PETROL & ENERGY 25.05.2014


Oil speculators missed out as record demand from U.S. refineries helped trim supplies from their highest level in more than eight decades and drive prices higher.

Hedge funds and other money managers reduced their net-long position in West Texas Intermediate crude by 7.1 percent in the seven days ended May 19, the most in two months, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Short positions anticipating lower prices expanded by 30 percent.

Crude snapped a five-day decline the following day after U.S. production fell to a three-month low and inventories slipped to the least since March. Demand from refineries is the strongest for this time of year on record as they prepare for the nation’s peak driving season.

“There are increasing signs that U.S. production has topped out,” Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago, said by phone May 22. “Refiners are using a lot of oil.”

WTI futures fell $3.49 to $57.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in the period covered by the CFTC report as the dollar strengthened. The contract added 2 cents to $59.74 in electronic trading at 1:19 p.m. Singapore time Monday. Prices have risen 37 percent from the six-year low reached March 17.

U.S. crude-oil production dropped 1.2 percent in the week ended May 15 to 9.26 million barrels a day, the lowest level since Feb. 6, according to the Energy Information Administration. 

 

Africa

Algeria: Algeria's state energy firm Sonatrach has named Amine Mazouzi as its new chief executive to replace interim chief Said Sahnoun, who had been appointed less than a year ago, according to two industry sources on Sunday. An official ceremony to appoint Mazouzi is expected later on Sunday, the two industry sources said. Mazouzi, a younger generation manager in Sonatrach's engineering and development production department, will take over the huge state operation as the North African country seeks to draw more foreign oil investment and offset the fall in world crude prices.

Angola: Angola and Ecuador will share experiences in the domain of oil production, as well as in the scientific, agricultural and cultural areas, informed last Wednesday in Luanda the secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Ângela Bragança. The government official was speaking to the press after witnessing the audience that the Angolan President, José Eduardo dos Santos, granted to the Ecuadorian minister of Foreign Affairs, Ricardo Armando Patinõ Aroca, who handed a message from the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. Ângela Bragança explained that Angola and Ecuador will exchange delegations mainly to draft the guidelines for this bilateral co-operation.

Egypt: Royal Dutch Shell and American Apache will start shale gas production from the Apollonia field in the Western Desert in February 2016. The second well will be linked to the national network of gases by the second half of the same year. The Khalda Petroleum Co is carrying out the operations on behalf of the two companies. It will start drilling two experimental wells, data and pilot wells, in the Apollonia field. Core samples and logging will be taken to study and evaluate the field, said Tarek El Molla, Chairman of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), in an interview with Daily News Egypt. In December, the EGPC chairman signed an agreement with Apache and Shell Egypt with an investment value that ranges between $30m and $40m to produce shale gas. Drilling operations will start at the first well by the end of this month, while the second one will be drilled directly after finishing the first well in June after studying and evaluating the core samples and well logs. 

Egypt: Egypt is set to launch what will be a highly sought after tender in early June to buy up to $3 billion (Dh11 billion) of liquefied natural gas (LNG) over 2016 and 2017, senior state officials and trade sources said. Egypt has emerged as a major new market for LNG as it looks to ease its worst energy crunch in decades. Falling output and rising demand have transformed it from an oil and gas exporter to net importer. This year it secured $2.2 billion worth of LNG largely from European traders in its first-ever tender to supply a newly installed import terminal moored on its Red Sea coast. A new tender to purchase additional cargoes will go towards supplying Egypt’s second planned floating import terminal, known as a Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU). Work on securing that terminal is ongoing and any delays could alter the tender launch date. The Chairman of The Egyptian Gas Holding Company, or EGAS, Khaled Abdel Badie told Reuters that it will close the bidding for the new FSRU by the end of this month. 

