new 18 year low (see graph below)….our oil inventories decreased this week even as 638,000 barrels per day were being added to our commercially available stocks of crude oil, because 670,000 barrels per day of oil were being pulled out of our Strategic Petroleum Reserve at the same time.. This week's draw on the SPR was part of the emergency withdrawal under Biden's "Plan to Respond to Putin’s Price Hike at the Pump" (sic), that was expected to supply 1,000,000 barrels of oil per day to commercial interests over a six month period up to the midterm elections in November, in the hope of keeping gasoline and diesel fuel prices from rising further, at least up until that time. The administration's previous 30,000,000 million barrel release from the SPR to address Russian supply related shortfalls wrapped up in June, and his earlier release of 50 million barrels from the SPR to incentivize US gasoline consumption was completed in May. Including those, and other withdrawals from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve under recent release programs, a total of 186,292,000 barrels of oil have now been removed from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the past 24 months, and as a result the 469,855,000 barrels of oil still remaining in our Strategic Petroleum Reserve is now the lowest since May 24th, 1985, or at a new 37 year low, as repeated tapping of our emergency supplies for non-emergencies or to pay for other programs had already drained those supplies considerably over the past dozen years, even before the Biden administration's SPR releases. Now the total 180,000,000 barrel drawdown expected during the current six month release program to November will remove almost a third of what remained in the SPR when the program started, and leave us with what would be less than a 20 day supply of oil at today's consumption rate...

Further details from the weekly Petroleum Status Report (pdf) indicate that the 4 week average of our oil imports rose to an average of 6,675,000 barrels per day last week, which was 1.7% more than the 6,564,000 barrel per day average that we were importing over the same four-week period last year. This week’s crude oil production was reported to be unchanged at 12,100,000 barrels per day because the EIA's rounded estimate of the output from wells in the lower 48 states was unchanged at 11,700,000 barrels per day, while Alaska’s oil production was 3,000 barrels per day higher at 438,000 barrels per day but had no impact on the final rounded national total.  US crude oil production had reached a pre-pandemic high of 13,100,000 barrels per day during the week ending March 13th 2020, so this week’s reported oil production figure was 7.6% below that of our pre-pandemic production peak, but was 24.7% above the pandemic low of 9,700,000 barrels per day that US oil production had fallen to during the third week of February of 2021...

US oil refineries were operating at 91.0% of their capacity while using those 15,853,000 barrels of crude per day during the week ending July 29th, down from their 92.2% utilization rate during the prior week, and a refinery utilization rate that's below normal for mid summer. The 15,853,027,000 barrels per day of oil that were refined this week were 0.4% less than the 15,920,000 barrels of crude that were being processed daily during week ending July 30th of 2021, and 10.8% less than the 17,777,000 barrels that were being refined during the prepandemic week ending August 2nd, 2019, when our refinery utilization was at 96.4%, the highest of that summer...

With the decrease in the amount of oil being refined this week, gasoline output from our refineries was also lower, decreasing by 366,000 barrels per day to 9,292,000 barrels per day during the week ending July 29th, after our gasoline output had increased by 290,000 barrels per day during the prior week. This week’s gasoline production was also 8.5% less than the 10,151,000 barrels of gasoline that were being produced daily over the same week of last year, and 10.8% less than our gasoline production of 10,421,000 barrels per day during the week ending August 2nd, 2019, ie, a comparable week during the year before the pandemic impacted US gasoline output. Meanwhile, our refineries’ production of distillate fuels (diesel fuel and heat oil) decreased by 76,000 barrels per day to 4,933,000 barrels per day, after our distillates output had decreased by 22,000 barrels per day during the prior week. But even after those decreases, our distillates output was still 1.1% more than the 4,877,000 barrels of distillates that were being produced daily during the week ending July 30th of 2021, while 6.3% less than the 5,286,000 barrels of distillates that were being produced daily during the week ending August 2nd 2019...

Even with the decrease in our gasoline production, our supplies of gasoline in storage at the end of the week rose for the 5th time in seven weeks; but for just the 6th time out of the past twenty-six weeks, increasing by 163,000 barrels to 225,294,000 barrels during the week ending July 29th, after our gasoline inventories had decreased by 3,304,000 barrels during the prior week. Our gasoline supplies increased this week because the amount of gasoline supplied to US users decreased by 704,000 barrels per day to 8,541,000 barrels per day, while our imports of gasoline rose by 10,000 barrels per day to 609,000 barrels per day, and while our exports of gasoline rose by 72,000 barrels per day to 768,000 barrels per day. But after 20 inventory drawdowns over the past 26 weeks, our gasoline supplies were 1.6% lower than last July 30th's gasoline inventories of 228,870,000 barrels, and about 3% below the five year average of our gasoline supplies for this time of the year…

Following a series of decreases in our distillates production, our supplies of distillate fuels decreased for the 4th time in 5 weeks and for the 30th time in forty-eight weeks, falling by 2,400,000 barrels to 109,324,000 barrels during the week ending July 29th, after our distillates supplies had decreased by 784,000 barrels during the prior week. Our distillates supplies fell by more this week because the amount of distillates supplied to US markets, an indicator of our domestic demand, increased by 127,000 barrels per day to 3,750,000 barrels per day, and because our exports of distillates rose by 139,000 barrels per day to 1,634,000 barrels per day, while our imports of distillates rose by 110,000 barrels per day to 234,000 barrels per day.. But after forty-six inventory withdrawals over the past sixty-eight weeks, our distillate supplies at the end of the week were 21.2% below the 138,744,000 barrels of distillates that we had in storage on July 30th of 2021, and about 25% below the five year average of distillates inventories for this time of the year…

For imports and exports, citing the four week average gives us a better picture of the trend, since it ameliorates the weekly volatility inherent in the different sizes of vessels and the timing of the ship loadings and unloadings from week to week...With this week's increase in our exports of distillates, the four week average of our distillates exports rose from last week's 47 month high of 1,485,000 barrels per day to an all time high of 1,573,000 barrels per day....with that record topping earlier highs in 2017 and 2019, we'll include a chart below to show you what it looks like...

Meanwhile, with this week's big increase in our oil imports and decrease in our exports, our commercial supplies of crude oil in storage rose for the 5th time in 12 weeks and for the 21st time in the past year, increasing by 4,467,000 barrels over the week, from 422,086,000 barrels on July 22nd to 426,553,000 barrels on July 29th, after our commercial crude supplies had decreased by 4,523,000 barrels over the prior week. After th​is week's ​increase, our commercial crude oil inventories were ​still ​about 7% below the most recent five-year average of crude oil supplies for this time of year, but roughly 26% above the average of our crude oil stocks as of the end of July over the 5 years at the beginning of the past decade, with the disparity between those comparisons arising because it wasn’t until early 2015 that our oil inventories first topped 400 million barrels. Since our commercial crude oil inventories had jumped to record highs during the Covid lockdowns of the Spring of 2020, and then jumped again after last year's winter storm Uri froze off US Gulf Coast refining, our commercial crude supplies as of this July 29th were still 2.9% less than the 439,225,000 barrels of oil we had in commercial storage on July 30th of 2021, and were 17.7% less than the 518,596,000 barrels of oil that we had in storage on July 31st of 2020, and 2.8% less than the 438,930,000 barrels of oil we had in commercial storage on August 2nd of 2019…

Finally, with our inventories of crude oil and our supplies of all products made from oil near multi-year lows in recent months, we are continuing to keep track of the total of all U.S. Stocks of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products, including those in the SPR. The EIA's data shows that the total of our oil and oil product inventories, including those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and those held by the oil industry, and thus including everything from gasoline and jet fuel to propane/propylene and residual fuel oil, fell by 1,164,000 barrels this week, from 1,679,939,000 barrels on July 22nd to 1,678,775,000 barrels on July 29th, after our total inventories had fallen by 8,857,000 barrels during the prior week. That left our total liquids inventories down by 109,658,000 barrels over the first 29 weeks of this year, and only one million barrels from hitting a new 13 1/2 year low...   

