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US refiners move on from Venezuelan heavy crude

  • Market: Crude oil, Oil products
  • 24/01/20

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro's administration has not budged under a year of US sanctions targeting the Opec member's oil industry, but the halt in shipments from the third-largest source of heavy crude for the US reshaped trade flows to complex refineries.

The US imposed sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry on 25 January 2019 in a bid to support opposition leader Juan Guaido. Shipments wound down into May before falling to zero for the first time in more than 25 years.

US refiners replaced few of those barrels. Total US imports of heavy crude of 20°API or less — the bulk of Venezuelan supply — fell in the first ten months of 2019 to their lowest level since 2003, according to Energy Information Administration data.

Venezuelan alternatives last year lacked the quality discounts that refiners expect to fill heavy crude processing equipment. An outdated pricing formula helped to keep former US Gulf coast heavy benchmark Maya's discount to Ice Brent 20pc smaller than average in 2019.

And the broad lack of US Gulf coast access to Western Canadian Select (WCS) heavy sour barrels helped to tilt that crude toward record discounts to West Texas Intermediate crude in late 2018. A provincial curtailment program reigning in Alberta production left discounts too low to support costly rail transportation.

Though shipments of Canadian crude heavier than 24°API to the Gulf coast increased by 3pc, to 490,000 b/d, the rise was far smaller than the 26pc increase from 2017 to 2018. The increase represented just 3pc of the roughly 500,000 b/d of Venezuelan crude that the region had averaged for imports in the 12 months preceding sanctions.

Refiners did look outside North America for supply. Chevron, which may continue its Venezuelan upstream joint venture but cannot import the crude to its 330,000 b/d refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi, received an average 72,000 b/d of Venezuelan heavy crude in 2018. Imports from Iraq, Trinidad and Tobago and the UK picked up following the end of Venezuelan access last year. But overall heavy crude imports remained 6pc lower through the first ten months of 2019 than the same period of 2018.

Refiners adjust slates

Venezuela's US refining subsidiary Citgo cut deeper. The company added Brazilian and Trinidad and Tobago crude to its slate. Losing access to Venezuelan heavy crude still meant an average 43pc drop in heavy crude imports to its US Gulf coast refineries in 2019.

Others adjusted overall crude diets. Valero adopted its lightest crude slate in at least nine years in the third quarter of 2019, with sweet crudes making up 61pc of its total slate. The US independent refiner operates extensive complex refining capacity—sweet crudes made up less than half of its crude slate two years earlier.

PBF reported a middling 37pc share for heavy crude at its 190,000 b/d refinery in Chalmette, Louisiana, another former Venezuela joint venture. Citgo completed modifications that allowed its 157,500 b/d refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, to increase its ability to process US light, sweet crude.

More sour shifts in 2020

A shifting sour crude market will shake out new alternatives this year. Mexico last fall adjusted its Maya formula to bring its crude more in line with the US Gulf coast heavy sour market. Alberta began easing — slowly — its curtailments and has worked to increase railed shipments to US buyers. And US refiners have expected new, tougher marine fuel specifications to open up new discounts for sour and heavy feedstocks this year.

Companies have already pounced on Russian or Baltic straight run fuel oil called M-100, which fell to steep discounts in October. Adopting the feedstock can reduce production of valuable clean fuels, but will still fill cokers at the right price.

M-100 shipped to the Atlantic coast averaged a $9.34/bl to Ice Brent in November — three times the Maya discount for the period. The feedstock plus transportation hit a more than $25/bl discount nadir in December before climbing back to a $15/bl discount.

