April 20, 2021
Shale SmartBrief
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Top News
Oil giant BP plans to invest around $1.3 billion to develop a system made of pipelines and other infrastructure that would gather and capture natural gas extracted as a byproduct of oil drilling in the Permian Basin, in an effort to end routine gas flaring from its operations in the field by 2025. An initial $300 million investment in its Grand Slam oil, gas and water handling facility, which entered service in June, already helped BP reduce its flared volume in the Permian from 13% in the second half of 2019 to about 3.5% in the second half of 2020.
Full Story: The Wall Street Journal (4/18) 
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News from the Field
The natural gas production recovery in the Bakken Shale is taking longer than in other oil basins as rig activity remains well below pre-downturn levels. Bakken gas output should average 2 billion cubic feet per day in April and fall to 1.8 Bcf/d over the summer and 1.7 Bcf/d by October, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics.
Full Story: S&P Global (4/16) 
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The record global oil glut that built up during the coronavirus pandemic has largely disappeared, with only 20% of the surplus remaining on the market, according to the International Energy Agency. The oversupply has already been eliminated in the US, where total inventories of crude and products returned to pre-pandemic levels in late February.
Full Story: Yahoo/Bloomberg (4/18) 
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US shale operators' reluctance to boost spending on new drilling should keep oil production growth to a minimum this year, with Energy Information Administration figures showing that output has stalled at around 10.5 million barrels per day and is unlikely to reach 11 million bpd by December. Most public and independent firms plan to focus on maintaining rather than growing output this year, at least until market conditions become more favorable.
Full Story: Argus Media (4/19) 
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Rampant US shale drilling could ignite another price war with OPEC and its allies, according to Pioneer Natural Resources CEO Scott Sheffield, who claimed that the initial oil crash of 2020 was caused by the tussle for market share between OPEC and US shale. "If we grow another million barrels a day next year, we're going to have another price war in my opinion going into '23," Sheffield said.
Full Story: BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (4/14) 
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Electricity blackouts caused by a historic winter storm affected energy production in North Dakota, with oil output slumping 6% to 1.08 million barrels per day and gas production down 5% to 2.7 billion cubic feet per day in February. Producers completed 32 wells in February and 43 in March, a figure that is expected to increase to 40-50 in the second half of 2021.
Full Story: Williston Herald (N.D.) (4/15) 
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Spotlight on Policy
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday repealed 12 policies issued during the Trump administration, including orders to maximize oil and natural gas development on public land and waters and promote an "energy dominance" agenda. "Banning or greatly hindering federal leasing ... would threaten decades of American energy and climate progress and return us to greater reliance on foreign energy with lower environmental standards," said American Petroleum Institute Vice President of Upstream Policy Kevin O'Scannlain.
Full Story: The Associated Press (4/16),  The Hill (4/16) 
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EQT Corp, the largest US natural gas driller, is urging the Biden administration to restore the Obama-era methane emission requirements for oil and gas wells the Trump administration rolled back last year, arguing that the standards would improve transparency. "Frankly, the rollbacks weren't necessary in the first place," said EQT President and CEO Toby Rice, adding, "We already operate a whole lot cleaner and more efficiently than the general public give us credit for."
Full Story: BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (4/15) 
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API Update
API eLearning Training Course | API 570 Piping Inspection Code Course
Based on the 4th edition of API 570, this 10-module eLearning course trains learners on the general knowledge necessary to be an API 570 inspector. This training course is for the purpose of education only and does not result in a certification. This course is designed to provide learners with the knowledge and expertise required for the maintenance, rating, inspection, repair, and alteration of in-service piping as well as educate learners on the API publications, standards, and reference publications with which inspectors must be familiar. To register and to learn about other eLearning courses and webinars, visit API Learning.
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EVENT | 2021 API/AFPM Spring Operating Practices Symposium, May 19-20, Virtual
Join us for the API/AFPM Operating Practices Symposium (OPS), jointly sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). This industry-wide forum is an important opportunity for the exchange of information on safe operating procedures and sharing of "best practices" within refineries and petrochemical plants. Learn more.
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April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go.
Christopher Morley,
writer, editor, journalist
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