Aug 23, 2022

News From the Oil Patch: Natural gas prices spike; gasoline prices drop

Posted Aug 23, 2022 10:45 AM


The government reports US crude production dropped slightly last week but remained above 12 million barrels per day. The Energy Information Administration says US operators produced just over 12.1 million barrels per day in the week through August 12, down 118,000 barrels per day from the week before.

EIA reports US crude-oil inventories dropped by 7.1 million barrels from a week earlier. The tally on August 12th was 425 million barrels, or about six percent below the five-year average for this time of year. Gasoline stockpiles were down by 4.6 million barrels, and are about eight percent below the five-year seasonal average

Crude imports for the week dropped by 39,000 barrels per day. The four week average reached 6.5 million barrels per day. The government says that's half a percent higher than the same four-weeks a year ago.

So far this year, 203 Kansas operators have spudded 916 wells, an increase of 322 wells over the tally at this time last year. Independent Oil & Gas Service was scouting 434 wells in various stages of drilling and completion, up nearly 50% from a year ago. The rig count in Kansas was up two in the eastern half of the state to to 27 rigs. West of Wichita, the count is down one at 34 rigs.  On Friday, drilling was underway on two leases in Ellis County and two in Stafford County, with operators expected to spud a new well soon on a lease in Russell County.

The weekly Rotary Rig Count from Baker Hughes was down one gas rig to 762 active rigs nationwide. The count in Texas was down three rigs, while New Mexico gained two.

Kansas regulators okayed 36 new drilling locations over the last week, 27 in eastern Kansas and nine west of Wichita. Independent Oil & Gas Service reports 1,037 new drilling permits statewide so far this year. Barton County was unchanged with 30 new permits so far this year. Ellis County adds two permits, 28 so far this year. Russell County is unchanged at 12 new permits this year, and Stafford County is unchanged at 17 new drilling permits in calendar-year 2022.

Independent Oil & Gas Service reports 31 newly completed wells across the state during the week through August 18th, with 15 east of Wichita and 16 in Western Kansas. Operators have completed 1,004 new wells statewide so far this year. Barton County added two completions last week, 41 so far this year. The tally in Ellis County is unchanged at 24 completed wells. Russell County is up one at eleven wells. Stafford County gained one to 23 completed wells.

Gasoline prices continued to drop. The auto club AAA reports a national average pump price of just over $3.93 per gallon, down six cents a gallon from a week ago, and 59 cents cheaper than a month ago. The average across Kansas is down 83 cents from a month ago, at $3.51 per gallon.  (8/22)

US natural gas prices have skyrocketed to levels unseen since 2008. Futures last week surged seven percent to their highest closing price since August 1, 2008.

US shale producers' inventory of drilled but uncompleted wells dipped by 20 wells last week. The Energy Information Administration says the Permian basin saw a drop of 21 DUCs. Several plays reported increases.

US oil-by-rail traffic was up for the week but down compared to last year. The Association of American Railroads reports 9,732 tanker carloads hauling petroleum or petroleum products during the week through August 13th. That's up 51 tanker carloads from the week before, but down 5.6% from the same week a year ago. Canadian traffic was up nearly 500 tankers for the week and 8.7% higher than last year at this time.

Even though Mexico imports nearly all of its natural gas, the country is hoping to become a major exporter. Bloomberg reports the country's proximity to booming US supplies positions it well to supply American gas to customers in Europe and Asia. They have a total of eight new gas export projects in the planning stages. If their hopes pan out the Latin American newcomer would join a very small club of nations that ship liquefied natural gas abroad, behind only the US, Australia and Qatar in output.

Earthstone Energy announced the closing of a deal to buy the New Mexico assets of Titus Oil & Gas for $574 million in cash and about 3.9 million shares of stock. The assets are located in the northern Delaware Basin of the Permian play, and bring Earthstone's production base to nearly 100,000 barrels of oil-equivalent per day. The company plans to deploy an additional drilling rig soon to expand its drilling program.