Ghana: The IFC is considering approval of a $300 million debt financing package for Vitol Upstream Ghana, the West African subsidiary of Swiss multinational energy and commodity trading company, Vitol Group. The financing would support Vitol Ghana’s share of the total project cost of a planned joint venture with Eni Ghana Exploration and Production (Eni) and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to develop the Offshore Cape Three Points deep water project located almost 60 kms off the West Ghanaian coast. The deep water block, which contains the Sankofa East oilfield and the Sankofa and Gye Nyame Gas fields, is estimated to hold 132 million barrels of oil and 1,079 billion cubic feet of gas. The project will develop these assets, with the Sankofa East oilfield projected to start producing oil in 2017 and the Sankofa and Gye Nyame gas fields projected to start producing gas in 2018. The total estimated cost of the project is $7.3 billion. Vitol Ghana, whose parent company Vitol Group has recently been increasing its participation interests in physical assets such as storage facilities, shipping, refineries and upstream oil and gas assets, will hold a 35.6% interest in the project. The aggregate debt financing package required by Vitol Ghana’s share of the project is estimated to be up to $1.2 billion. 


Libya: Warplanes from Libya's official government attacked an oil tanker docked outside the city of Sirte on Sunday, wounding three people and setting the ship on fire, officials said. It was the third confirmed strike by the internationally recognised government on oil tankers, part of a conflict between competing administrations and parliaments allied to armed factions fighting for control of the country four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi. The recognised premier Abdullah al-Thinni has been working out of the east since losing the capital Tripoli in August last year to a rival faction. Both sides have been attacking each other with warplanes and thanks to loose alliances with former anti-Gaddafi rebels have also been fighting on several fronts on the land. 

Mozambique: The Philippines government and Mozambique are looking to increase cooperation between the two countries. The Philippines expressed interest in collaborating with Mozambican business delegations in order to improve cooperation at industrial and trade and the hydrocarbon sector. The interest in expanded cooperation was expressed by the Mozambican Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Nyeleti Mondlane, after a meeting with her visiting Philippines counterpart, Jesus Yabe. “The Philippines offered to make exchanges of trade delegations, to establish the foundations to cooperate at industrial and trade, agriculture and the hydrocarbon sector,” Mondlane said at a press briefing. She added “we’ve been talking about issues that concern our diplomatic cooperation and our goal is to create common platforms in order to interact.” In turn, Yabe said he expect that relations between the two countries continue to grow, especially at this time. “We are also interested in cooperating for agriculture, education, economy,” he said. 


Namibia: Following concern expressed by the mining industry regarding the security of an uninterrupted supply of power, the Minister of Mines and Energy, Obeth Kandjoze, this week said government has reduced both technical and financial risks to spur on the realization of the much anticipated Kudu gas-to-power project. The industry, through the Chamber of Mines of Namibia (CMN), also expressed anxiety about the rising cost of electricity. In the national budget, which was tabled about two months ago, Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein, also allocated close to N$5 billion for the project during the Medium Term Expenditure Framework. The 884MW kudu power plant will be located in the area of Oranjemund and is expected to be commissioned in 2019. Meanwhile, during the short-term supply (2016 – 2019), and in accordance with the NIRP to ensure a reliable supply of electricity, the mines and energy ministry and relevant stakeholders are exploring viable supply options to meet increasing demand and to replace any import contracts that are unable to be renewed. “The short-term solution is to cover the period until Kudu power is commissioned in 2019. It is expected that Kudu power, which represents the least cost of supply for Namibia, will replace the high electricity costs from imports and short-term supply,” explained Kandjoze. 


Namibia: The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, a loan of US $70.5 million to finance the Tanzania Power Sector Reform and Governance Support Programme (PSRGSP). The objective of the operation is to promote inclusive growth and enhanced economic competitiveness through power sector, economic and financial governance reforms. The loan agreement will be signed next week, on the margins of the Bank's Annual Meetings in Abidjan. By providing financial resources to the national budget for fiscal year 2014/15, the loan will support the implementation of the government's reform agenda. This operation is part of a US $140 million loan in a three-year programmatic series (for 2014/15-2016/17). Subsequent operations of US $35 million will be prepared each for 2015/16 and 2016/17 fiscal years. By supporting Tanzania Government's reform agenda in the energy sector, the PSRGSP will boost efforts to implement energy sector and related PFM reforms. 


