there's some life in the oil industry after-all

but not exactly the kind it needs

Hondo Lane | October 05, 2020

Petrolytics - Despite a tepid week in the oil and gas markets, there does appear to be some life in industry with regard to energy policy. More specifically, the Trump administration has extended the offshore energy moratorium.

NPR reports:

"This week, President Trump expanded a ban on exploratory drilling off the coasts of North Carolina and Virginia, his latest extension of an existing offshore drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico."

Furthermore, the memorandum

"Prevents consideration of this area for any leasing for purposes of exploration, development, or production during the 10-year period beginning on July 1, 2022, and ending on June 30, 2032."

This is in addition to the extension of the existing moratorium in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The American Petroleum Institute issued a statement condemning the move, stating a number of studies that point to significant economic benefits should development be sanctioned.

Is this just more of the same NIMBY-driven policy to which we're so accustomed? Lest we forget Kennedy's double-speak with regard to offshore wind in Cape Cod.

Oil & Gas Weekly Stats

  • WTI open: $37.00/bbl
  • Brent open: $39.19/bbl
  • Natural gas open: $2.46/Mmbtu
  • Crude oil refining +300 kbopd to 13.7 mmbopd (week of Sept 25)
  • US crude oil imports -45 kbopd to 5.1 mmbopd (week of Sept 25)
  • US commercial crude inventories -2.0 mmbbl to 492.4 mmbbl (week of Sept 25)
  • US active oil rigs +6 to 189
  • US active gas rigs -1 to 74
  • Int'l active rigs at 702 (Canada at 75)
  • US active frac spreads +10 to 111
  • Hurricane Laura shut in more Gulf of Mexico crude oil production than any storm since 2008
  • API statement on extension of Gulf of Mexico moratorium

Renewables Weekly Stats

  • Cobalt: $15.39/lb
  • Copper: $2.98/lb
  • Lithium carbonate: $3.06/lb
  • Nickel: $6.47/lb
  • Solar photovoltaic module: $0.21/peak watt
  • Uranium: $31.65/lb
  • Trump issues executive order to encourage rare earth mining
  • Vale in talks with Tesla, EV sector for Canada nickel
  • Poland goes nuclear with plan to build six reactors by 2040

Other thoughts

We thought we'd wrap up this week by sharing an interesting article regarding the US Department of Energy's risky energy tech investments.

In 2009, the department started funding research through the APRA-E program. The goals were to take on high-risk efforts to kickstart renewable technologies and to entice private investors with mature projects.

The article goes on to document the research conducted by Goldstein, Doblinger, Baker, and Anadón - Patenting and business outcomes for cleantech startups funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

In summary, the researchers write:

We find that ARPA-E awardees have a strong innovation advantage over all the comparison groups. However, while we find that ARPA-E awardees performed better than rejected applicants in terms of post-award business success, we do not detect significant differences compared to other cleantech startups. These findings suggest that ARPA-E was not able to fully address the ‘valley of death’ for cleantech startups within 10–15 yr after founding. (Goldstein, A., Doblinger, C., Baker, E. et al. Patenting and business outcomes for cleantech startups funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. Nat Energy (2020).

It's an interesting read. Curious of ideas our readers might have when it comes to maximizing the impact of such a federal program. It appears as though, while the efforts appear positive, there's much to be desired.

Hope everyone enjoys their week. Follow us on Twitter for daily insights. We'll be back next week with another concise, but comprehensive weekly update.