This Week's Rig Count

The number of drilling rigs running in the US decreased for ​only the 8th time over the previous 97 weeks during the week ending August 5th, but ​were ​still 3.7% below the prepandemic rig count....Baker Hughes reported that the total count of rotary rigs drilling in the US decreased by 3 to 764 rigs this past week, which was still 273 more rigs than the 491 rigs that were in use as of the August 6th report of 2021, and was 1,165 fewer rigs than the shale era high of 1,929 drilling rigs that were deployed on November 21st of 2014, a week before OPEC began to flood the global market with oil in an attempt to put US shale out of business….

The number of rigs drilling for oil fell by 7 to 598 oil rigs during the past week, ​the biggest oil rig drop in 25 months, ​after the number of rigs targeting oil had increased by 6 during the prior week, but there are still 211 more oil rigs active now than were running a year ago, even as they now amount to just 37.2% of the shale era high of 1609 rigs that were drilling for oil on October 10th, 2014, and as they are also down 12.4% from the prepandemic oil rig count….at the same time, the number of drilling rigs targeting natural gas bearing formations increased by 4 to 161 natural gas rigs, the most natural gas rig activity since August 30, 2019, which was also up by 58 natural gas rigs from the 103 natural gas rigs that were drilling during the same week a year ago, even as they were still only 10.0% of the modern high of 1,606 rigs targeting natural gas that were deployed on September 7th, 2008…

In addition to rigs targeting oil and natural gas, Baker Hughes is still reporting five "miscellaneous" rigs active; those include a horizontal rig drilling to between 5,000 and 10,000 feet into the Permian basin in Dawson county Texas, a directional rig drilling ​to ​between 5,000 and 10,000 feet on the big island of Hawaii, a rig drilling vertically to between 10,000 and 15,000 feet for a well or wells intended to store CO2 emissions in Mercer county North Dakota, a vertical rig drilling more than 15,000 feet into a formation in Humboldt county Nevada that Baker Hughes doesn't track, and another vertical rig, targeting the Marcellus shale at a depth of between 5,000 and 10,000 feet in Tompkins County, New York​...that ​one ​might be a exploratory geothermal well now being drilled on the Cornell University campus....a year ago, there were was only one such "miscellaneous" rig running...

The offshore rig count in the Gulf of Mexico was down by 1 to 14 rigs this week, with all of this week's Gulf rigs drilling for oil in Louisiana's offshore waters....that now ​matches the number of offshore rigs that were active in the Gulf a year ago, when 13 Gulf rigs were drilling for oil offshore from Louisiana and one rig was deployed for oil offshore from Texas...in addition to rigs drilling in the Gulf, we still have two offshore directional rigs drilling for natural gas in the Cook Inlet of Alaska; one is indicated to be drilling to between 10,000 and 15,000 feet, while the other one is indicated to be drilling to between 5,000 and 10,000 feet...a year ago, there were no offshore rigs other than those deployed in the Gulf of Mexico....

in addition to rigs running offshore, there are still 2 water based rigs drilling through inland bodies of water...one is a directional rig targeting oil at at a depth greater than 15,000 feet drilling through a lake on Grand Isle, Louisiana, and the other is directional rig drilling for oil in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, also at a depth greater than 15,000 feet...the other inland waters rig that had been drilling in Terrebonne Parish, and ​the ​one ​drilling ​in Cameron parish, Louisiana, were shut down this week, while during the same week of a year ago, there was just one such "inland waters" rig deployed...

The count of active horizontal drilling rigs was up by one to 698 horizontal rigs this week, which was also 255 more rigs than the 442 horizontal rigs that were in use in the US on August 6th of last year, but still just over half of the record 1,374 horizontal rigs that were drilling on November 21st of 2014....on the other hand, the vertical rig count was down by 3 to 29 vertical rigs this week, but those were still up by 14 from the 15 vertical rigs that were operating during the same week a year ago…at the same time, the directional rig count was down by 1 to 37 directional rigs this week, ​while those were still up by 10 from the 27 directional rigs that were in use on August 6th of 2021….

The details on this week’s changes in drilling activity by state and by major shale basin are shown in our screenshot below of that part of the rig count summary pdf from Baker Hughes that gives us those changes…the first table below shows weekly and year over year rig count changes for the major oil & gas producing states, and the table below that shows the weekly and year over year rig count changes for the major US geological oil and gas basins…in both tables, the first column shows the active rig count as of August 5th, the second column shows the change in the number of working rigs between last week’s count (July 29th) and this week’s (August 5th) count, the third column shows last week’s July 29th active rig count, the 4th column shows the change between the number of rigs running on Friday and the number running on the Friday before the same weekend of a year ago, and the 5th column shows the number of rigs that were drilling at the end of that reporting week a year ago, which in this week’s case was the 6th of August, 2021...

checking the Rigs by State file at Baker Hughes for the changes in the Texas Permian, we find there were 3 oil rigs added in Texas Oil District 8, which covers the core Permian Delaware, and there was another oil rig added in Texas Oil District 8A, which includes the northernmost counties over the Permian Midland, but that there were two oil rigs pulled out of Texas Oil District 8A, which includes the southern counties of the Permian Midland...since that indicates that the Texas Permian rig count increased by 2, we have to conclude that all 6 of the rigs that were pulled out of New Mexico had been drilling in the far west Permian Delaware, in order for the national Permian rig count to have fallen by four...​& ​since there were no other changes ​apparent ​in Texas, that Texas Permian increase also accounts for the Texas increase...

​elsewhere, ​the three rig decrease in Louisiana included the oil rig pulled out of the state's offshore waters​,​ and the two inland waters oil rigs that were shut down in the southern tier of the state at the same time...meanwhile, the two rigs added in Colorado include one in the DJ Niobrara chalk and one in a basin that Baker Hughes doesn't track, the rig added in North Dakota was in the Williston basin, and the rig added in Wyoming was in a basin that Baker Hughes doesn't track...in Oklahoma, an oil rig was pulled out of the Cana Woodford, while oil rigs were added in the Ardmore Woodford and the Granite Wash at the same time...since the Oklahoma rig count was unchanged, that means there was at least one rig pulled out of an Oklahoma basin that Baker Hughes doesn't track..i say "at least" because most of this week's net changes occured in basins that Baker Hughes doesn't track, including the increase of 4 natural gas rigs and the decrease of six oil rigs...since i see no other changes in the state totals to account for those rigs, most of them must have occurred in states like Oklahoma that host both oil and natural gas rigs, such that the loss of one and the gain of the other wouldn't show up in the state totals...if you really need to know where those changes occured, Baker Hughes offers the North America Rotary Rig Count Pivot Table (xls) which shows the individual well drilling records by state and county since February 2011, including all those in basins that Baker Hughes doesn't track in their other summaries...

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note: there's more here...