By Elliott Blackburn


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18/07/24

Australia’s Santos delays FID on Dorado oil field

Australia’s Santos delays FID on Dorado oil field

Sydney, 18 July (Argus) — Australian independent Santos will now target a 2025 final investment decision (FID) on its 80pc-owned Dorado oil project in Western Australia (WA), after deferring it in 2022 and last year indicating a 2024 decision. Dorado's 10pc stakeholder Australian independent Carnarvon Energy said the joint venture (JV) will evaluate a lower capital expenditure (capex) option by reducing capacity below the previously guided 75,000-100,000 b/d and phasing development wells, targeting front-end engineering and design re-entry later in 2024 "once the JV secures the best option vessel or hull". Carnarvon said overall capex prior to the first oil from the offshore field will now be below its previous guidance of $2bn. Dorado JV's other shareholder is Taiwan's state-owned CPC with 10pc. Santos reported higher April-June oil and gas output than the previous quarter on 18 July, with production from the 7.8mn t/yr Gladstone LNG (GLNG) in Queensland state up on a year earlier. It produced 22.2mn bl of oil equivalent (boe), up by 2pc from 21.8mn boe during January-March because of the return of WA's Devil Creek gas plant following a maintenance shutdown, as well as higher liquids production following cyclone-related disconnections during January-March. But output was 3pc below the year-earlier figure of 22.8mn boe. GLNG is on track to swap 18PJ (480mn m³) of gas into the domestic market over April-September 2024, Santos said, with the project maintaining its guidance of around 6mn t of LNG shipped for the year to 31 December. Production at the 6.9mn t/yr ExxonMobil-operated PNG LNG in Papua New Guinea (PNG) was down on January-March with natural decline at the Hides field, partially offset by high compression reliability from the Santos-operated Gobe and Kutubu fields. Finalisation of drilling and completion of operations activities at PNG LNG's Angore C1 and C2 wells has been achieved with both wells perforated for production. Angore project teams are now starting tie-in execution with production of 350mn ft³/d (10mn m³/d) expected during October-December. The $4.6bn Barossa backfill project in the Timor Sea is 77pc complete, Santos said, with pipeline testing completed in June and on track for its first gas in July-September 2025 within its cost guidance. Santos' 1.7mn t/yr Moomba carbon capture and storage project in South Australia is mechanically complete and on track to raise injection of Cooper basin gas plant carbon dioxide during July-December. Santos maintained its 2024 production guidance of 84mn-90mn boe and will release its half-year results on 21 August. By Tom Major Santos results Apr-Jun '24 Jan-Mar '24 Apr-Jun '23 y-o-y % ± q-o-q % ± Volumes ('000 t) GLNG (100pc) 1,338 1,649 1,263 6 -19 Darwin LNG (100pc) 0 0 134 100 0 PNG LNG (100pc) 2,001 2,009 2,065 -3 0 Santos' equity share of LNG sales 1,264 1,352 1,333 -5 -7 Financial LNG sales revenue ($mn) 762 901 838 -9 -15 Total sales revenue ($mn) 1,313 1,398 1,336 -2 -6 LNG average realised price ($/mn Btu) 11 13 12 -4 -10 Oil price ($/bl) 89 89 83 7 0 Source: Santos Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Urgent action needed for UK to hit net zero goals: CCC


17/07/24
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17/07/24

Urgent action needed for UK to hit net zero goals: CCC

London, 17 July (Argus) — The UK increased the rate of reduction in its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2023, but "urgent action" is needed if the country is to hit its targets in 2030 and beyond, the independent advisory Climate Change Committee (CCC) found today. The report assessed the UK's progress towards its net zero goals against policy set out by the previous Conservative government. The new Labour government, which has been in power since 5 July, has already set the scene for a stronger decarbonisation agenda . But it "will have to act fast to hit the country's commitments", the CCC said. The committee tracked progress on 28 key indicators. Of the 22 that have a benchmark or target, just five are assessed as "on track". The UK's GHG emissions stood at 393mn t/CO2 equivalent (CO2e) in 2023, down by 5.4pc, or 22mn t/CO2e, on the year, provisional data show. This estimate excludes contributions from international aviation and shipping, as these are not included in the UK's 2030 target of a 68pc cut in GHG emissions, from a 1990 baseline. The UK's GHG emissions including the country's share of international aviation and shipping were 423.3mn t/CO2e in 2023, preliminary data show, 49.5pc lower than in 1990. The drop in GHGs has largely been driven by the decrease in coal-fired power generation over that time span. Although progress has been made, the previous administration "signalled a slowing of pace and reversed or delayed key policies", the CCC noted. The reduction in GHG emissions in 2023 is "roughly in line with the annual pace of change needed" to hit the 2030 target, but the average annual rate over the previous seven years is "insufficient", the committee added. The UK's 2030 emissions reduction goal is the first in line with reaching net zero by 2050. The new government has placed strong focus on decarbonising electricity in its first days in office, but this is "not enough on its own", CCC acting chief executive James Richardson said. The average annual rate of GHG reduction outside the electricity supply sector over the previous seven years was 6.3mn t/CO2e, but this will need to more than double to 2030 if the UK is to meet its targets, the CCC found. The committee found that in order to reach targets, "annual offshore wind installations must increase by at least three times, onshore wind installations will need to double and solar installations must increase by five times" by 2030, while oil and gas use should be "rapidly" reduced. The CCC also recommended that around 10pc of UK homes will need to be heated by a heat pump by 2030, in comparison to approximately 1pc today. And the market share of new electric cars needs to increase to "nearly 100pc" by 2030, from a current share of 16.5pc. Labour pledged in its manifesto to restore the 2030 phase-out date for sales of new gasoline or diesel-fuelled cars, while it has set ambitious targets for renewable energy installations and pledged zero-carbon power by 2030. It has also committed to no new oil, gas or coal licences. By Georgia Gratton Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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TotalEnergies agrees to sell stake in Nigeria SPDC JV