Nigeria: As motorists and commuters continue to groan over the shortage of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol in the country, there appears to be no end in sight as petroleum products marketers have demanded to be paid N159 billion for exchange rate differential (the difference in the exchange rate at which they obtained loans from the bank and what they paid for products), an amount considered outrageous by the federal government. Minister of finance and coordinating minister for the minister Dr Okonjo-Iweala who revealed this, also said that the country's current debt stock of $63 billion was not borrowed during President Goodluck Jonathan's five year tenure, but an accumulation of over 40 years. Noting that the federal government has prioritised payment for subsidy and since December 2014, a total of N500 billion has been paid to them despite the tough financial conditions, the minister said the marketers were holding Nigerians to ransom because they knew that everyone would blame the government. 


Nigeria: Nigerian youths shut down crude oil production at two flow stations of the OML 29 (oil mining licence) oil block near Nembe in Bayelsa state at around 10 a.m. (0900 GMT) on Friday. The protesters, who oppose the sale of the block, arrived in about 30 speedboats and climbed the fence at one facility with no resistance and dodged security at the other. It was not yet clear how much production was shut in. Royal Dutch Shell Plc sold its stake in OML 29 and the accompanying Nembe Creek trunkline in late March to Aiteo Eastern E&P Co for about $1.7 billion. French oil major Total SA and Italy's Eni SpA also agreed to sell their minority stakes in both assets, giving Aiteo a 45 percent stake. A spokesman for Shell said he could not immediately comment and Aiteo could not immediately be reached. A Reuters reporter saw protesters holding up placards reading "Sale of our wealth by Shell is theft against mankind", "We are angry" and "Nembe people reject sale of oil field". 
 

Middle East

Iran: Iran will abolish a motorists' allowance for heavily subsidised fuel and set a price, the deputy oil minister said on Sunday, as the government moves cautiously to cut back costly handouts. "We have decided that petrol will be sold at a single rate of 1,000 tomans ($0.35) per litre," Abbas Kazemi was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency, using a common measure of currency equal to 10 rials. President Hassan Rouhani, elected in 2013 on a platform of better economic management, has championed efforts to rationalise pricing and pushed through a modest increase in fuel prices last year. The government is trying to curb subsidies that have led to profligate energy consumption and put a strain on public finances, already squeezed by international sanctions and last year's drop in oil prices. An Oil Ministry advisor on Saturday suggested that fuel subsidies could be lifted altogether, but the government appears to have decided to proceed more cautiously, as the new flat rate is still below market prices. Iranians have grown accustomed to heavy subsidies, particularly in the energy sector, and there was widespread rioting in 2007 when an allowance was first introduced to limit motorists' access to the cheapest-priced fuel. 



Iran / Iraq: Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Company Hamid Reza Eraqi said Iran is to start gas exports to Iraq in a month.Talking to IRNA, he said that the exports are overdue about one month because of final tests on the pipelines. He also said that talks are underway with Iraqi officials to determine ways of receiving the money for the exported gas. He noted that neither side was ready to start the gas project earlier due to technical issues. The official stressed that the delayed export of gas to Iraq has nothing to do with the political developments in the country. He explained that because of the sanctions, Iran is sensitive to the ways of receiving the money for its gas from Iraq. Earlier, the deputy oil minister had told reporters that 'export of Iran's gas to Iraq will happen by transferring 5-7 million cubic meters per day.' 


Iran: Today, ExxonMobil issued a statement regarding Iran lobbying. 'Media reports that ExxonMobil is lobbying the U.S. government on Iran sanctions are inaccurate.' 'ExxonMobil is not lobbying on Iran sanctions,' said Ken Cohen, vice president of Public and Government Affairs.' 'Erroneous media reports resulted from errors in a consultant's lobbying disclosures. Current U.S. law prohibits American companies from operating in Iran.'