Monday, August 1, 2022

natural gas prices hit 14 year high; oil exports at a record high; oil supplies at an 18 year low, SPR at a 37 year low

natural gas prices hit a 14 year high but closed lower; US oil exports were at a record high; US oil supplies were at new 18 year low, Strategic Petroleum Reserve was at a 37 year low; 4 week average of distillate exports hit a 47 month high

oil prices rose for the first time in four weeks due to falling Russian oil exports and a larger than expected drop in U.S. crude inventories,....after oil prices fell 3% to $94.70 a barrel last week following the expiration of the higher priced August oil contract, the contract price for the benchmark US light sweet crude for September delivery fell in Asian trading early on Monday on concerns that the expected Fed interest rate hike would impact fuel demand, but opened higher in New York in step with rebounding equity markets, as US traders anticipated the Fed hike, and then rallied to close $2.00 higher at $96.70 a barrel on reports that Russian crude oil exports fell by more than 13% over the past month, a sign that global oil supplies were too tight to ignore....oil prices moved higher for a second day on Tuesday after Russia cut gas supplies to Europe through a major pipeline, but turned lower after the EIA lowered its oil price forecasts for 2022 and 2023 in its latest short term energy outlook and settled down $1.72 at $94.98 a barrel after consumer confidence data showed Americans were more pessimistic about the economy than at any point in the last 18 months, and after International Monetary Fund cut its global growth projections for this year by 0.4%...oil prices moved modestly higher overnight after the American Petroleum Institute reported a larger-than-expected drawdown in U.S. crude inventories, and then steadied early Wednesday as concerns about weaker demand offset the bullish API inventory data, but rose again after the EIA report showed demand for US crude was rising globally amid an oil supply crunch, and settled $2.28 higher at $97.26 a barrel, as the EIA report of lower inventories and cuts in Russian gas flows to Europe offset concern about weaker demand and the 0.75% Fed interest rate hike....oil prices edged up in Asian trading on Thursday, buoyed by lower crude inventories and higher gasoline demand in the US, but then reversed a gain of more than 2% early in the New York session after data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis showed the U.S. economy shrunk for the second consecutive quarter in ending June, entering into what many economists call a technical recession, and settled 84 cents lower at $96.42 a barrel as concerns about a potential global recession that would hit energy demand offset lower U.S. crude inventories and a rebound in gasoline consumption...oil prices moved higher in mid-morning Asian trade on Friday, as traders continued to weigh signs of macroeconomic weakness against a tight physical market, and then jumped more than $4 a barrel in New York trading as the market's attention turned to next week’s OPEC+ meeting, and the dimming expectations that the cartel would boost supplies, before settling for a $2.20 gain at $98.62 a barrel on the day, as traders shrugged off recession fears to focus on the tight supply situation that currently exists worldwide... oil thus finished 4.1% higher on the week, but still ended July 7.4% lower, after it had fallen 7.2% in June...

Meanwhile, natural gas prices finished a bit lower for the first time in four weeks, but not before hitting a 14 year high mid-week...after rising 15.5% to $8.299 per mmBTU last week on record power demand and on forecasts for further records, the contract price of natural gas for August delivery moved higher early Monday as traders weighed ongoing strong summer cooling demand against the coming Wednesday expiration of the contract, and rallied to settle 42.8 cents higher at $8.727 per mmBTU, as a persistent heat wave drove up demand for gas-powered electricity for air conditioning....natural gas prices then surged more than 11% to a 14 year high early Tuesday, after Russia's Gazprom said it would reduce gas flows to Europe to 20% through the key Nord Stream 1 pipeline, but backed off that high to settle just 26.6 cents, or 3.0% higher at $8.993 per mmBTU....with trading in the August natural gas contract expiring, prices retreated a further 30.6 cents to $8.687 per mmBTU on Wednesday on record gas output and forecasts for less demand next week than had been expected, while the contract price of natural gas for September delivery, which would be the quoted front month the next day, fell 27.1 cents to $8.554 per mmBTU...now quoting the September contract, natural gas prices fell 42.0 cents, or nearly 5%, to $8.134 on Thursday, on forecasts for less hot weather through mid-August than previously forecast, and on an increase in output to near-record levels...natural gas prices finished the week with a modest gain of 9.5 cents to $8.229 per mmBTU on Friday, but still finished the week 0.8% lower, while the September contract, which had finished last week priced at $8.195, actually finished 0.4% higher...

The EIA's natural gas storage report for the week ending July 22nd indicated that the amount of working natural gas held in underground storage in the US rose by 15 billion cubic feet to 2,416 billion cubic feet by the end of the week, which left our gas supplies 293 billion cubic feet, or 10.8% below the 2,709 billion cubic feet that were in storage on July 22nd of last year, and 345 billion cubic feet, or 12.5% below the five-year average of 2,761 billion cubic feet of natural gas that have been in storage as of the 22nd of July over the most recent five years....the 15 billion cubic foot injection into US natural gas working storage for the cited week was below the average forecast by an S&P Global Platts survey of analysts for a 25 billion cubic foot injection, and much less than the 38 billion cubic feet that were added to natural gas storage during the corresponding week of 2021, and also well below the average injection of 32 billion cubic feet of natural gas that has typically been added to our natural gas storage during the same week over the past 5 years....   

The Latest US Oil Supply and Disposition Data from the EIA

US oil data from the US Energy Information Administration for the week ending July 22nd indicated that despite another large oil withdrawal from the SPR, increased production from our wells, and a refinery slowdown, we still needed to withdraw oil from our stored commercial crude supplies for the 4th time in 6 weeks, and for the 21st time over the past 35 weeks, mostly because of another big increase in our oil exports.  Our imports of crude oil fell by an average of 355,000 barrels per day to an average of 6,164,000 barrels per day, after falling by an average of 156,000 barrels per day during the prior week, while our exports of crude oil rose by 789,000 barrels per day to a record high of 4,548,000 barrels per day, which meant that our trade in oil worked out to a net import average of 1,616,000 barrels of oil per day during the week ending July 22nd, 1,144,000 fewer barrels per day than the net of our imports minus our exports during the prior week Over the same period, production of crude from US wells was reportedly 200,000 barrels per day lower at 12,100,000 barrels per day, and hence our daily supply of oil from the net of our international trade in oil and from domestic well production appears to have totaled an average of 13,716,000 barrels per day during the July 22nd reporting week…

With our oil exports at a record high, we'll include a historical graph of them below, where you can see that prior to the end of 2014, US oil exports, except for those allowed under NAFTA, had been negligible because they had been banned 40 years earlier, in the wake of the Arab oil embargo. The ban on US oil exports was lifted in a spending bill that Congress passed during the last week of 2015, part of a compromise that Obama agreed to in order to avoid a government shutdown...

Meanwhile, US oil refineries reported they were processing an average of 16,027,000 barrels of crude per day during the week ending July 22nd, an average of 292,000 fewer barrels per day than the amount of oil than our refineries processed during the prior week, while over the same period the EIA’s surveys indicated that a net average of 1,447,000 barrels of oil per day were being pulled out of the supplies of oil stored in the US. So, based on that reported & estimated data, the crude oil figures from the EIA for the week ending July 22nd appear to indicate that our total working supply of oil from net imports, from oilfield production, and from storage was 864,000 barrels per day less than what our oil refineries reported they used during the week. To account for that disparity between the apparent supply of oil and the apparent disposition of it, the EIA just inserted a (+864,000) barrel per day figure onto line 13 of the weekly U.S. Petroleum Balance Sheet in order to make the reported data for the daily supply of oil and for the consumption of it balance out, a fudge factor that they label in their footnotes as “unaccounted for crude oil”, thus suggesting there must have been an omission or error of that magnitude in this week’s oil supply & demand figures that we have just transcribed... however, since most everyone treats these weekly EIA reports as gospel, and since these figures often drive oil pricing, and hence decisions to drill or complete oil wells, we’ll continue to report this data just as it's published, and just as it's watched & believed to be reasonably accurate by most everyone in the industry...(for more on how this weekly oil data is gathered, and the possible reasons for that “unaccounted for” oil, see this EIA explainer)….

This week's 1,447,000 barrel per day decrease in our overall crude oil inventories left our oil supplies at 896,631,000 barrels at the end of the week, which is our lowest total oil inventory level since February 6th, 2004, and therefore at a new 18 year low (see graph below)….our oil inventories decreased this week as 646,000 barrels per day were being pulled out of our commercially available stocks of crude oil and 801,000 barrels per day of oil were being pulled out of our Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The draw on the SPR was part of the emergency withdrawal under Biden's "Plan to Respond to Putin’s Price Hike at the Pump" (sic), that was expected to supply 1,000,000 barrels of oil per day to commercial interests over a six month period up to the midterm elections in November, in the hope of keeping gasoline and diesel fuel prices from rising further at least up until that time. The administration's previous 30,000,000 million barrel release from the SPR to address Russian supply related shortfalls wrapped up in June, and his earlier release of 50 million barrels from the SPR to incentivize US gasoline consumption was completed in May.  Including those, and other withdrawals from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve under recent release programs, a total of 181,602,000 barrels of oil have now been removed from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the past 24 months, and as a result the 474,545,000 barrels of oil still remaining in our Strategic Petroleum Reserve is now the lowest since June 14th, 1985, or at a new 37 year low, as repeated tapping of our emergency supplies for non-emergencies or to pay for other programs had already drained those supplies considerably over the past dozen years, even before the Biden administration's SPR releases.  Now the total 180,000,000 barrel drawdown expected over the current six month release program to November will remove almost a third of what remained in the SPR when the program started, and leave us with what would be less than a 20 day supply of oil at today's consumption rate...

