The Shale Daily Update – 4.17.2020

Paul Takahashi reports in the Houston Chronicle that 18 upstream oil and gas companies filed for bankruptcy protection during the second quarter of this year.

Here are 10 Things You Should Know About Oil and Gas Today.

The Big Story

A federal judge appointed by Barack Obama struck down a key permit allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward, claiming that it was issued without a proper environmental impact assessment. This is nonsense and the decision will in all likelihood be reversed on appeal. But it just demonstrates how President Obama’s judicial appointees continue to coordinate their efforts with anti-development activist groups like the Sierra Club, a plaintiff in this lawsuit.

Federal judge cancels Keystone pipeline permitExcerpt:

U.S. Chief District Judge Brian Morris ruled Wednesday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to properly analyze the project’s effects on endangered species when it approved a key water crossing permit for TC Energy’s 1,210-mile tar sands pipeline that is to run from Steele City, Neb., into the Canadian province of Alberta.

When completed, the project is expected to deliver 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, where it will connect with TC Energy’s existing infrastructure that will carry it to Gulf Coast refiners, the company said on its website.

However, Wednesday’s ruling could block construction over hundreds of water crossings along the pipeline’s projected route, the Sierra Club said in a statement.

Anti-Pipeline Rulings Put Thousands of Jobs at Risk – Why yes, yes they do.

In other news…

Oil falls on weak economic data, demand concernsExcerpt:

Oil prices fell on Friday as news of President Donald Trump’s plans to ease the U.S. coronavirus lockdown to get the American economy moving again were quickly overshadowed by China’s worst quarterly economic contraction on record.

U.S. crude for June fell 2.6%, or 66 cents, to $24.87 per barrel. Brent rose 13 cents to $27.99 per barrel.

The less active U.S. crude contract for May tumbled by $2.17, or 11%, to $17.73, attributable to the imminent expiry of the contract, on April 21, and fast-filling crude storage.

Oil and gas giant Shell targets ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050 – How many times have we seen announcements like this from companies like Shell and BP? Answer: Many.

U.S. Oil Major Voluntarily Cuts 200,000 BpdExcerpt:

ConocoPhillips announced additional reductions of US$1.6 billion in its capex, bringing the current estimate to US$4.3 billion. Including the first capex cut of US$700 million announced in March, ConocoPhillips is cutting around 35 percent of its original 2020 capex guidance. These reductions in spending will be primarily focused on the Lower 48, Alaska, and Canada areas where the firm has the highest levels of flexibility, it said on Thursday.

ConocoPhillips is also voluntarily curtailing 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) net to the company until market conditions improve. At Surmont in Canada, ConocoPhillips is currently cutting back production due to low Western Canada Select (WCS) prices, which were below US$5 a barrel as of Thursday. By May, the firm expects to cut production by some 100,000 barrels of oil per day bpd gross to 35,000 bpd gross. ConocoPhillips will also begin to curtail production across its operations in the Lower 48 in May.

IEA Says Timing ‘Could Not Be Worse’ for Mexico Oil Production Push – No kidding. But then, nobody ever accused PEMEX of being run by a bunch of geniuses. Seriously, literally nobody has ever made that accusation.

Shell greenlights $6.4 billion Australia natural gas projectExcerpt:

Royal Dutch Shell said on Friday it had taken a final investment decision to develop the first phase of Australia’s biggest coal seam gas resource in Queensland state. The first phase of the Surat Gas Project would bring as much as 90 billion cubic feet per year of new natural gas to market at peak production, Shell said in a statement.

The project is being developed by a Shell and PetroChina joint venture called Arrow Energy. Construction will start this year and its first gas sales are expected in 2021.

$20 Barrel Oil? West Texas Oilman Promises Profits Even Then – Hey, it could happen.

N.M. weighs plans to replace coal-fired power plantExcerpt:

Plans by New Mexico’s largest electric provider to replace the capacity that will be lost when it shutters a major coal-fired power plant in 2022 are being scrutinized by state regulators, including one who suggested Wednesday that the utility might need to seek new bids. The plans call for a mix of new natural gas plants, solar arrays and battery storage to replace the San Juan Generating Station near Farmington. The state’s new energy transition law calls for siting of the new projects to be among the considerations as lawmakers wanted to help offset job losses and reductions in tax revenues that are expected for the community. 

Railroad Commission of Texas Considers Public Comments and Potential Next Steps with Request for Market-Demand Proration of Oil Production – Man, that’s kind of a clumsy headline, but the article is worth a read.

That’s all for today.