Overview

WTI Midland is now the world’s largest freely traded grade of crude oil by output and volume. In December 2015, the US lifted a 40-year ban that had restricted exports of US crude overseas. Since the ban was lifted, export volumes have soared and US crude now makes its way to markets all over the world.

The meteoric rise of US crude on the global stage has made Permian basin crude WTI Midland the world’s most important grade and has put the US Gulf coast at the epicentre of global crude trade. Houston is the point of greatest optionality for crude oil. From Houston, crude can be refined in the world’s largest refining centre, moved domestically within the world’s largest oil demand hub, and exported to all corners of the globe. Price dictates these options, making the price at Houston the source of all key comparisons.

Light sweet WTI Midland is now firmly at the centre of price discovery for crude oil. It is a key component of Dated Brent and the global swing barrel, and European and Asian buyers are beginning to purchase crude on a WTI Houston basis. This crude has truly emerged as the heartbeat of the global crude system.

 

A global waterborne crude, underpinned by a liquid pipeline market

In most major markets, crude oil is generally transported by water. But the WTI Houston and Midland markets are different, with oil travelling first by pipeline in small, rateable transactions. The high volume of daily transactions means that there are many points of price discovery throughout the day. Our expert team of crude oil market reporters endeavour to capture it all.

Cargo markets by nature consist of a few, large single trades. But at the US Gulf coast, cargoes are priced at a differential to the pipeline market, so they benefit from the underlying price dynamics of the highly liquid and transparent US pipeline market.

For this reason, understanding the WTI supply chain and the drivers of its price formation is imperative for anyone buying, selling or trading crude oil across the globe.

 

WTI and Argus, a deeply rooted relationship

For two decades, Argus WTI assessments at Midland and Houston have been the standard physical benchmarks for US crude, as well as the settlement indexes for a robust derivatives market. These prices are assessed as differentials to the Argus WTI formula basis, based on the Nymex light sweet crude futures contract — one of the world’s most actively traded oil futures. They are the clear choice for trading companies seeking to manage WTI positions in the physical and paper markets.

Argus WTI Houston and Argus WTI Midland collectively form the basis of the world’s third-largest crude oil derivatives market, after Nymex light sweet and Ice Brent. The contracts are actively traded over the counter and cleared by oil brokers through exchanges such as CME and Ice.

Our rich, deep and trusted coverage of the US crude oil market is unrivalled. You need Argus to make confident business decisions.

Latest crude oil news

Browse the latest market moving news on the global crude oil industry.

News
19/07/24

New Libyan firm starts exporting crude

New Libyan firm starts exporting crude

State-owned NOC subsidiary Agoco appears to be paying for work at its fields with crude, writes Aydin Calik London, 19 July (Argus) — A little-known Libyan firm has begun exporting crude, according to sources, official documents and ship-tracking data seen by Argus . Arkenu Oil, which describes itself as a private oil and gas development and production firm, exported 1mn bl of Sarir/Mesla from the port of Marsa el-Hariga on 10 July on the Zeus, a Suexmax . Shipping agent and port reports list Chinese trading firm Unipec as the charterer. The Zeus' bill of lading lists Libyan state-owned NOC as the sender of the consignment on behalf of Arkenu. Libyan crude sales have historically been the preserve of NOC and a handful of international oil firms that hold stakes in the country's upstream, including Italy's Eni, TotalEnergies and Austria's OMV. Turkey-based commodities trader BGN, which does not have upstream production in Libya, also regularly appears on loading programmes as a seller of the country's crude. According to a document dated 10 July, NOC allocated to Arkenu an unspecified share of production from its subsidiary Agoco's Sarir and Mesla fields in return for Arkenu carrying out development work at the sites. This implies that Agoco is paying Arkenu for the work in crude. Arkenu's 1mn bl cargo is worth around $84mn at prevailing market rates, Argus estimates. Arkenu, set up in early 2023 in the eastern city of Benghazi, says it owns modern drilling rigs and has a team of experts "who have held high positions in major oil production and development companies". It is unclear what work Arkenu has carried out for Agoco. Sarir and Mesla accounted for most of Agoco's roughly 280,000 b/d of output in 2023. Libya is politically divided between an internationally recognised administration in the west, which has historically controlled oil revenues, and a rival administration in the east, which is home to around three-quarters of the country's production capacity. Agoco is based in the east, and NOC in the west. Arkenu, NOC and Unipec have been contacted for comment. Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Trump vows to target 'green' spending, EV rules