Further details from the weekly Petroleum Status Report (pdf) indicate that the 4 week average of our oil imports rose to an average of 6,550,000 barrels per day last week, which was 1.9% more than the 6,425,000 barrel per day average that we were importing over the same four-week period last year.  This week’s crude oil production was reported to be 200,000 barrels per day higher at 12,100,000 barrels per day because the EIA's rounded estimate of the output from wells in the lower 48 states was 200,000 barrels per day higher at 11,700,000 barrels per day, while Alaska’s oil production was 2,000 barrels per day lower at 435,000 barrels per day but had no impact on the final rounded national total. US crude oil production had reached a pre-pandemic high of 13,100,000 barrels per day during the week ending March 13th 2020, so this week’s reported oil production figure was 7.6% below that of our pre-pandemic production peak, but was 24.7% above the pandemic low of 9,700,000 barrels per day that US oil production had fallen to during the third week of February of 2021...

US oil refineries were operating at 92.2% of their capacity while using those 16,027,000 barrels of crude per day during the week ending July 22nd, down from their 93.7% utilization rate during the prior week, and a refinery utilization rate that's below normal for mid summer.  The 16,027,000 barrels per day of oil that were refined this week were 1.0% more than the 15,875,000 barrels of crude that were being processed daily during week ending July 23rd of 2021, but 5.7% less than the 16,991,000 barrels that were being refined during the prepandemic week ending July 26th, 2019, when our refinery utilization was at 93.0%, a rate also slightly below normal for mid-July...

Even with the decrease in the amount of oil being refined this week, gasoline output from our refineries was still higher, increasing by 290,000 barrels per day to 9,658,000 barrels per day during the week ending July 22nd, after our gasoline output had increased by 447,000 barrels per day during the prior week.  However, this week’s gasoline production was still 1.2% less than the 9,779,000 barrels of gasoline that were being produced daily over the same week of last year, while 7.3% less than our gasoline production of 10,416,000 barrels per day during the week ending July 26th, 2019, ie, a comparable week during the year before the pandemic impacted US gasoline output. Meanwhile, our refineries’ production of distillate fuels (diesel fuel and heat oil) decreased by 22,000 barrels per day to 5,009,000 barrels per day, after our distillates output had decreased by 102,000 barrels per day during the prior week.  But even after those decreases, our distillates output was still 5.7% more than the 4,739,000 barrels of distillates that were being produced daily during the week ending July 23rd of 2021, while 3.0% less than the 5,164,000 barrels of distillates that were being produced daily during the week ending July 26th, 2019...

Even with the increase in our gasoline production, our supplies of gasoline in storage at the end of the week fell for the 2nd time in six weeks; but for 20th time out of the past twenty-five weeks, decreasing by 3,304,000 barrels to 225,131,000 barrels during the week ending July 22nd, after our gasoline inventories had increased by 3,489,000 barrels during the prior week. Our gasoline supplies decreased this week because the amount of gasoline supplied to US users increased by 724,000 barrels per day to 9,245,000 barrels per day, and because our imports of gasoline fell by 266,000 barrels per day to 599,000 barrels per day, while our exports of gasoline fell by 38,000 barrels per day to 768,000 barrels per day.  After 20 inventory drawdowns over the past 25 weeks, our gasoline supplies were 3.9% lower than last July 23rd's gasoline inventories of 234,161,000 barrels, and about 4% below the five year average of our gasoline supplies for this time of the year…

Following the recent decreases in our distillates production, our supplies of distillate fuels decreased for the 4th time in eleven weeks and for the 29th time in forty-seven weeks, falling by 784,000 barrels to 111,724,000 barrels during the week ending July 22nd, after our distillates supplies had decreased by 1,295,000 barrels during the prior week.  Our distillates supplies fell again this week as the amount of distillates supplied to US markets, an indicator of our domestic demand, increased by 53,000 barrels per day to 3,750,000 barrels per day, and even though our exports of distillates fell by 147,000 barrels per day to 1,495,000 barrels per day, while our imports of distillates rose by 2,000 barrels per day to 124,000 barrels per day..  But after forty-five inventory withdrawals over the past sixty-seven weeks, our distillate supplies at the end of the week were 19.0% below the 137,912,000 barrels of distillates that we had in storage on July 23rd of 2021, and about 23% below the five year average of distillates inventories for this time of the year…

Meanwhile, with this week's increase in our oil exports and decrease in our imports, our commercial supplies of crude oil in storage fell for the 7th time in 11 weeks and for the 31st time in the past year, decreasing by 4,523,000 barrels over the week, from 426,609,000 barrels on July 15th to 422,086,000 barrels on July 22nd, after our commercial crude supplies had decreased by 445,000 barrels over the prior week. After that decrease, our commercial crude oil inventories were 9.1% below the most recent five-year average of crude oil supplies for this time of year, but 24.8% above the average of our crude oil stocks as of the fourth weekend of July over the 5 years at the beginning of the past decade, with the disparity between those comparisons arising because it wasn’t until early 2015 that our oil inventories first topped 400 million barrels. Since our commercial crude oil inventories had jumped to record highs during the Covid lockdowns of the Spring of 2020, and then jumped again after last year's winter storm Uri froze off US Gulf Coast refining, our commercial crude supplies as of this July 22nd were still 3.1% less than the 435,598,000 barrels of oil we had in commercial storage on July 23rd of 2021, and were 19.7% less than the 525,969,000 barrels of oil that we had in storage on July 24th of 2020, and 3.3% less than the 436,545,000 barrels of oil we had in commercial storage on July 26th of 2019…

Finally, with our inventories of crude oil and our supplies of all products made from oil near multi year lows in recent months, we are continuing to keep track of the total of all U.S. Stocks of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products, including those in the SPR. The EIA's data shows that the total of our oil and oil product inventories, including those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and those held by the oil industry, and thus including everything from gasoline and jet fuel to propane/propylene and residual fuel oil, fell by 8,857,000 barrels this week, from 1,688,796,000 barrels on July 15th to 1,679,939,000 barrels on July 22nd, after our total inventories had fallen by 3,862,000 barrels during the prior week. That left our total liquids inventories down by 108,494,000 barrels over the first 28 weeks of this year, and only 2.1 million barrels from hitting a new 13 1/2 year low...  

This Week's Rig Count

The number of drilling rigs running in the US increased for the 81st time over the prior 96 weeks during the week ending July 29th, but still remained 3.3% below the prepandemic rig count....Baker Hughes reported that the total count of rotary rigs drilling in the US increased by 9 to 767 rigs this past week, which was also 279 more rigs than the 488 rigs that were in use as of the July 30th report of 2021, but was still 1,162 fewer rigs than the shale era high of 1,929 drilling rigs that were deployed on November 21st of 2014, a week before OPEC began to flood the global market with oil in an attempt to put US shale out of business….