Iraq: Baghdad wants Iranian companies to drill for oil and gas in Iraq. A high-ranking Iraqi delegation led by director general of the state-run Iraq Drilling Co. Idriss Mohsin al-Yasiri met with CEO of Iran’s North Drilling Company Hedayatollah Khademi in Tehran to discuss the issue, Mehr News Agency reported Friday. The two countries in recent years have increased cooperation in the field of energy. Iran and Iraq have signed a gas deal under which Tehran will supply 4 mcm/d of gas to its neighbour via pipeline and with a potential to bring it to 35 mcm/d. The supply of gas was supposed to begin by end of May but with security situation in Iraq still fragile, that seems unlikely. Iran is shortly expected to sign second gas supply deal with Iraq, according to National Iranian Gas Exports Company’s Managing Director Alireza Kameli. In an interview given to Shana Newsearlier this year, Kameli said Tehran will sign an agreement to supply gas to Iraqi city of Basra in the next Iranian calendar year. 




Kuwait: The Committee for Government Subsidy has issued a decision to increase the price of diesel and kerosene to KD 0.120 per liter instead of the current KD 0.110. The new price is due to take effect on June 1, 2015, reports Al-Rai daily. It is the first time the committee headed by the Undersecretary of Finance Khalifa Hamada has come to a decision to increase the price of diesel and kerosene since the Government settled on cutting down subsidies on both products.In early February, the Government increased the price of diesel and kerosene from KD 0.055 to KD 0.170 per liter, and in the following month it was reduced to KD 0.110 at the start of implementation of the monthly price review system, wherein it needed to endorse either the international market price or KD 0.170 in terms of low-cost. Last month, the committee decided to maintain the price of both products at KD 0.110, which was against the recommendation of Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) to increase the price to KD 0.120 in line with the international market price, but the current raise is based on the noticeable price improvement of crude oil. 


Oman: The Oman crude oil, July delivery, was yesterday trading at $62.55 per barrel, up $0.13 from Wednesday's $62.42, according to Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME). The average price of Oman oil June delivery was $58.68 per barrel, $3.59 higher than May delivery. 


Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia's rapid transition into one of the world's largest oil refiners adds an extra dimension to the oil exporter's role as the driver of OPEC policy. When it attends OPEC's next meeting in two weeks, it does so with major new state-of-the-art oil refineries that can profit from cheaper crude and reviving world fuel demand - exactly as international oil firms have over the past six months. The kingdom now has stakes in more than 5 million barrels per day (bpd) of refining capacity, at home and abroad, landing it a place among the global leaders in making oil products. Its own target of 8-10 million bpd of refining firepower would eclipse even ExxonMobil. Its oil trading arm, Aramco Trading, could soon find at least two thirds of its trading focused on products such as diesel, gasoline and heating oil rather than crude, Fesharaki said. Years of investment was designed to fuel the transport, air conditioning and power generation for the kingdom's economic growth. But as OPEC members fight for market share, Aramco's refineries also give it a natural outlet for its 10 million bpd of crude production. 



Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia expanded its share of China’s oil market last month, outpacing rival producers as they compete to meet record demand from the world’s biggest energy consumer. China’s imports from the Middle East producer jumped 37 percent from a year earlier to the highest level since July 2013, according to customs data. The world’s biggest crude exporter was the No. 1 supplier to the Asian nation, accounting for 17.4 percent of its overseas purchases, up from 15.1 percent in March. The next three largest sellers -- Russia, Iran and Angola -- lost market share. Record imports by China are contributing to a recovery in benchmark oil from a six-year low amid speculation the purchases will help shrink the global supply glut that drove crude’s collapse in 2014. Saudi Arabia has led OPEC’s policy of maintaining production to defend its market share and force U.S. shale drillers to curb the highest American output in more than three decades.


