A Gulf of Mexico lease auction held Wednesday attracted $178 million worth of winning bids, up from the last sale's $125 million, signaling that confidence in the offshore sector has not completely faded. Some companies, including ExxonMobil and Equinor, bid on more remote acreage.
US crude inventories climbed by 6.8 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration, despite analyst expectations for a 2.4-million-barrel decline. Gasoline supplies slumped by 740,000 barrels, while distillate reserves gained 3.6 million barrels.
US District Judge Ed Kinkeade of Dallas ruled that a securities lawsuit accusing ExxonMobil and several executives, including former CEO and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, of deceiving investors and the public about the impact of climate change on the oil giant's business can move forward.
US refinery crude runs rose to an all-time high of 17.98 million barrels per day last week, while refinery utilization rates jumped to 98.1%, the highest since January 1999, according to the Energy Information Administration. US Gulf Coast refineries also broke records, processing 9.65 million barrels per day last week, up from a previous high of 9.47 million barrels per day.
The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose a replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in the near future. A review of part of the unpublished draft suggests the new rules would allow states to write their own, less-stringent climate regulations for power plants.
Total is using data management and artificial intelligence technology to turn a profit on oil and gas discoveries in the North Sea. "We believe that if we can speed up the adoption of AI in the field of geosciences, we can build new systems, new tools that can make us even more efficient," says Total executive Martin Rune Pedersen.
The falling prices of drones will make them more accessible to the energy industry, which can use them to lower costs while ensuring worker safety. Drones can also help with activities such as pipeline monitoring and tanker inspection.
Major offshore natural gas discoveries in the Mediterranean Sea will help Egypt reverse a production decline and counteract import demand, the government says. The country has pushed for the quick development of various fields, including Zohr, potentially the Mediterranean's biggest natural gas field.
Over the next few months, steady growth in US shale production will likely help counteract global production outages, according to energy analysts. With the US shale patch "in better financial shape than ever," says Stephen Brennock, an oil analyst at PVM Oil Associates, "the only way is up."
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