The number of rigs drilling for oil rose by 6 to 605 oil rigs during the past week, after ​the number of ​rigs targeting oil had been unchanged during the prior week, and there are now 220 more oil rigs active now than were running a year ago, even as they still amount to just 37.6% of the shale era high of 1609 rigs that were drilling for oil on October 10th, 2014, and as they are still down 11.4% from the prepandemic oil rig count….at the same time, the number of drilling rigs targeting natural gas bearing formations increased by 2 to 157 natural gas rigs, which was also up by 54 natural gas rigs from the 103 natural gas rigs that were drilling during the same week a year ago, even as they were still only 9.8% of the modern high of 1,606 rigs targeting natural gas that were deployed on September 7th, 2008…

In addition to rigs targeting oil and natural gas, Baker Hughes is now reporting five "miscellaneous" rigs active; the legacy miscellaneous rigs include a horizontal rig drilling ​to​ between 5,000 ​and 10,000 feet into the Permian basin in Dawson county Texas, a directional rig drilling between 5,000 ​and 10,000 feet on the big island of Hawaii, a rig drilling vertically to between 10,000 and 15,000 feet for a well or wells intended to store CO2 emissions in Mercer county North Dakota, and another vertical rig, drilling more than 15,000 feet into a formation in Humboldt county Nevada that Baker Hughes doesn't track...the new miscellaneous rig is also a vertical rig, targeting the Marcellus shale at a depth of between 5,000 ​and 10,000 feet in Tompkins County, New York; that might be a exploratory geothermal well now being drilled on the Cornell ​University ​campus....a year ago, there were no such "miscellaneous" rigs running...

The offshore rig count in the Gulf of Mexico was up by 1 to 15 rigs this week, with all of this week's Gulf rigs drilling for oil in Louisiana's offshore waters....that's now 1 more than the 14 offshore rigs that were active in the Gulf a year ago, when 13 Gulf rigs were drilling for oil offshore from Louisiana and one​ rig was deployed for oil offshore from Texas.…in addition to rigs drilling in the Gulf, we also have two offshore directional rigs drilling for natural gas in the Cook Inlet of Alaska; one is indicated to be drilling to between 10,000 and 15,000 feet, while the ​other one is indicated to be drilling to between 5,000 and 10,000 feet...a year ago, there were no offshore rigs other than those deployed in the Gulf of Mexico....

in addition to rigs running offshore, there are now 4 water based rigs drilling through inland bodies of water....one is a directional rig targeting oil at a depth of 10,000 to 15,000 feet in Cameron parish, Louisiana; others include a directional rig targeting oil at a depth greater than 15,000 feet on Grand Isle, Louisiana, and two directional inland water rigs drilling for oil in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, one of which is targeting a formation greater than 15,000 feet in depth, while the other is shown ​to be ​drilling to between 10,000 and 15,000 feet... during the same week of a year ago, there was just one such "inland waters" rig deployed...

The count of active horizontal drilling rigs was up by ten to 697 horizontal rigs this week, which was also 255 more rigs than the 442 horizontal rigs that were in use in the US on July 30th of last year, but just over half of the record 1,374 horizontal rigs that were drilling on November 21st of 2014....at the same time, the vertical rig count was up by 1 to 32 vertical rigs this week, and those were also up by 15 from the 17 vertical rigs that were operating during the same week a year ago…on the other hand, the directional rig count was down by 2 to 38 directional rigs this week, but those were still up by 9 from the 29 directional rigs that were in use on July 30th of 2021….

The details on this week’s changes in drilling activity by state and by major shale basin are shown in our screenshot below of that part of the rig count summary pdf from Baker Hughes that gives us those changes…the first table below shows weekly and year over year rig count changes for the major oil & gas producing states, and the table below that shows the weekly and year over year rig count changes for the major US geological oil and gas basins…in both tables, the first column shows the active rig count as of July 29th, the second column shows the change in the number of working rigs between last week’s count (July 22nd) and this week’s (July 29th) count, the third column shows last week’s July 22nd active rig count, the 4th column shows the change between the number of rigs running on Friday and the number running on the Friday before the same weekend of a year ago, and the 5th column shows the number of rigs that were drilling at the end of that reporting week a year ago, which in this week’s case was the 30th of July, 2021...

checking the Rigs by State file at Baker Hughes for the changes in Texas, we find that there were 2 rigs pulled out of Texas Oil District 1, but that there was a rig was added in Texas Oil District 2, there were 2 rigs added in Texas Oil District 3, and there were 3 rigs added Texas Oil District 4 at the same time; two of those rig additions account for the two oil rigs that were added in the Eagle Ford shale, and it's likely two more were​ also​ in the Eagle Ford, offsetting the two rig​s​ shut down in District 1​....that would still mean 2 rigs were added in a basin in the same area that Baker Hughes doesn't track...in ​Texas's Permian basin districts, there was an oil rig added in Texas Oil District 8, which covers the core Permian Delaware, and no changes elsewhere; hence with the Texas Permian rig count up by just 1, the rig that was added in New Mexico had to be in the far western  Permian Delaware for the national Permian count to be up by 2 rigs...Texas also saw a natural gas rig added in Texas Oil District 6, which accounts for the addition in the Haynesville shale...

in Oklahoma, 5 oil rigs were pulled out of the Cana Woodford, while one oil rig and one natural gas rig were added in the Arkoma Woodford, which now has four natural gas rigs and three oil rigs deployed...since the Oklahoma rig count was up by one, that means there were 4 rigs added in Oklahoma in a basin or basins that Baker Hughes doesn't track...meanwhile, the rig count increase in Louisiana came by way of the oil rig added in the state's offshore waters...while a natural gas rig was added in Pennsylvania's Marcellus, two natural gas rigs were pulled out of West Virginia's Marcellus at the same time....the Marcellus count remained unchanged, however, because the miscellaneous rig added in New York state ​is considered to be targeting the Marcellus...since the loss of a Marcellus natural gas rig brings our identified natural gas rig increase down to one, we have to figure one of those aforementioned rigs added to basins that Baker Hughes doesn't track was a natural gas rig, which bears out as Baker Hughes shows the "other" natural gas rigs up by one to 25...

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note: there's more here...

Sunday, July 24, 2022

US oil supplies at new 18 year low, SPR at a 37 year low; DUC wells at an all time low, DUC backlog at 4.4 months

US oil supplies at new 18 year low, Strategic Petroleum Reserve at a 37 year low, DUC wells at an all time low, DUC backlog at 4.4 months, lowest since March 2015

oil prices fell for the fourth time in 5 weeks after the EIA report​ confirmed weak summertime demand for fuel ...after falling 6.9% to $97.59 a barrel last week as a new Covid outbreak in China threatened demand while rising inflation in the US & Europe bolstered the case for economy-crushing interest rate hikes, the contract price for the benchmark US light sweet crude for August delivery moved higher in early trading on Monday after Saudi officials indicated no additional production would come online following Biden's visit, and settled $5.01, or 5.1% higher, at $102.60 a barrel, boosted by dollar weakness and ​by ​indications that the Fed wouldn't raise interest rates by a full percentage point at their coming meeting....however, oil prices fell sharply in early trading on Tuesday as new Covid-19 cases in China jumped and new data showed the euro zone's inflation accelerated to a fresh record high, increasing worries about a possible recession, but reversed higher in afternoon trade Tuesday on a sharp drop in the U.S. dollar index and ​on ​a rallying stock market, and finished $1.62 higher at $104.22 a ​barrel,​​​​​​ after a disruption of the Keystone pipeline cut shipments of Canadian oil to US refiners...oil prices slipped lower in overnight trading after the American Petroleum Institute reported increases of crude and gasoline inventories, and then declined on that news in early NYMEX trading on Wednesday, as renewed strength in the U.S. Dollar Index put further pressure on prices, and then extended those losses after the EIA report confirmed those larger-than-expected builds in U.S. crude and gasoline stockpiles and settled $1.96 lower at $102.26 a barrel, as EIA data showed lackluster gasoline demand during the peak summer driving season and as interest rate hikes by central banks fed fears the economy ​would slow...with trading in the August contract expired on Wednesday and US oil prices quotes referencing the contract for the benchmark US light sweet crude for September delivery on Thursday, prices continued lower in early trading on demand concerns in both the US and China, and tumbled $3.53 to settle at $96.35 a barrel after a European Central Bank rate hike stoked demand worries, while returning oil supply from Libya and the resumption of Russia’s gas flows to Europe eased supply restraints...oil prices eroded further in early morning trading on Friday, with all petroleum contracts on course for hefty losses for the week, after overnight data out of Europe showed manufacturing activity unexpectedly contracted in July, while the return of Libya's oil exports to the global market further weighed on the complex, and settled $1.65 lower at $94.70 a barrel after the European Union said it would allow Russian state-owned companies to ship oil to third countries under an adjustment of sanctions agreed to by member states...oil prices thus finished 3.0% lower on the week, while the September oil contract, which had finished last week priced at $94.57 a barrel, actually finished fractionally higher...

