Americas Crude Summit 2019 takeaways

Author Jeff Kralowetz, VP, Business Development

The latest Americas Crude Summit included valuable insights from some of the biggest names and companies in today’s crude industry.

Argus’ 11th annual Americas Crude Summit took place in January this year and included comprehensive insights and coverage from every aspect of the crude supply chain. Retired Lt. General H.R. McMaster provided a high level overview of global crude and the state of the market, which made way for experts from the upstream, midstream, and  downstream sectors to take a deeper dive into the issues affecting each respective area. Harold Hamm of Continental Resources discussed how upstream technology will look further than fracking and focus on midstream bottlenecks and how that affects shale production. This allowed experts from the midstream to highlight how transport is switching from pipelines to docks and marine terminals. To wrap, IMO bunker fuel specs dominated downstream talks, and Repsol’s chief economist predicts a world with a gasoline overflow and how shale is not the answer to address this.


Hello, everyone. For those of you who attended our 11th annual Americas Crude Summit here in Houston on January 22nd to the 24th, thanks for being one of the more than 400 delegates who attended. For those of you who were not able to make it, let me share just a few of the highlights. First, we always kick off with a keynote speaker who can give a big picture view of how the world works in which we operate. This year, those honors were done by Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, who served as President Trump's National Security Advisor for more than a year.

General McMaster talked about China, trade conflicts, withdrawals of troops from Syria, Iran Sanctions, and a host of other issues affecting the world in which the oil industry operates. Then came the experts in every sector of the crude business. Shell pioneer Harold Hamm, who is CEO of Continental Resources, says there is a lot more to know about upstream technology than the F word, fracking. He also said his colleagues are showing far more discipline in spending and paying close attention to midstream bottlenecks in deciding where and how much to produce.

That segued perfectly into midstream issues where leaders, including Brent Secrest of Enterprise Products, and Mark Roles of Magellan talked about how transport bottlenecks are quickly shifting from pipelines to docks and marine terminals. Andy Lipow said we should expect pipeline reversals and expansions to continue, probably including the big, $1.2 million-barrel-a-day Capline, and possibly the Southern Lights Diluent Line, and lines between Chicago and Patoka.

IMO bunker fuel specs dominated the downstream talk, and Repsol's Chief Economist Pedro Antonio Merino Garcia said the world will be awash in gasoline, short of distillate, and that US Shell crude is probably not the perfect answer to address this imbalance. So this probably means continuing to move crude around the world to match refinery slates and consumer demand. Finally, activities on the margins of the conference were pretty compelling as well.

There were more than 18 hours of breaks, meals, and cocktails for networking with colleagues. There was an industry dinner the night before the conference began, where President George W. Bush's energy advisor Bob McNally talked about the history of attempts to deal with crude price volatility. And there were workshops throughout the day before the conference giving granular sessions on IMO, and what's happening with crude pricing tools in each region of the world.

So I hope this provided some insight into the conference and may serve to entice you to check out one of our other fine conferences, including the 12th annual Americas Crude Summit in Houston on February 3rd through the 5th, 2020. The crude industry is constantly evolving, and Argus is here to continue giving you the analysis and insight necessary to illuminate the markets.

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