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May 10, 2016

Iranian Oil Industry Bouncing Back

By Matthew Bey, Forbes

Oil and geopolitics crossed paths repeatedly throughout the 20th century. And perhaps nowhere were the political effects of their intersection more pronounced than in Iran. For nearly five decades, the Anglo-Persian Oil Co., later renamed Anglo-Iranian Oil Co., the forebear of what would eventually become British Petroleum, enjoyed near total control over Iran’s oil sector. When Iran nationalized the sector in 1951, the United States and United Kingdom responded by overthrowing its architect, Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, just two years later. Those events heavily influenced the 1979 Iranian Revolution, a foundational element of which was resource nationalism.

And now it appears that BP is returning to its roots. During the week of May 2, the head of Iran’s national oil company announced that BP will soon open an office in Tehran. Meanwhile, the country is opening up its energy sector and considering admitting foreign oil companies to set up joint ventures and operate oil fields there for the first time since 1979.

But Iran faces new challenges. To revive his country’s economy after years of sanctions, President Hassan Rouhani is now driving an initiative to reinvigorate the oil sector. To do so, Rouhani will have to break what has become a steady cycle of backlash — aimed at foreign and domestic actors alike — over the distribution of oil revenue in Iran.

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Saudis to Continue Production Ramp Up

By Simon Jack, BBC

"Welcome to Saudi Aramco" - that's not a message you see very often as a foreign journalist but the normally secretive state owned oil company is on a charm offensive.

Sadly for other oil producers that does not extend to helping drive oil prices higher by cutting production.

In fact, chief executive Amin Nasser, told journalists that production would increase in 2016 ahead of a share sale that could value the company at over $2 trillion dollars - four times the value of Apple.

Vision 2030

The sale of up to 5% of the state giant is an eye-catching part of a plan to double the size of the Saudi economy by 2030 and reduce the Kingdom's reliance on oil and gas.

But don't be fooled. The planned diversification is not in place of fossil fuels, it's in addition.
Saudi Arabia's so called Vision 2030 will need its coffers full of oil money to spend on investment in other industries such as petrochemicals, mining, tourism and construction. It hopes to double the size of the economy and create six million Saudi jobs within 15 years.

It's a very tall order for a country that currently derives 90% of its income from oil and gas.
If it succeeds, it won't be because it reined in oil production, and that could spell more trouble for other producers like Venezuela, Nigeria and, indeed, the North Sea.

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Weeks Before Candanian Oil Sands Operations Will Resume

From the Wall Street Journal

By Elena Cherney and David George-Cosh
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said she expects oil-sands companies that suspended output of crude oil by up to one million barrels a day due to wildfires that ravaged the Fort McMurray area to resume production “in the coming days and weeks.”
Ms. Notley made the comments after meeting with energy executives Tuesday and discussing the steps that need to be taken for production to be resumed, including ensuring that infrastructure such as pipelines and electricity is operational, and that there is housing and medical care for workers.
Cooler temperatures and firefighter relief efforts have helped slow the spread of the Alberta wildfires, but production remains affected due to staff evacuations and logistical hurdles such as pipeline outages.
Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s Canadian unit said Tuesday that it was able to restart production at its Albian mine, which it suspended on May 3, marking the first major producer to resume operations since the fire. The company said it would rely on fly-in, fly-out staff to operate the mine. Shell’s oil sands production capacity is 255,000 barrels a day.
The decline in output reached at least 839,000 barrels per day, or close to one-third of Canada’s overall daily production, before Shell said it had restarted Albian.
There was no damage to oil sands facilities north of Fort McMurray, Ms. Notley said. Companies have said they cut or halted production to evacuate workers as a precaution and to cope with supply disruptions or smoke that interfered with operations.
Steve Williams, the chief executive of Suncor, said his “primary focus is to work with our pipeline companies and our power companies” to make sure the infrastructure is intact.
The statements from Ms. Notley, Mr. Williams and other industry leaders at a press conference Tuesday were the first effort to put forward a timeline for resuming operations of affected companies. On Monday, Ms. Notley toured the Fort McMurray area to assess the damage from what she described as an “ocean of fire” that surrounded the area.
While around 2,400 homes and buildings were destroyed by the fires, about 90% of buildings in Fort McMurray, including schools and a hospital, remain intact, officials said Monday.
The loss of oil-sands output, a key engine of the Canadian economy is expected to dampen the country’s economic growth in the second quarter, and worsen a downturn from low oil prices that already has led to large job cuts and lost production.