natural gas prices, on the other hand, finished higher for a third consecutive week on record power demand and forecasts for ​further records...after rising 16.3% to $7.016 per mmBTU last week as record heat across the South led to record natural gas deliveries to the electricity generation sector, the contract price of natural gas for August delivery opened 3% higher and jumped to an intraday high of $7.554 by midday Monday as soaring temperatures baked much of the Lower 48 and forecasts called for heat waves to fester through July and into next month, before settling with a 46.3 cent or 7% gain at $7.479 per mmBTU...but natural gas prices gave up 21.5 cents of that gain on Tuesday to settle at $7.264 per mmBTU, after mid-range heat forecasts eased slightly and a new outlook called for record production on the horizon....however, natural gas prices soared more than 10% to a five-week high on Wednesday, as a brutal heat wave boosted power demand to a record high amid forecasts that next week was expected to be the hottest of the season, as the August gas contract settled 74.3 cents higher at $8.007 per mmBTU....natural gas prices initially surged 35 cents following an anemic storage report on Thursday, but see-sawed to close 7.5 cents or 1% lower at $7.932 per mmBTU on forecasts for less hot weather over the next two weeks than was previously expected​,​ and ​on ​the return to partial service of the Russia to Germany Nord Stream gas pipeline...but prices jumped 5% to another 5 week high on Friday on the heels of a solidly bullish storage report and a shift hotter in an already sizzling late-summer weather outlook and settled 36.7 cents higher at $8.299 per mmBTU, and thus finished with a 15.5%, $1.283 gain on the week...

The EIA's natural gas storage report for the week ending July 15th indicated that the amount of working natural gas held in underground storage in the US rose by 32 billion cubic feet to 2,401 billion cubic feet by the end of the week, which left our gas supplies 270 billion cubic feet, or 10.1% below the 2,671 billion cubic feet that were in storage on July 15th of last year, and 328 billion cubic feet, or 12.0% below the five-year average of 2,729 billion cubic feet of natural gas that have been in storage as of the 15th of July over the most recent five years....the 32 billion cubic foot injection into US natural gas working storage for the cited week was well below the average forecast for a 41 billion cubic foot injection from an S&P Global Platts survey of analysts, and much less than the 50 billion cubic feet that were added to natural gas storage during the corresponding week of 2021, and also lower than the average injection of 41 billion cubic feet of natural gas that has typically been added to our natural gas storage during the same week over the past 5 years....  

The Latest US Oil Supply and Disposition Data from the EIA

US oil data from the US Energy Information Administration for the week ending July 15th indicated that despite another large oil withdrawal from the SPR and a sizable increase in oil supplies that could not be accounted for​, ​we needed to withdraw oil from our stored commercial crude supplies for the 3rd time in 7 weeks, and for the 20th time over the past 34 weeks, ​mostly because of a big increase in our oil exports…our imports of crude oil fell by an average of 156,000 barrels per day to an average of 6,519,000 barrels per day, after falling by an average of 164,000 barrels per day during the prior week, while our exports of crude oil rose by 735,000 barrels per day to 3,759,000 barrels per day, which meant that our trade in oil worked out to a net import average of 2,760,000 barrels of oil per day during the week ending July 15th, 891,000 fewer barrels per day than the net of our imports minus our exports during the prior week…over the same period, production of crude from US wells was reportedly 100,000 barrels per day lower at 11,900,000 barrels per day, and hence our daily supply of oil from the net of our international trade in oil and from domestic well production appears to have totaled an average of 14,660,000 barrels per day during the July 15th reporting week…

Meanwhile, US oil refineries reported they were processing an average of 16,319,000 barrels of crude per day during the week ending July 15th, an average of 321,000 fewer barrels per day than the amount of oil than our refineries processed during the prior week, while over the same period the EIA’s surveys indicated that a net average of 778,000 barrels of oil per day were being pulled out of the supplies of oil stored in the US....so based on that reported & estimated data, the crude oil figures from the EIA for the week ending July 15th appear to indicate that our total working supply of oil from net imports, from oilfield production, and from storage was 881,000 barrels per day less than what our oil refineries reported they used during the week…to account for that disparity between the apparent supply of oil and the apparent disposition of it, the EIA just inserted a (+881,000) barrel per day figure onto line 13 of the weekly U.S. Petroleum Balance Sheet in order to make the reported data for the daily supply of oil and for the consumption of it balance out, a fudge factor that they label in their footnotes as “unaccounted for crude oil”, thus suggesting there must have been an omission or error of that magnitude in this week’s oil supply & demand figures that we have just transcribed... however, since most everyone treats these weekly EIA reports as gospel, and since these figures often drive   oil pricing, and hence decisions to drill or complete oil wells, we’ll continue to report this data just as it's published, and just as it's watched & believed to be reasonably accurate by most everyone in the industry...(for more on how this weekly oil data is gathered, and the possible reasons for that “unaccounted for” oil, see this EIA explainer)….

This week's 778,000 barrel per day decrease in our overall crude oil inventories left our oil supplies at 906,758,000 barrels at the end of the week, our lowest total oil inventory level since February 27th, 2004, and therefore at a new 18 year low….our oil inventory decreased this week as 64,000 barrels per day were being pulled out of our commercially available stocks of crude oil and 714,000 barrels per day of oil were being pulled out of our Strategic Petroleum Reserve....the draw on the SPR was part of the emergency withdrawal under Biden's "Plan to Respond to Putin’s Price Hike at the Pump"​ (sic)​, that was expected to supply 1,000,000 barrels of oil per day to commercial interests over a six month period up to the midterm elections in November, in the hope of keeping gasoline and diesel fuel prices from rising further at least up until that time...the administration's previous 30,000,000 million barrel release from the SPR to address Russian supply related shortfalls wrapped up in June, and his earlier release of 50 million barrels from the SPR to incentivize US gasoline consumption was completed in May....including those, and other withdrawals from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve under recent release programs, a total of 175,998,000 barrels of oil have now been removed from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the past 24 months, and as a result the 480,149,000 barrels of oil still remaining in our Strategic Petroleum Reserve is now the lowest since July 12th, 1985, or at a 37 year low, as repeated tapping of our emergency supplies for non-emergencies or to pay for other programs had already drained those supplies considerably over the past dozen years, even before the Biden administration's SPR releases....now the total 180,000,000 barrel drawdown expected over the current six month release program to November will remove almost a third of what remained in the SPR when the program started, and leave us with what would be less than a 20 day supply of oil at today's consumption rate... 

Further details from the weekly Petroleum Status Report (pdf) indicate that the 4 week average of our oil imports rose to an average of 6,508,000 barrels per day last week, which was 3.8% more than the 6,400,000 barrel per day average that we were importing over the same four-week period last year….this week’s crude oil production was reported to be 100,000 barrels per day lower at 11,900,000 barrels per day because the EIA's rounded estimate of the output from wells in the lower 48 states was 100,000 barrels per day lower at 11,500,000 barrels per day, while Alaska’s oil production was 3,000 barrels per day higher at 435,000 barrels per day but had no impact on the final rounded national total....US crude oil production had reached a pre-pandemic high of 13,100,000 barrels per day during the week ending March 13th 2020, so this week’s reported oil production figure was 9.2% below that of our pre-pandemic production peak, but was 22.7% above the pandemic low of 9,700,000 barrels per day that US oil production had fallen to during the third week of February of 2021...