 

Rest of the World

Australia: AWE Limited (ASX: AWE), the Operator of Permits L1/L2 in the Perth Basin, Western Australia, advises that as at 06:00 hours (6.00am) AWST today the Waitsia-1 appraisal well was at a Measured Depth below Rotary Table (MDRT) of 2,337m and drilling ahead in a 12 ¼ inch hole to the next planned section depth of 2,480m, following the successful installation of 13 3/8 inch surface casing at 851m. The Waitsia-1 well was spudded on 14 May 2015 and is forecast to take approximately six weeks in total to complete. The well will be drilled vertically to a planned total depth of 4,050m MDRT and is designed to further test the gas potential of the Waitsia Field, comprising primary targets in the deep conventional formations in the Kingia and High Cliff Sandstones. The well will be logged and core samples will be collected and sent for analysis. Secondary targets in the shallower Dongara and Wagina tight sandstone formations, the Carynginia Shale and Irwin River Coal Measures will be intersected prior to reaching the primary targets. 


Australia: Buru Energy has spudded Olympic-1 well in EP473 of the Canning Basin, located south-east of Broome in Western Australia. The primary objective of the well is conventional oil reservoirs in the Willara Formation, with secondary objectives in the underlying Nambeet Formation. The well is planned to be drilled to a total depth of 1,450m by DDH1 Rig 31 in approximately 30 days. 

Bangladesh: State owned Petrobangla and Indian consultancy Mining Associates Private Ltd (MAPL) are expected to work together to assess coal bed methane exploration potential in Bangladesh, reported local newspaper Daily Observer Saturday. "Initially we will use the technology in Jamalganj coal mine and an agreement is likely to be signed next month with Indian MAPL", Petrobangla Director (operation and mining) Jamil A. Alim told the Daily Observer.  The proposal has already go clearance from the purchase committee of the power energy and mineral resources ministry (PEMRM). A draft was signed in February this year. As per the draft, MAPL will drill three wells, set a sample testing lab and arrange training for the officials.



China: Gansu province in northwest China recently approved a special plan on exploration and assessment of shale gas resources, Xinhua Finance reported last week citing a news item in Gansu Daily. According to Gansu Daily an overall implementation plan in this regard has also been drawn. Geological survey would be carried out in Longdong basin, Wuwei basin, Dunhuang basin and Chaoshui basin in 2015-2017. Geological survey in Huahai-Jiuquan, basin, Minhe basin, Suganhu basin, Dingxi basin and Longxi basin would be executed in 2018-2020. Gansu has 2.67 trillion cubic meters of shale gas resources and 290 billion cubic meters of potential recoverable shale gas resources, Xinhua Finance reported citing Ministry of Land and Resources data. 



China: China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) plans to issue new oil and gas exploration licences to five domestic companies, said a news item in Securities Daily, reported Xinhua Finance. The five companies are Sinochem Oil, CITIC Resources Holdings Limited, Zhuhai Zhen Rong Company, China Zhenhua Oil Co. and Guanghui Energy Co. Currently Chinese government only allows China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Sinopec Group, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum Group to carry out oil and gas exploration in the country. The government would work out a preliminary plan on reform in oil and gas sector in June or July in a bid to solicit suggestions, Xinhua Finance reported adding that final reform plan should be released by the end of 2015. According to Xinhua Finance, China plans to study and unveil reform plan in oil and natural gas sector in 2015 amid efforts to deepen national economic reforms. 



Indonesia: Petronas has achieved first oil from the Bukit Tua field in Ketapang Block, located approximately 110 km offshore East Java, Indonesia. The field is expected to produce 3.7 Mbbl/d and 2 MMcf/d of gas in its initial production stage. Upon ramping up the field, the production will increase gradually before reaching its peak production capacity of 20 Mbbl/d of oil and 50 MMcf/d of gas. The gas produced from the field will be transported through a pipeline to the ORF in Gresik, East Java, while the oil will be offloaded to carriers for export. Ownership of Ketapang Block: Petronas (80%, operator) and Perusahaan Gas Negara (20%). 



