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Oil and Gas Roundup — Sept. 6

September 06, 2016
TOPICS: In the news
A rundown of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

State rig count jumps 4; U.S. count up 8

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in Oklahoma increased by four to 66 last week. The national count was up by eight to 497, the ninth increase in 10 weeks.

Of the other major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas added four rigs to 241, Louisiana lost seven to 35, New Mexico was flat at 30, North Dakota added one to 28, Pennsylvania gained two to 21 and Colorado was off one to 19.

Eighty-eight rigs were exploring for natural gas, up seven; 407 were exploring for oil, up one.

The Canadian rig count was down 9 rigs from last week to 137, with oil rigs down 7 to 77, and gas rigs down 2 to 60.

Broken down by basin, the Permian (202) and the Eagle Ford (38) led in new rigs with three each. The Marcellus gained two to 27.

At Friday's close, West Texas Intermediate was down $3.20 to $44.44 a barrel, despite Friday's $1.28 increase.

Oklahoma unemployment exceeds national rate for first time in 13 years

Gross Receipts to the Treasury continued their downward trajectory for an 18th consecutive month in August as unemployment figures released late in the month show Oklahoma’s jobless numbers exceed the national rate for the first time in 13 years, according to State Treasurer Ken Miller.

Reports released on Tuesday by Miller show gross receipts, which provide a broad view of state economic activity, were down by 4 percent in August compared to the same month of last year. Total collections during the past 12 months were off by more than 7 percent compared to the prior period, according to the reports.

The revenue news comes as the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reports the state’s unemployment rate at 5 percent, one-tenth of one percentage point higher than the national rate of 4.9 percent in July. The last time Oklahoma’s jobless rate topped that of the nation was in August 2003.

Miller, an economist, said he’s on the lookout for indications the contraction is ending.

“We keep scouring through the data to find signs of an impending turnaround, but it’s just not there,” said Miller. “Some aspects of the August report aren’t as negative as in prior months – a few revenue streams have ticked up slightly – but we can’t yet point to a positive trend.”

Read more at News9.

Texas drillers added jobs in July for first gain in 19 months

Rigs aren’t alone in the long trek back to the Texas oil patch.

Drillers across the state added about 100 new jobs in July, the first monthly gain since the Texas energy industry’s employment figures began falling dramatically in January 2015, economist Karr Ingham says.

Texas upstream companies – oil producers, service companies and rig contractors – had shed more than 102,000 jobs since the beginning of last year, piling on losses month after month, but July’s small increase may be a sign things are finally turning around for the state’s energy workforce.

“It’s not spectacular, but it’s a gain rather than a loss,” Ingham said. Ingham has not yet released the Texas Petro Index, a monthly report he prepares for the state’s oil industry. “I believe it’s a recovery in the making, but it’s a slow, frustrating and torturous one because prices aren’t going up as much as most people hoped. But the first thing was the bleeding had to stop, and it looks like we may be at that point.”

Read more at FuelFix.

3 majors bid for JOA with Pemex for ultra-deep Gulf venture

Pemex expected oil majors to line up for a historic chance to help it tap the giant Perdido reserves in ultra-deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. So far sign-ups for an auction have only trickled in.

Days before a Sept. 5 deadline, Chevron Corp, BP Plc and Total SA were the only big oil producers among the five companies that had enrolled to bid for Petroleos Mexicanos’s first production joint venture since ending more than seven decades of state monopoly as of Thursday, according to data from the oil regulator. Exxon Mobil Corp. was added to the list Friday, while Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., which have paid for seismic data, still aren’t among pre-qualified bidders.

Being the state oil company in a country where the industry is still mostly a government affair comes with many benefits, but that’s exactly what may be scaring investors away. The joint operating agreement, or JOA, drafted by the Mexican government may expose Pemex’s partners to excessive environmental risks in a challenging area of the Gulf, while Pemex retains a large role in the decision-making, analysts said. That might explain the tepid demand.

“The JOA is much more conflict-ridden than it is cooperation-prone,” John Padilla, Managing Director of energy consulting firm IPD Latin America, said in a phone interview. Companies have also expressed concerns with the minimum $464 million they’ll have to put in to cover their share in investments Pemex has already made, and that the agreement will be governed by Mexican law, which lacks clarity in regards to joint venture regulation, he said.

Read more at Bloomberg.
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