US oil refineries were operating at 93.7% of their capacity while using those 16,319,000 barrels of crude per day during the week ending July 15th, down from their 94.9% utilization rate during the prior week, but in line with the historical refinery utilization rates of mid summer…the 16,319,000 barrels per day of oil that were refined this week were 1.9% more than the 16,007,000 barrels of crude that were being processed daily during week ending July 16th of 2021, but 4.2% less than the 17,034,000 barrels that were being refined during the prepandemic week ending July 19th, 2019, when our refinery utilization was at 93.1%, a rate slightly below normal for mid-July...

Even with the decrease in the amount of oil being refined this week, gasoline output from our refineries was still much higher, increasing by 447,000 barrels per day to 9,368,000 barrels per day during the week ending July 15th, after our gasoline output had decreased by 1,425,000 barrels per day during the prior week…this week’s gasoline production was ​also 2.6% more than the 9,130,000 barrels of gasoline that were being produced daily over the same week of last year, but 7.4% less than our gasoline production of 10,089,000 barrels per day during the week ending July 19th, 2019, i.e., during the year before the pandemic impacted US gasoline output....​meanwhile, our refineries’ production of distillate fuels (diesel fuel and heat oil) decreased by 102,000 barrels per day to 9,855,000 barrels per day, after our distillates output had decreased by 246,000 barrels per day during the prior week…even with that decrease, our distillates output was 2.6% more than the 4,902,000 barrels of distillates that were being produced daily during the week ending July 16th of 2021, but 3.6% less than the 5,219,000 barrels of distillates that were being produced daily during the week ending July 19th, 2019...

With the increase in our gasoline production, our supplies of gasoline in storage at the end of the week rose for the fourth time in five weeks.; but for just the fifth time out of the past twenty-four weeks, increasing by 3,489,000 barrels to 228,435,000 barrels during the week ending July 15th, after our gasoline inventories had increased by 5,825,000 barrels during the prior week...our gasoline supplies increased by less this week because the amount of gasoline supplied to US users increased by 459,000 barrels per day to 8,521,000 barrels per day, after domestic gasoline supplied had decreased by a near record 1,351,000 barrels per day during the prior week, and even as our imports of gasoline rose by 150,000 barrels per day to 865,000 barrels per day while our exports of gasoline fell by 34,000 barrels per day to 806,000 barrels per day..​.​.but after 19 inventory drawdowns over the past 24 weeks, our gasoline supplies were 3.4% lower than last July 16th's gasoline inventories of 236,414,000 barrels, and about 3% below the five year average of our gasoline supplies for this time of the year…

After the recent decreases in our distillates production, our supplies of distillate fuels decreased for the 3rd time in ten weeks and for the 28th time in forty-six weeks,falling by 1,295,000 barrels to 112,508,000 barrels during the week ending July 15th, after our distillates supplies had increased by 2,668,000 barrels during the prior week….our distillates supplies fell this week even though the amount of distillates supplied to US markets, an indicator of our domestic demand, increased by 329,000 barrels per day to 3,697,000 barrels per day, after distillates demand had fallen by 1,014,000 barrels per day to a one year low the prior week, as our exports of distillates rose by 121,000 barrels per day to 1,642,000 barrels per day while our imports of distillates fell by 15,000 barrels per day to 122,000 barrels per day....but after forty-four inventory withdrawals over the past sixty-six weeks, our distillate supplies at the end of the week were 20.2% below the 141,000,000 barrels of distillates that we had in storage on July 16th of 2021, and still about 23% below the five year average of distillates inventories for this time of the year…

Meanwhile, with this week's increase in our oil exports and decreases in our imports and production, our commercial supplies of crude oil in storage fell for the 6th time in 10 weeks and for the 31st time in the past year, decreasing by 445,000 barrels over the week, from 427,054,000 barrels on July 8th to 426,609,000 barrels on July 15th, after our commercial crude supplies had increased by 3,254,000 barrels over the prior week…after that modest decrease, our commercial crude oil inventories remained about 8% below the most recent five-year average of crude oil supplies for this time of year, but about 25% above the average of our crude oil stocks as of the third weekend of July over the 5 years at the beginning of the past decade, with the disparity between those comparisons arising because it wasn’t until early 2015 that our oil inventories first topped 400 million barrels....since our commercial crude oil inventories had jumped to record highs during the Covid lockdowns of the Spring of 2020, and then jumped again after last year's winter storm Uri froze off US Gulf Coast refining, our commercial crude supplies as of this July 15th were still 3.0% less than the 439,687,000 barrels of oil we had in commercial storage on July 16th of 2021, and were 20.5% less than the 536,580,000 barrels of oil that we had in storage on July 17th of 2020, and 4.1% less than the 445,041,000 barrels of oil we had in commercial storage on July 19th of 2019…

Finally, with our inventories of crude oil and our supplies of all products made from oil ​recently near multi year lows, we are continuing to keep track of the total of all U.S. Stocks of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products, including those in the SPR....the EIA's data shows that the total of our oil and oil product inventories, including those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and those held by the oil industry, and thus including everything from gasoline and jet fuel to propane/propylene and residual fuel oil, fell by 3​,862,000 barrels this week, from 1,692,658,000 barrels on July 8th to 1,688,796,000 barrels on July 15th, after our total inventories had risen by 14,863,000 barrels during the prior week...that left our total liquids inventories down by 99,637,000 barrels over the first 28 weeks of this year, but still nearly 11 million barrels from a new 13 1/2 year low... 

This Week's Rig Count

The number of drilling rigs running in the US increased for the 80th time over the prior 95 weeks during the week ending July 22nd, but still remained 4.4% below the prepandemic rig count....Baker Hughes reported that the total count of rotary rigs drilling in the US increased by 2 to 758 rigs this past week, which was also 267 more rigs than the 491 rigs that were in use as of the July 23rd report of 2021, but was still 1,171 fewer rigs than the shale era high of 1,929 drilling rigs that were deployed on November 21st of 2014, a week before OPEC began to flood the global market with oil in an attempt to put US shale out of business….

The number of rigs drilling for oil was unchanged at 599 oil rigs during the past week, after rigs targeting oil had risen by 2 during the prior week, and there are still 212 more oil rigs active now than were running a year ago, even as they still amount to just 37.2% of the shale era high of 1609 rigs that were drilling for oil on October 10th, 2014, and as they are still down 12.3% from the prepandemic oil rig count….at the same time, the number of drilling rigs targeting natural gas bearing formations increased by 2 to 155 natural gas rigs, which was also up by 51 natural gas rigs from the 104 natural gas rigs that were drilling during the same week a year ago, even as they were still only 9.7% of the modern high of 1,606 rigs targeting natural gas that were deployed on September 7th, 2008…

In addition to rigs targeting oil and natural gas, Baker Hughes continues to report four "miscellaneous" rigs active; including a horizontal rig drilling between 5,000 to 10,000 feet into the Permian basin in Dawson county Texas, and a directional rig drilling between 5,000 to 10,000 feet on the big island of Hawaii, a rig drilling vertically to between 10,000 and 15,000 feet for a well or wells intended to store CO2 emissions in Mercer county North Dakota, and another vertical rig, drilling more than 15,000 feet into a formation in Humboldt county Nevada that Baker Hughes doesn't track...a year ago, there were no such "miscellaneous" rigs running...