Mexico: The relatively small size of opportunities offered in the next phase of Mexico’s Round One means that smaller, equity-backed private exploration and production firms or Colombian and Canadian junior firms will likely be the main bidders, Research Director of Latin America Upstream Oil and Gas Ivan Cima, told Rigzone. Mexico’s Comission Nacional de Hydrocarburos estimates that overall production from the fields could be 35,000 barrels per day of oil, and production level that will not interest major oil companies, said Cima. Geopark, Gran Tiera and Pacific Rubiales are some of the companies that will likely participate in bidding. Twenty-six onshore conventional fields in the Burgos, Tampico-Misantla and Salinas-Sureste basins are being offered in the next phase of Round One. Unlike the previous two rounds, this round will use a license contract with bidding variables, including additional royalty and work commitment. The regime has the potential to be very attractive, although it will ultimately depend on the minimum acceptable bid level that will be announced at a future date, Wood Mackenzie said in a May 19 press statement. 


New Zealand: Cue Energy says the Maari MR7A development well is onstream offshore New Zealand, at an initial production rate of 1,500-2,000 b/d of oil. The optimal rate will be determined after several weeks of production history, based on reservoir management considerations. Total output from the OMV-operated Maari field is now around 15,000 b/d. MR7A is producing from the Moki formation reservoir unit. It was drilled horizontally from the Maari wellhead platform to a TD of 4,220 m (13,845 ft), of which 920 m (3,018 m) was completed in good-quality reservoir section, according to log data. Cue says significant undeveloped reserves remain at Maari and Manaia and the additional development will enable extraction of these reserves. The Ensco 107 is now drilling the MR10 well as an additional infill producer, later to be converted to a flank water injector to support continued production from the Moki formation. 


Norway: The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has granted Statoil Petroleum AS a drilling permit for well 6706/11-2, cf. Section 8 of the Resource Management Regulations. Well 6706/11-2 will be drilled from the Transocean Spitsbergen drilling facility in position 67°03’56.97”north and 06°32’57.45”east after completing the drilling of wildcat wells 6407/8-7 and 6407/8-7 A for Statoil in production licence 348 C. The drilling program for well 6706/11-2 relates to the drilling of wildcat wells in production licence 602. Statoil Petroleum AS is the operator with an ownership interest of 30 per cent. The other licensees are Centrica Resources AS (20 per cent), Petoro AS (20 per cent), Rocksources Exploration Norway AS (10 per cent), Wintershall Norge AS (10 per cent) and Atlantic Petroleum Norge (10 per cent). The area in this licence consists of part of block 6706/10, block 6706/11 and part of block 6706/12. The well will be drilled about 22 kilometres west of Aasta Hansteen (the Haklang field). 



Norway: Statoil Petroleum AS, operator of production licence 348 C, is in the process of completing the drilling of wildcat wells 6407/8-7 and 6407/8-7 A. Both wells have been drilled about four kilometres north of the Hyme field in the southern part of the Norwegian Sea and 140 kilometres north of Kristiansund. The primary exploration target in well 6407/8-7 was to prove petroleum in Middle Jurassic reservoir rocks (the Ile formation). The secondary exploration target was to prove petroleum in Lower Jurassic reservoir rocks (the Tilje and Åre formations). The well encountered about 95 metres of the Ile formation, of which 70 metres were sandstone with good reservoir properties. The Tilje and Åre formations were also encountered, in thicknesses of 200 and 170 metres respectively, of which 160 and 75 metres respectively are sandstone with good reservoir quality. The well is dry. The purpose of well 6407/8-7 A was to prove petroleum in Middle Jurassic reservoir rocks (the Tilje formation) higher up in the structure. 


Russia: OMK, one of Russia's largest producers of metal pipes, has abandoned the construction of a 50 billion rouble ($999 million) complex to manufacture seamless pipes for the oil and gas industry because of the economic crisis. Russia's economy is expected to contract 2.5 percent this year as it battles to recover from a collapse in global oil prices and Western sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine. OMK said high interest rates, difficulties with financing and a reduced demand for its products because of the lower oil price all contributed to its decision to stop construction. Russian pipemakers invested approximately 30 billion roubles in the tube production industry between 2013 and 2014, according to Russia's Foundation for the Development of the Tube Industry. But projects have been scaled back as the economy flagged. Cancelling the project will reduce OMK's 2015 investment plan to 5.6 billion roubles ($111.98 million), compared to 16-17 billion between 2012 and 2013, a company spokesman told Reuters. 



