To buy or not to buy: M&A in the E&P sector — Energy Economist

In this month’s highlight of material from Platts Energy Economist, managing editor Ross McCracken delves into the best places to sink capital in a time of low oil prices and whether recent investments have truly trickled through the industry yet.

It is not hard to find proponents of the view that the current clampdown on capital expenditure by oil and gas companies will cause a shortage of oil in the future. Weak investment now causes low production in years to come. At the same time, low prices prompt greater demand. As soon as these two processes become entrenched, oil traders will look ahead to the impending shortage and prices will rise. Boom time returns.

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US Quadrennial Energy Report shows the will – but not the way – to modernizing the SPR

Ever since US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz acknowledged at a Platts forum in December 2013 that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve merited a “re-look” at how it is structured, given the boom in US production and the resulting declines in imports and changes in crude flows, US officials have said they were studying the issue and would soon make recommendations on what to do about the 1970s era storage facilities.

So, last week’s much anticipated release of the Department of Energy’s Quadrennial Energy Review must have been a disappointment, then, for people who closely follow the SPR, as the report, which included a whole chapter devoted to the reserve, merely recommended … additional study.

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The alphabet soup of oil patch recovery

The oil industry has always had buzz words and unique verbal shorthand. Remember the “Year of the MLP” (2007) and “Drill, Baby, Drill” (2008)?

During the last down cycle in 2008-2009, oil executives debated whether the recovery – when it came – would be “V”-shaped or “U”-shaped. That is, a relatively rapid bottoming of oil prices in the former instance, followed by a fairly quick rebound – or, alternatively, a steep falloff of oil prices, a plateau as the market got its bearings and settled out, and then a fairly rapid climb back up the price ladder.

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Hope springs anew in US steel industry as prices bounce back

It was a rough winter in the US this year, even more so for the domestic steel industry, which saw prices on its bellwether product, hot-rolled coil (HRC), decrease by about $200 a short ton, or roughly 30%.

Arriving in tandem with belated spring weather, long-awaited HRC price increases were announced this week, providing hope for a turnaround in the collapsed market.

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Abu Dhabi’s onshore concession award to Inpex of no great surprise to oil observers

It wasn’t the first time, and it will not be the last. Abu Dhabi struck a deal on April 27 with Japan’s Inpex, awarding a 5% stake in its giant Adco onshore oil concession for the next 40 years from January 1, 2015.

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Agriculture demand sows discord in US diesel markets

We all notice how natural disasters impact commodity values, whether it’s a hurricane immediately raising gasoline prices at the pump, or  snow storms leading to an uptick in demand for heating oil.

Take the Midwest for example. Wet weather has delayed spring planting, resulting in a build of diesel stocks in the Midwest, feeble agricultural demand, and really low prices.

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The significance of the physical and the benefits of oil barrels: Petrodollars

Ned Molloy explains the benefits of having ownership of physical barrels — and how companies that do so are still competing in trading with those armed only with information — in this week’s Oilgram News column, Petrodollars.

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The Paul Revere of ethanol sounds the cry

The imports are coming, the imports are coming!

Just two months ago, we were at the National Ethanol Conference in Grapevine, Texas, talking about how the US ethanol industry was “going global.”

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China’s thermal coal imports overstay their welcome

Ever had a house guest who has outstayed their welcome? It could be a family member, old school friend or acquaintance who has taken up residence in your house for longer than expected. They said they would stay only for a few days, then a week goes by and you begin to get impatient and frustrated. Politeness and your good manners keep you from broaching the subject of their stay. What to do?

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IHS CERAWeek 2015, Day 4: Power ballad ending

Thursday is not the final day of IHS CERAWeek, but it is the final day focused on a particular commodity. It’s also Platts’ final day at CERAWeek this year. Thursday’s focus on electric power allows for a wide variety of topics, though, from coal to actual power generation to natural gas and everything in between.

We had two editors roaming the sessions Thursday, one to focus on coal and one to focus on electric power. Some of what we heard was shared from @PlattsPower, although @PlattsCoal, @PlattsGas and @PlattsOil also got some fodder from various officials sharing their plans. Just as a good power ballad has to come to an end, our coverage of this year’s CERAWeek is ending, and here are some thoughts from our editors about Thursday’s events.

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