19/07/24
News
19/07/24

Trump vows to target 'green' spending, EV rules

Washington, 19 July (Argus) — Former president Donald Trump promised to redirect US green energy spending to other projects, throw out electric vehicle (EV) rules and increase drilling, in a speech Thursday night formally accepting the Republican presidential nomination. Trump's acceptance speech, delivered at the Republican National Convention, offered the clearest hints yet at his potential plans for dismantling the Inflation Reduction Act and the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law. Without explicitly naming the two laws, Trump said he would claw back unspent funds for the "Green New Scam," a shorthand he has used in the past to criticize spending on wind, solar, EVs, energy infrastructure and climate resilience. "All of the trillions of dollars that are sitting there not yet spent, we will redirect that money for important projects like roads, bridges, dams, and we will not allow it to be spent on the meaningless Green New Scam ideas," Trump said during the final night of the convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Trump and his campaign have yet to clearly detail their plans for the two laws, which collectively provide hundreds of billions of dollars worth of federal tax credits and direct spending for renewable energy, EVs, clean hydrogen, carbon capture, sustainable aviation fuel, biofuels, nuclear and advanced manufacturing. Repealing those programs outright could be politically difficult because a majority of spending from the two laws have flowed to districts represented by Republican lawmakers. The speech was Trump's first public remarks since he was grazed by a bullet in an assassination attempt on 13 July. Trump used the shooting to call for the country to unite, but he repeatedly slipped back into the divisive rhetoric of his campaign and his grievances against President Joe Biden, who he claimed was the worst president in US history. Trump vowed to "end the electric vehicle mandate" on the first day of his administration, in an apparent reference to tailpipe rules that are expected to result in about 54pc of new cars and trucks sales being battery-only EVs by model year 2032. Trump also said that unless automakers put their manufacturing facilities in the US, he would put tariffs of 100-200pc on imported vehicles. To tackle inflation, Trump said he would bring down interest rates, which are controlled by the US Federal Reserve, an agency that historically acts independently from the White House. Trump also said he would bring down prices for energy through a policy of "drill, baby, drill" and cutting regulations. Trump also vowed to pursue tax cuts, tariffs and the "largest deportation in history," all of which independent economists say would add to inflation. The Republican convention unfolded as Biden, who is isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, faces a growing chorus of top Democratic lawmakers pressuring him to drop out of the presidential race. Democrats plan to select their presidential nominee during an early virtual roll-call vote or at the Democratic National Convention on 19-22 August. By Chris Knigh t Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Australian Enterprise gas drives Beach’s Apr-Jun output