Russia: PetroNeft Resources announced that Sibkrayevskoye-373 appraisal well in License 61, located on Tomsk Oblast, Russia has been successfully drilled and tested. The well flowed 100 bbl/d, and the log and core data over the primary J1 reservoir interval confirmed 11.5m net oil pay. The reservoir interval is completely saturated with oil to its base and is located about 19m structurally higher than the equivalent oil saturated interval in the S-372 well. Ownership of License 61: PetroNeft Resources plc (50%, operator) and Oil India (50%). 


USA: Millions of barrels of untapped oil that U.S. shale drillers discovered during the boom years are about to disappear from their inventories. Six years ago, the industry pushed the Securities and Exchange Commission to make it easier for companies to claim proved reserves for wells that wouldn’t be drilled for years. Some prospects considered sure-things when crude was $95 a barrel are money losers at today’s $60. When crude crashed in 2008, 44 U.S. companies wiped 630 million barrels from their books. Now the stakes are higher. Of all the proved reserves of oil and natural gas liquids found by the 44 companies since 2008, more than half -- 5.4 billion barrels out of the 9.7 billion -- is attributed to wells that don’t exist yet, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The shale boom has pushed U.S. oil production to the highest in more than 40 years and slashed the country’s reliance on imported fuel. The untapped resources are viewed by investors and lenders as a sign of a company’s growth potential, and helped the industry attract more than $230 billion in bonds, loans and share sales since the end of 2008. 


USA: A platform gathering oil in the Gulf of Mexico shut in about 2,200 barrels a day of output after a compressor caught fire. The Texas Petroleum Investment Co. platform in Breton Sound Block 21, near the southeastern Louisiana coast, evacuated 28 workers without injury after the compressor fire, according to a U.S. Coast Guard statement. A Coast Guard boat crew was fighting the blaze, and a 1.4-mile rainbow sheen was “drifting southwest of the platform.” The platform gathers crude from about 50 to 60 wells and sends it to shore by pipeline, David Marguiles, a spokesman for the Houston-based company, said by e-mail. There were about 100 barrels of crude in storage on the platform at the time of the fire. The fire occurred in Louisiana waters, Eileen Angelico, spokeswoman for U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said by e-mail. The Coast Guard and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources responded to the incident, she said. Louisiana’s offshore crude production averaged about 14,000 barrels a day in March, according to state data. Total Gulf production in federal waters, which are more than three miles from the coast, was 1.46 million barrels a day in February, according to the Energy Information Administration. 


USA: Vanguard Natural Resources LLC has agreed to merge into Eagle Rock Energy Partners LP for a total consideration of $474 million in Vanguard common units and assumption of Eagle Rock’s net debt of $140 million. The transaction is a unit-for-unit exchange of 0.185 Vanguard common units per Eagle Rock common unit. The consideration to be received by Eagle Rock's unitholders is valued at $3.05 per Eagle Rock common unit, representing a 24% premium to Eagle Rock's closing price on 21-May-2015. Transaction Highlights: Q1-2015 production of approximately 79.7 MMcfe/d, increasing Vanguard's Q1-2015 production by 20%; Balanced reserves mix of 53% natural gas, 21% oil, and 26% natural gas liquids; Proved R/P of approximately 12 years; Eagle Rock's oil and gas production is approximately 80% and 70% hedged in 2015 and 2016 respectively, with additional hedges in place through 2019; Proved reserves at 31-Dec-2014 of approximately 318 Bcfe, increases Vanguard's estimated proved reserves by 16%; Adds approximately 1,778 producing wells and approximately 202,632 net acres. The transaction is expected to close in Q3-2015. 

 
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