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Bridging The Gap
News From the Oil Patch, Dec. 19.
  Wednesday 20 December, 2017
News From the Oil Patch, Dec. 19.

Kansas Corporation Commission Chairman Pat Apple announced he will not seek another four-year term when his appointment expires next March. Apple plans to return to a private construction business he and his wife Debbie started in 1983. He says he’s making the announcement now to allow the Governor time to find his replacement. Apple was appointed to the Commission by Governor Brownback on March 24, 2014. He was elected Chairman on January 12, 2017.

Baker Hughes noted 930 total active drilling rigs Friday, adding three gas rigs after four oil rigs fell off the list. Canada reported 238 active rigs, an increase of 19 drilling rigs. Independent Oil & Gas Service reported 12 active rigs in eastern Kansas, up one, and 22 west of Wichita, which is down three. Drilling is underway at sites in Barton and Ellis counties.

Operators filed 150 intent-to drill-notices with the Kansas Corporation Commission in November. That’s 1,661 so far this year through November. So far this month the KCC reports more 70 intents. By the end of the year we’ll be ahead of last year’s dismal total of 1,166, well behind the total in 2015 (2,303), and far short of the much higher annual totals in 2013 (6,395) and 2014 (7,014).

Kansas operators filed 34 new permits to drill at new locations across the state last week. The year-to-date permit total is 1,393. There are 22 new permits on file in eastern Kansas and 12 west of Wichita including new permits in Barton and Ellis County. For the month of November, there were 141 new permits filed statewide. There were five in Barton County, three in Ellis County, four in Russell County and two in Stafford County.

Independent Oil and Gas Service reported 32 new well completions last week, 1,275 so far this year. There were 18 completions in eastern Kansas and 14 west of Wichita, including one in Ellis County and one in Russell County. Monthly numbers show 129 newly completed wells in November.

Lawmakers return to Oklahoma City Monday for another special legislative session on the budget. During the earlier eight-week special session the Legislature failed to agree on a plan that included an across-the-board increase in the state’s gross production tax for oil and natural gas. The new order from the Governor Dec. 15 limits the second special session to patching a budget overrun at the state’s health care authority. But Gov. Mary Fallin said she would keep negotiating, and she could expand the scope of the session.

Regulators in North Dakota report a big jump in that state’s oil production, to 1.2 million barrels per day. Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms said the 78,000bpd bump was the state’s largest-ever month-over-month increase. Helms says preliminary numbers for November and December are looking strong.

Canadian crude’s discount to WTI futures has widened more than $15 since August to the lowest level in nearly four years. Bloomberg reported pipeline problems were compounded by rail line disruptions. Canadian deliveries rebounded after the Keystone shutdown, and now Enbridge is rationing pipeline space again amid high Western Canadian inventories. Rail cars struggled to catch up on deliveries after line disruptions over the past two months.

The Wall Street Journal reports the U.S. and Japan have urged Saudi Arabia to pursue an international stock listing for oil giant Aramco. Officials fear the possible sale of a stake to China would give Beijing too much sway in the Middle East.

A pipeline system in the UK developed what was described as a “small hairline crack,” forcing the shutdown of the 450,000 barrel per day pipeline. According to the Houston Chronicle, the company expects repairs to take a couple of weeks.

Phillips 66 and Enbridge announced an open season for the Gray Oak Pipeline from West Texas to Corpus Christi, Freeport, and Houston. The Gray Oak Pipeline is expected to have an initial throughput capacity of 385,000 bpd. Phillips 66 and Enbridge will evaluate expansion of the system beyond 385,000 BPD, depending on shipper interest in the open season. The pipeline system is anticipated to be placed in service in the second half of 2019. Open season began Monday.

Less than two weeks after OPEC’s decision to extend oil production cuts, Reuters reported that Libya and Nigeria – the only two exempt members of the group – are signaling their intent to raise output next year. Oil company Total said its new Egina field offshore Nigeria was on track to start next year – adding 10 percent to the country’s production. And officials from Libya’s government, it’s national oil company and a banker met to discuss how the corporation could get more cash to raise oil output next year.

OPEC production fell to its lowest level in six months, according to the cartel’s Monthly Oil Market Report. The report suggests that rival U.S. production continues to surge, and that oil markets may not re-balance before the production agreement concludes at the end of next year.


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