19/07/24
News
19/07/24

Australian Enterprise gas drives Beach’s Apr-Jun output

Sydney, 19 July (Argus) — Australian independent Beach Energy produced more gas and liquids during April-June than the previous quarter but ended its 2023-24 fiscal year to 30 June with output down against a year earlier. April-June sales gas production of 20.2PJ (539mn m³) was 10pc higher than the previous quarter's 18.3PJ and up on April-June 2023's 19.6PJ as it commissioned its Enterprise field in Victoria state's Otway basin. Beach's total 2023-24 production of 18.5mn bl of oil equivalent (boe) was 5pc down on the 19.5mn boe achieved in 2022-23, with natural field decline and rainfall resulting in Beach's oil output falling by 11pc from the previous quarter to 7,400 b/d from 8,300 b/d in January-March. The firm shipped a second 79,000t Waitsia cargo from the Woodside-operated 16.9mn t/yr North West Shelf LNG terminal during the quarter, consisting of Xyris gas plant production and third-party surplus gas sourced through swaps. It expects to achieve the first gas at its delayed 250 TJ/d (6.7mn m³/d) Waitsia gas plant in Western Australia's onshore Perth basin in early 2025 ahead of a 3-4 month ramp-up period. The firm has released a wider than usual production guidance for 2024-25 of 17.5mn-21.5mn boe, to account for uncertainty on the timing of Waitsia commissioning and output growth. Beach identified A$135mn ($90.5mn) in field operating cost savings and sustaining capital expenditure reductions as part of its strategic review findings released on 18 June. Beach confirmed it expects to recognise an A$365mn-400mn pre-tax impairment charge in its full-year results following reassessment of its Bass basin assets in Australia and Taranaki basin project in New Zealand. It is targeting new gas supplies of 150 TJ/d over the coming 12-18 months from the Enterprise, Thylacine West and Waitsia fields. By Tom Major Beach Energy results (mn boe) Apr-Jun '24 Jan-Mar '24 Apr-Jun '23 2022-23 2023-24 Production 4.8 4.5 5.0 19.5 18.2 Sales 5.4 4.8 5.7 20.7 21.3 Sales revenue (A$) 433 392 450 1,617 1,766 Realised gas price (A$/GJ) 10.30 9.70 9.50 8.80 9.50 Source: Beach Energy 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


18/07/24
News
18/07/24

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

London, 18 July (Argus) — The UK increased the rate at which it reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions last year, but "urgent action" is needed for the country to meet its targets in 2030 and beyond, independent advisory body Climate Change Committee (CCC) said in its progress report published today. The report assesses 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 report says. The committee tracked progress on 28 key indicators. Of the 22 that have a benchmark or target, only five are assessed as being "on track". The UK's GHG emissions last year stood at 393mn t/CO2 equivalent (CO2e), down on the year by 5.4pc, or 22mn t/CO2e, 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. And last year's reduced emissions resulted primarily from a drop in gas demand, the CCC says. Combined gas demand in 2023 averaged 156mn m³/d, down from nearly 175mn m³/d a year earlier. While progress has been made, the previous administration "signalled a slowing of pace and reversed or delayed key policies", the report says. The reduction in emissions last year is "roughly in line with the annual pace of change needed" to reach the 2030 target, but the average annual rate over the previous seven years is "insufficient", the committee says. 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 until 2030 if the UK is to meet its targets, the CCC says. 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. By comparison, oil and gas use should be "rapidly" reduced and the expansion of the production of fossil fuels should be limited, according to the report. The CCC also recommended that about 10pc of UK homes will need to be heated by a heat pump by 2030, in comparison with about 1pc today. The committee criticised the exemption of 20pc of properties from the 2035 phase-out gas boiler plan, saying it is "unclear" how the exemption would reduce costs as fewer consumers would have to pay to maintain the distribution grid. Gas-fired power generation in recent months has dropped on the back of high wind output and brisk power imports. Power-sector gas burn was 25mn m³/d in March-June, roughly half of the three-year average for the period. But if UK power demand increases with electrification, gas-fired power generation could maintain its role in the country's power mix, particularly if it is combined with carbon capture, use and storage technology, for which fast development and scale-up will need to happen this decade, the CCC says. "Biases" towards the use of natural gas or hydrogen must be removed where electrification is the most economical decarbonisation solution in an industry sector. Power prices need to be reduced "to a level that incentivises industrial electrification". Oil, gas industry to meet climate goals The UK's oil and gas sector "is on track to meet its own climate goals and is not slowing down", offshore industries association OEUK said today in reaction to the CCC's report. The UK needs a plan for reducing oil and gas demand and cutting its reliance on imports, according to OEUK chief executive David Whitehouse. "We should be prioritising our homegrown energy production," he said. The sector reduced its emissions by 24pc in 2022 from 2018, meaning it met its target to reduce emissions by 10pc by 2025 early. The industry halved its flaring and venting and cut methane emissions by 45pc in 2022 compared with 2018, Whitehouse said. OEUK plans to reduce emissions by a quarter by 2027 and by half by 2030 against 2018 levels. And it aims to achieve net zero by 2050. By Georgia Gratton and Jana Cervinkova Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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Australia’s Santos delays FID on Dorado oil field


18/07/24
News
18/07/24

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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