17/07/24
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17/07/24

TotalEnergies agrees to sell stake in Nigeria SPDC JV

London, 17 July (Argus) — TotalEnergies has agreed to sell its 10pc stake in Nigeria's SPDC onshore oil and gas joint venture to Africa-focused independent Chappal Energies for $860mn. Other partners in the SPDC joint venture comprise operator Shell with a 30pc interest, state-owned NNPC with 55pc and Italy's Eni with 5pc. Shell agreed to sell its stake in the joint venture to a consortium of five companies for up to $2.4bn in January. That deal remains subject to a due diligence process by regulators. The joint venture's assets include around 50 producing oil and gas fields across 18 licences. TotalEnergies will transfer its 10pc interest and all its rights and obligations in 15 of the licences to Chappal. These licences mainly produce oil and netted TotalEnergies around 14,000 b/d of oil equivalent last year. The other three licences — OML 23, OML 28 and OML 77 — mainly produce gas and account for 40pc of supply to the Nigeria LNG (NLNG) joint venture, in which TotalEnergies has a 15pc stake. TotalEnergies will also transfer its 10pc stake in these licences to Chappal but it will retain "full economic interest" in them, it said. The divestment "allows us to focus our onshore Nigeria presence solely on the integrated gas value chain and is designed to ensure the continuity of feed gas supply to Nigeria LNG in the future", said TotalEnergies' exploration and production president Nicolas Terraz. Chappal specialises in taking over and operating mature fields. It agreed a deal in November last year to acquire Norwegian firm Equinor's stake in Nigeria's OML 128 block, a transaction that was finally approved earlier this month . The company said last month that it is contemplating issuing a bond to raise up to $450mn to help it finance acquisitions. By Jon Mainwaring Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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China’s CNOOC gets record gas results from Bohai well


17/07/24
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17/07/24

China’s CNOOC gets record gas results from Bohai well

Singapore, 17 July (Argus) — Chinese state-controlled oil firm CNOOC has achieved what it described as record gas production results from a test well at its Longkou 7-1 (LK7-1) oil and gas field in the eastern region of China's Bohai Sea. The LK7-1-1 exploration well could produce almost 1mn m³/d of natural gas and about 210m³/d (1,320 b/d) of crude oil, the company said on 15 July. The former set a record for natural gas tested productivity in the Bohai Sea, according to CNOOC. China produced 123.6bn m³ of natural gas in January-June, up by 6pc from a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBS). The country produced 4.15mn b/d of crude in 2023, NBS data showed. The potential output adds to CNOOC's reserves and production in the Bohai Sea, which stood at 1.97mn b/d of oil equivalent (boe/d) and 599,847 boe/d as of the end of 2023, according to CNOOC. The region represents 29pc of the company's total reserves and approximately 32pc of its production. CNOOC, along with other state-controlled firms like PetroChina and Sinopec, dominates China's domestic oil and gas production. CNOOC has also separately started production at an oilfield offshore China. The Wushi 23-5 oilfield development project — located in the Beibu Gulf of the South China Sea — is expected to produce light crude, and achieve peak production of 18,100 boe/d in 2026. "The project will realise full-process recovery and utilisation of the associated gas through integrated natural gas treatment," the company said on 1 July. CNOOC in November 2023 started production at its Bozhong 19-6 condensate gas field in the Bohai bay. The gas field is currently producing an estimated 37,500 boe/d, exceeding an initial expectation of peak production of about 37,000 boe/d, the company said on 11 July. CNOOC in March 2023 discovered the Bozhong 26-6 field with over 100mn t of oil equivalent reserves, also in the Bohai Sea. By Joey Chan Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Aumentan importaciones de combustible en México


