Hilcorp clears hurdles; Oil enters bear market

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Hilcorp clears some regulatory hurdles to conduct a seismic survey in lower Cook Inlet
Renee Gross, KBBI, August 6, 2019

The Texas energy company had originally hoped to conduct the roughly 45-to-60 day survey earlier this year. However, due to concerns about the effect of the survey during the fishing season as well as permitting delays, its plans were pushed back.
Hilcorp still needs a permit from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. But on Tuesday, the regulator released an environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact. The bureau said the seismic survey, roughly 370 square miles, would have negligible effects on marine life and birds.
In a related development, NOAA announced provisions last week allowing Hilcorp’s proposed oil and gas activities across Cook Inlet. The authorization says its aim is to minimize harm to marine mammals over the next five years.

Our take: Kudos to Hilcorp for listening to public feedback and delaying their survey. Naturally, even when the appropriate regulatory steps are taken, someone will make a fuss. Cook Inletkeeper is concerned that, “‘Those monitoring activities don’t do anything for plankton and fish[.]’” Last we checked, fish and plankton were ‘marine life’, and BOEM says they won’t be impacted.

Oil slumps 5% to seven-month low on trade tensions, surprise U.S. stock build
Collin Eaton, Reuters, August 6, 2019

After seven weeks of consecutive crude drawdowns, “there was a thought that today’s report would turn oil’s fortunes around,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York. “That support got taken out of the market.”
Brent has plunged more than 12% after U.S. President Donald Trump said last week that he would slap a 10% tariff on a further $300 billion in Chinese imports from Sept. 1, sending global equity markets into a tailspin.

Our take: Shocker– oil prices go up, oil prices go down. The lesson here is to maintain policies that make investment attractive at a range of oil prices.

Related: Global Oil Prices Slide Into Bear Market


The Great American Oil And Natural Gas Pipeline Boom
Jude Clemente, Forbes, August 6, 2019

These build-outs are essential.
The U.S. Department of Energy reports that the majority of new power plants in this country will be natural gas, a hefty 235,000 MW of additional gas capacity in the coming decades.
It could actually be even higher given how low gas prices are.
Lowering the ability of other power sources to compete, some expect U.S. gas prices to not clear the $3 range until 2026 at the earliest
Gas pipelines are good for the environment too: BNEF reports that more natural gas “has done more to curb U.S. carbon emissions in the past decade than any other single factor, including new renewable build.”

Our take: More pipelines results in curbed emissions, safer transport, and increased access to a reliable energy source? Yes, please.