The offshore rig count in the Gulf of Mexico was up by 1 to 14 rigs this week, with all of this week's Gulf rigs drilling for oil in Louisiana's offshore waters....that's still 3 less than the 17 offshore rigs that were active in the Gulf a year ago, when 16 Gulf rigs were drilling for oil offshore from Louisiana and one was deployed for oil offshore from Texas.…in addition to rigs drilling in the Gulf, we now have two offshore directional rigs drilling for natural gas in the Cook Inlet of Alaska; one is indicated to be drilling to between 10,000 and 15,000 feet, ​while ​the new one is is indicated to be drilling to between 5,000 and 10,000 feet...a year ago, there were no offshore rigs other than those deployed in the Gulf of Mexico....

in addition to rigs running offshore, there are now 4 water based rigs drilling through inland bodies of water....one is a directional rig targeting oil at a depth of 10,000 to 15,000 feet in Cameron parish, Louisiana; others include a directional rig targeting oil at a depth greater than 15,000 feet on Grand Isle, Louisiana, and two directional inland water rigs drilling for oil in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, one of which is targeting a formation greater than 15,000 feet in depth, while the other is shown drilling to between 10,000 and 15,000 feet... during the same week of a year ago, there was just one such "inland waters" rig deployed...

The count of active horizontal drilling rigs was up by one to 687 horizontal rigs this week, which was also 248 more rigs than the 439 horizontal rigs that were in use in the US on July 23rd of last year, but just half of the record 1,374 horizontal rigs that were drilling on November 21st of 2014....at the same time, the vertical rig count was up by 1 to 31 vertical rigs this week, and those were also up by 12 from the 19 vertical rigs that were operating during the same week a year ago…on the other hand, the directional rig count was unchanged at 40 directional rigs this week, while those were still up by 7 from the 33 directional rigs that were in use on July 23rd of 2021…. 

The details on this week’s changes in drilling activity by state and by major shale basin are shown in our screenshot below of that part of the rig count summary pdf from Baker Hughes that gives us those changes…the first table below shows weekly and year over year rig count changes for the major oil & gas producing states, and the table below that shows the weekly and year over year rig count changes for the major US geological oil and gas basins…in both tables, the first column shows the active rig count as of July 22nd, the second column shows the change in the number of working rigs between last week’s count (July 15th) and this week’s (July 22nd) count, the third column shows last week’s July 15th active rig count, the 4th column shows the change between the number of rigs running on Friday and the number running on the Friday before the same weekend of a year ago, and the 5th column shows the number of rigs that were drilling at the end of that reporting week a year ago, which in this week’s case was the 23rd of July, 2021...

the 2 rig increase in Alaska came as an offshore rig was added in the Cook Inlet, another natural gas rig was added in Tyonek of the Athabascan region, and an oil rig was added in Sagavanirktok in the North Slope Borough, while a gas rig was removed from the Kenai peninsula...the 2 rig increase in Louisiana came as an oil rig was added in the state's offshore waters and an inland waters oil rig was added in Cameron parish...

checking the Rigs by State file at Baker Hughes for the changes in Texas, we first find that a rig was added in Texas Oil District 1, which accounts for the oil rig that added in the Eagle Ford shale, and that a rig was added in Texas Oil District 10 of the Texas panhandle, which accounts for the rig added in the Granite Wash basin....at the same time, an oil rig was pulled out Texas Oil District 9, which would have been drilling in a basin that Baker Hughes doesn't track....we also find that an oil rig was pulled out Texas Oil District 8, which covers the core Permian Delaware, but that a natural gas rig was added in Texas Oil District 8A, which includes the northern counties of the Permian Midland...since th​ose indicate no ​net ​change in the Permian basin in Texas, we have to conclude that the rig removed from New Mexico had been drilling in the western Permian Delaware for the national Permian count to show a loss of one....the Permian now has two natural gas rigs, one miscellaneous rig, and 346 oil rigs running...the Texas rig count ended unchanged because the inland waters oil rig that had been drilling in Galveston Bay was pulled out at the same time...

meanwhile, the rig that was removed from Utah had been drilling in the Uintah basin, where all of Utah's drilling is taking place​,​ even as it not tracked by Baker Hughes...the two oil rigs that were pulled out of Oklahoma's Ardmore Woodford were offset by two oil rig additions in the state's Cana Woodford, leaving the Oklahoma rig count unchanged...a similar combination of oil rig removals and oil rig additions left the national oil rig count unchanged, while the natural gas rig count was up by two with the net additions in the Permian basin ​and ​in the Cook Inlet, and offshore from Alaska....

DUC well report for June

Monday of this week saw the release of the EIA's Drilling Productivity Report for July, which included the EIA's June data on drilled but uncompleted (DUC) oil and gas wells in the 7 most productive shale regions (shown under the report's tab 3)....that data showed a decrease in uncompleted wells nationally for the 24th consecutive month, as both completions of drilled wells and drilling of new wells increased in June, but remained well below average pre-pandemic levels...for the 7 sedimentary regions covered by this report, the total count of DUC wells decreased by 26 wells, falling from 4,271 DUC wells in May to 4,245 DUC wells in June, which was the lowest number of US wells left uncompleted on record, and also 31.1% fewer DUCs than the 6,159 wells that had been drilled but remained uncompleted as of the end of June of a year ago...this month's DUC decrease occurred as 938 wells were drilled in the 7 regions that this report covers (representing 87% of all U.S. onshore drilling operations) during June, up from the 909 wells that were drilled in May, while 964 wells were completed and brought into production by fracking them, up by just 3 from the 961 well completions seen in May, but up by 245 from the 716 completions seen in June of last year....at the June completion rate, the 4,245 drilled but uncompleted wells remaining at the end of the month represents a 4.4 month backlog of wells that have been drilled but are not yet fracked, unchanged from the DUC well backlog of a month ago, which ​is the lowest DUC backlog since March 2015, despite a completion rate that is still more than 15% below 2019's pre-pandemic average...

only the oil producing regions saw a net DUC well decrease during June, since both ​of ​the natural gas producing Appalachian and Haynesville shales saw modest DUC well increases....the number of uncompleted wells remaining in the Permian basin of west Texas and New Mexico decreased by 30, from 1,244 DUC wells at the end of May to 1,214 DUCs at the end of June, as 408 new wells were drilled into the Permian basin during June, while 438 already drilled wells in the region were being fracked....in addition, the number of uncompleted wells remaining in Oklahoma's Anadarko basin decreased by 8, falling from 727 at the end of May to 719 DUC wells at the end of June, as 62 wells were drilled into the Anadarko basin during June, while 70 Anadarko wells were completed....meanwhile, there was a decrease of 1 DUC well in the Bakken of North Dakota, where DUC wells fell from 425 at the end of May to a record low of 424 DUCs at the end of June, as 76 wells were drilled into the Bakken during June, while 77 of the drilled wells in the Bakken were being fracked...at the same time, DUCs in the Eagle Ford shale of south Texas also decreased by 1, from 598 DUC wells at the end of May to a record low of 597 DUCs at the end of June, as 110 wells were drilled in the Eagle Ford during June, while 111 already drilled Eagle Ford wells were fracked....on the other hand, DUC wells in the Niobrara chalk of the Rockies' front range increased by 1, rising from 310 at the end of May to 311 DUC wells at the end of June, as 109 wells were drilled into the Niobrara chalk during June, while 108 Niobrara wells were completed....

among the natural gas producing regions, the drilled but uncompleted well count in the Appalachian region, which includes the Utica shale, rose by one well, from 526 DUCs at the end of May to 527​ ​DUCs at the end of June, as 98 wells were drilled into the Marcellus and Utica shales during the month, while 97 of the already drilled wells in the region were fracked....at the same time, the uncompleted well inventory in the natural gas producing Haynesville shale of the northern Louisiana-Texas border region rose by 13, from 419 DUCs in May to 432 DUCs by the end of June, as 75 wells were drilled into the Haynesville during June, while 63 of the already drilled Haynesville wells were fracked during the same period....thus, for the month of June, DUCs in the five major oil-producing basins tracked by this report (ie., the Anadarko, Bakken, Niobrara, Permian, and Eagle Ford) decreased by a net total of 39 wells to 3,265 DUC wells, while the uncompleted well count in the major natural gas basins (the Marcellus, the Utica, and the Haynesville) increased by net of 13 wells to 980 wells, although as this report notes, once into production, more than half the wells drilled nationally will produce both oil and gas...

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