16/07/24
News
16/07/24

Aumentan importaciones de combustible en México

Mexico City, 16 July (Argus) — Las importaciones de combustible en México aumentaron en julio de cara a la temporada de viajes de verano e impulsadas por una disminución de la producción nacional en las refinerías de la estatal Pemex. Las importaciones marítimas a México de gasolina, diésel y turbosina, incluidas las importaciones de Pemex y privados, aumentaron un 18pc a aproximadamente 780,000 b/d del 1 al 10 de julio, frente a 663,000 b/d en el mismo periodo de 2023, según datos de Vortexa. Esto se debió principalmente a un aumento del 66pc en los cargamentos de diésel hasta alcanzar 268,000 b/d, ya que la disponibilidad de este combustible en el mercado ilegal probablemente disminuyó, según fuentes del mercado. Los cargamentos de turbosina se cuadriplicaron hasta los 43,000 b/d en el mismo periodo, ya que Pemex reabastece sus inventarios antes de la temporada de viajes aéreos de verano. Las importaciones de combustible a México habían disminuido a principios de este año, después de que la campaña del gobierno para aumentar la producción de refinerías y reducir su dependencia de las importaciones de EE. UU. comenzara a dar sus frutos, aumentando la producción de gasolina y diésel de Pemex en un 32pc y reduciendo sus importaciones hasta un 25pc en marzo. Pero en abril y mayo, el sistema de refinación de Pemex enfrentó varios problemas, desde un incendio en la refinería de Minatitlán hasta un corte de energía importante en la refinería de Tula, lo que llevó los niveles de procesamiento de crudo de Pemex a un mínimo de cinco meses en mayo. Las tasas de operación de las refinerías en junio se publicarán el 26 de julio. Es probable que el procesamiento de crudo haya caído durante el mes pasado debido a operaciones de mantenimiento en dos refinerías, dijo una fuente familiarizada con las operaciones de refinación de Pemex. El mercado tiene sus dudas sobre la posibilidad una fuerte caída en las importaciones de combustible a México, y algunos refinadores de la costa del Golfo de EE. UU. esperan una fuerte y creciente demanda. Además, incluso si la refinería Olmeca de 340,000 b/d iniciara operaciones comerciales este año, es probable que las otras seis refinerías reduzcan sus tasas de utilización, según fuentes del mercado. Recientemente, Pemex comenzó a vender diésel desde la terminal de distribución de la refinería de Olmeca, pero la cantidad es limitada y el combustible se produjo utilizando materia prima destilada en otra planta. La tendencia a la baja en las operaciones de refinado de México podría continuar en julio a pesar de los esfuerzos del gobierno saliente para aumentar la producción nacional. México ha exportado alrededor de 1 millón de b/d de crudo hasta la fecha en julio, un aumento del 20pc frente a los 847,500 b/d en todo junio, según los datos de Vortexa. Esto indica que es probable que las refinerías de Pemex estén operando a tasas más bajas. Las importaciones de combustible de México podrían continuar su tendencia al alza en los próximos meses, pues los gasolineros esperan una mayor demanda de gasolina durante las vacaciones de verano. Los inventarios de gasolina y diésel de Pemex descendieron un 24pc en junio a 6.2 millones de bl, frente a 8.1 millones de bl en junio de 2023, según una respuesta de transparencia de Pemex a una solicitud de Argus . La empresa deberá aumentar sus importaciones si las refinerías no siguen el ritmo de la demanda. Además, las importaciones suelen aumentar en la segunda mitad del año, impulsadas por la demanda de diciembre y la mezcla de gasolina de invierno de menor precio. México importó más gasolina en el segundo semestre del año en 11 de los últimos 12 años y más diésel en ocho de esos mismos años. Juego de unos pocos El mercado de importación de combustible de México se ha limitado a Pemex y a algunas empresas del sector privado durante los últimos tres años del mandato del presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador, y no hay señales de cambio después de las elecciones presidenciales de junio. Se espera que la presidenta electa Claudia Sheinbaum, que tomará el cargo el 1 de octubre, continúe con las políticas nacionalistas de energía de López Obrador, y tendrá aún menos contrapeso que su predecesor tras la contundente victoria de su partido Morena en las elecciones legislativas. Las importaciones de combustible a México se abrieron a empresas del sector privado después de la reforma energética de 2014, pero la secretaría de energía canceló decenas de permisos de importación de combustible en los últimos años. Por Antonio Gozain Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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