Category Archives: U.S. oil production

2018 was likely the most profitable year for U.S. oil producers since 2013

Repost from The Energy Mix
May 10, 2019, Principle contributor Jeff Barron
changes in liquids and gas production and return on equity for seleted U.S. producers
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Evaluate Energy

Net income for 43 U.S. oil producers totaled $28 billion in 2018, a five-year high. Based on net income, 2018 was the most profitable year for these U.S. oil producers since 2013, despite crude oil prices that were lower in 2018 than in 2013 on an annual average basis.

Lower production costs per barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) and increased production levels contributed to a higher return on equity for these companies for the fourth quarter of 2018 than in any quarter from 2013 through 2018.

The companies included in the analysis are listed on U.S. stock exchanges, and as public companies, they must submit financial reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. EIA calculates that these companies accounted for about one-third of total U.S. crude oil and natural gas liquids production in the fourth quarter of 2018. However, these companies were not selected as a statistically representative sample but instead because their results are publically available. Their results do not necessarily represent the U.S. oil production industry as a whole.

Most of these companies operate in Lower 48 U.S. onshore basins, with some in the Federal Offshore Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, and some in several other regions across the globe. Because of various corporate mergers and acquisitions in 2018, the number of U.S. producers that EIA examined in this analysis fell from 46 companies in 2017 to 43 companies in 2018.

The aggregated income statements for these 43 companies reveal a trend of relatively low increases in expenses directly related to upstream production in 2018. Although these upstream production expenses per barrel typically correlate with crude oil prices, the magnitude of these increases in 2018 was small compared with the increase in prices.

The annual average West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil price increased 28% from 2017 to average $65 per barrel (b) in 2018, but expenses directly related to upstream production activities increased 16% between 2017 and 2018 to $24/BOE. When including depreciation, impairments, and other costs not directly related to upstream production, expenses for these 43 companies averaged $48/BOE in 2018, the lowest amount from 2013 to 2018.

In contrast to production expenses, between 2017 and 2018, upstream revenue for these 43 companies increased 31% to average $48/BOE in 2018, mainly because of the increases in average energy prices and production. As crude oil prices fell in late 2018, their upstream revenue declined 11% between the third and fourth quarters of 2018.

selected expenses and revenues for 43 oil companies
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, based on Evaluate Energy

However, this group of companies reported financially hedging nearly one-third of their fourth-quarter 2018 production at prices in the mid-$50/b range, offsetting revenue declines when WTI prices fell lower than $50/b by the end of the year. Consequently, even with their decline in upstream revenue in the last quarter of 2018, total revenue increased for these 43 companies because of the gains from financial derivatives.

Contributions to revenue from derivative hedges—which increase in value when prices decline—for these 43 companies reached the largest total for any quarter since the fourth quarter of 2014. Financial hedging can act like an insurance policy, reducing risk by stabilizing revenue for producers. When oil prices fall lower than the prices at which producers established a hedge, the producer effectively receives higher revenues than selling at market prices. When oil prices rise higher than the hedged price, hedging results in a loss that is treated as an operating expense.

More information on these 43 producers’ financial statements, including a comparison of these companies’ cash from operations relative to their capital expenditures, is available in This Week in Petroleum.

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    Oil Crash Means Biggest Boomers Halt Supply Growth in 2016

    Repost from Bloomberg Business

    Oil Crash Means Biggest Boomers Halt Supply Growth in 2016

    Grant Smith and Julian Lee, November 19, 2015 — 4:00 PM PST Updated on November 20, 2015 — 6:53 AM PST

    HIGHLIGHTS
    •  U.S., Iraq to both stop adding barrels amid price drop
    •  Faltering growth to spur global oil market rebalancing in 2016

    To understand what the oil price crash will mean for global crude supplies next year, look no further than the two nations that added more barrels to world markets in 2015 than anyone else.

    The U.S. and Iraq, whose extra crude this year equates to about 80 percent of the global surplus, will fail to boost output in 2016, according to the world’s biggest forecasters. While the U.S. curtailment is mainly because prices are too low to spur fresh supply, the Middle East country’s ability to boost output is also being crimped by a need to fund its battle with Islamic State.

    Slowing output in the the two fastest-growing producers signals the global glut, which has depressed oil prices to near $40 a barrel, may begin to dissipate next year, according to Barclays Plc. While that would start to fulfill Saudi Arabia’s plan to re-balance world crude markets, Iraq’s struggles show that producers in OPEC are also suffering as that strategy takes effect.

    “The U.S. and Iraq have been two of the biggest contributors to the global oil surplus and when we look at 2016, production in both will be challenged,” Torbjoern Kjus, an analyst at DNB ASA in Oslo, said by e-mail. “Accelerating decline rates and reduced investment will lead to falling U.S. output, while Iraq is unlikely to see much growth from further levels.”

    The two nations are now pumping the equivalent of 4.88 billion barrels a year, an increase of 1.77 billion barrels, or almost 60 percent, compared with their output rates at the start of 2012. To put that in context, oil inventories in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development nations expanded by 314 million barrels, or 12 percent, in the corresponding period.

    U.S. shale production, which has driven a six-year boom in the nation’s oil output, will decline by 600,000 barrels a day next year, according to the International Energy Agency. Total U.S. oil supply is set to surge by 830,000 barrels a day this year, powered by shale formations in Texas and North Dakota. Oil traded at $40.39 a barrel in New York at 9:49 a.m. New York time.

    Iraqi production “is likely to remain broadly flat” next year as the OPEC member “is struggling with the stress of $50-a-barrel oil and a costly battle” with Islamic State militants, the IEA said in a report on Nov. 13. Baghdad is also straining to reimburse international oil companies for investments in southern fields. BP Plc cut this year’s operations budget by 60 percent to $1 billion. As oil prices halved, Iraq has had to pay twice the amount of crude to foreign firms who receive per-barrel fees in the form of cargoes.

    In the north, the semi-autonomous Kurdish region is struggling to pay partners amid a budget dispute with Baghdad. DNO ASA, the Norwegian operator of the Tawke field, and Gulf Keystone, which operates Shaikan, have said their plans are on hold until they receive overdue payments for output from the government. The Kurdistan Regional Government began making regular monthly transfers to companies in September, although DNO says it’s only receiving half of what it is owed for monthly exports and nothing towards reducing accumulated arrears.

    With output gains in jeopardy, “there are signs that the supply glut is easing,” said Kevin Norrish, managing director for commodities research at Barclays in London.

    “U.S. shale oil growth measured over last year’s levels is now coming to an end at last and given the infrastructure constraints in Iraq, plus an end to the upward trend in Saudi output it seems the phase of steadily rising OPEC production may be pausing for now as well,” he said. “The long, slow process of re-balancing the oil market continues.”

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