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November 18, 2014

Shale Drillers Maintain High Output In Era of Dramatic Price Reduction

Shale drillers are planning on production growth with fewer rigs despite a worldwide glut that has sent crude prices to a four-year low.

Companies including Devon Energy Corp. (DVN), Continental Resources Inc. (CLR) and EOG Resources Inc. (EOG) said they expect to pump more from their prime properties while cutting back in their least productive prospects. That puts the onus on OPEC nations, led by Saudi Arabia, to cut output if they want to stem the slide in global oil prices.

“There’s a lot more production coming online this year and in the first half of 2015,” said Jason Wangler, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities Inc. in Houston. “This isn’t a machine that you can turn on and off with a switch. It’s going to take months, if not quarters, to turn it around.”

Domestic output topped 9 million barrels a day for the first time since at least 1983, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Nov. 13. West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark oil contract, declined $1.03 today to settle at $74.61 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices fell to $74.21 on Nov. 13, the lowest close since 2010.

“Certainly if prices fall even further than they are now, it’ll have some impact, and it may slow the growth rate of U.S. production,” said Jason Bordoff, founding director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy in New York. “I still think, unless they fall significantly further, U.S. production is going to see dramatic increases in growth.”

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Chevron Confirms First Oil Production From Tubular Bells in the Gulf of Mexico

SAN RAMON, CA --(  Chevron announced today that the Hess Corporation-operated Tubular Bells deepwater project, located in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, has started crude oil and natural gas production. The field is located 135 miles (217 km) southeast of New Orleans, in approximately 4,300 feet (1,310 m) of water in the Mississippi Canyon area. The discovery well was drilled in 2003, and project construction began in October 2011.

Tubular Bells is expected to deliver total production of approximately 50,000 barrels of oil-equivalent per day producing from three wells.

“The deepwater Gulf of Mexico plays a significant part in our earnings and production growth. Achieving first oil at Tubular Bells is an important step towards Chevron achieving its production goal of 3.1 million barrels per day by 2017,” said George Kirkland, vice chairman and executive vice president, Upstream, Chevron Corporation.

“Tubular Bells and the Chevron-operated Jack/St. Malo project further strengthens Chevron’s deepwater portfolio,” said Jay Johnson, senior vice president, Upstream, Chevron Corporation. Jack/St. Malo, a large lower Tertiary development, is scheduled to be brought online later this year.

“This project’s success is the result of our strong business relationship with Hess, reinforcing our commitment to achieve results with excellence, and enabling new opportunities in this strategic area,” said Jeff Shellebarger, president, Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company.

The Tubular Bells production facility is producing from the Miocene trend, where, for many years, Chevron subsidiaries have had multiple producing assets and a leading leaseholder position. The floating production facility is a classic spar hull with traditional three-level topsides. The field has an estimated production life of 25 years.

Chevron subsidiary Chevron U.S.A. Inc.has a 42.86 percent working interest in the Tubular Bells development and Hess is the operator with a 57.14 percent working interest in the field.

Chevron is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies, with subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide. The company is involved in virtually every facet of the energy industry. Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and lubricants; manufactures and sells petrochemical products; generates power and produces geothermal energy; and develops the energy resources of the future, including biofuels. Chevron is based in San Ramon, Calif. More information about Chevron is available at

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