Jul 08, 2024

News from the Oil Patch: Biggest drop in stockpiles in over a year

Posted Jul 08, 2024 7:12 PM
Photo by Pixabay
Photo by Pixabay

Eagle Communications

The government reported the biggest weekly drop in crude stockpiles in over a year. Commercial crude inventories dropped by 12.2 million barrels last week. That marks the biggest decline in commercial stockpiles since May of last year. The Energy Information Administration reports stockpiles of 448.5 million barrels, or about four percent below the five-year seasonal average.

The weekly government inventory report shows the Department of Energy bought another 400,000 barrels for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve last week. At today's prices, that's a savings of nearly $5 million under the sale price three years ago.

Crude production returns to its record-breaking pre-winter flight plan, soaring 5% over last year. U.S. production averaged 13.24 million barrels a day in April, up from 13.17 million per day in March. The Energy Information Administration reports output hit the all-time high over 13.3 million barrels a day last December, just before a widespread winter weather event shut in production in January and February.  April output in Texas, the top producing state, rose to 42% of the national total at over 5.6 million barrels a day. 

Kansas ranks 12th among crude-producing states in the latest Energy Information Administration report, with output over 75,000 barrels a day.

Weekly U.S. crude production holds steady in the lower 48 states for a third straight week. For the week through June 28, Energy Information Administration reported output in Alaska was down 27,000 barrels a day for a nationwide total just over 13.2 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude imports topped exports by more than 2 million barrels a day last week. Product exports beat imports by over 5 million. The US imported 6.5 million barrels of crude oil per day in the week through June 28, down nearly 100,000 daily barrels from the week before, and down nearly half a million barrels from a year ago. U.S. firms exported 4.4 million barrels of crude per day. Four-week average exports are up nearly half a million barrels a day from a year ago.

The weekly Rig Count from Baker Hughes is up four gas rigs for a total of 585 active drilling rigs. After last week, this is the second-lowest total in nearly three years.  Louisiana was up three rigs for the week. Texas was up one.

The Kansas Rig Count from Independent Oil and Gas Service is up one rig in western Kansas and unchanged east of Wichita, for a total of 29 active drilling rigs. Drilling was underway Friday on two leases in Barton County.

Regulators approved 24 new drilling permits, with just two in western Kansas. That's 498 new drilling locations approved through the first half of the year, compared to 651 a year ago.

Independent Oil and Gas Service reports 28 new well completions, 13 east of Wichita and 15 in the western half of the state. That's 671 completed wells so far this year, compared to 874 through the first half of last year.

A judge halts the pause, but don't expect big liquefied natural gas export growth right away. A U.S. judge last week halted President Biden's temporary moratorium on new export licenses for liquefied natural gas. But Bloomberg reports the decision won't jump-start new export approvals any time soon. The pause affected new licenses only. The U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas and has more room to grow under existing licenses.

Conoco Phillips filed suit to block an Biden administration ban on new drilling across nearly half of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska. The company holds leases on nearly 2 million acres within the reserve, which was established as an emergency oil supply for the U.S. Navy in 1923. The regulation won’t alter the terms of existing contracts there, or directly affect current projects including ConocoPhillips’ 600-million-barrel Willow project.

A government report suggests that aviation in the U.S. is getting close but has not yet fully returned to normal operations in the third year after the onset of the pandemic. Annual jet fuel consumption grew for the third year in a row last year, but remained about 5% below the pre-pandemic high in 2019. The Energy Information Administration reports airline passenger volumes so far this year have surpassed 2019 and are consistently higher than last year.