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MARKET TALK ROUNDUP: Updates From IHS CERA Energy Conference

03/06/2012 | 06:19pm US/Eastern
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Oil Industry Giddy With New Discoveries

5:45 pm ET (Dow Jones) These are happy times for the oil industry, which has shed talk of peak oil for the thrill of new discoveries. "We are reinventing ourselves again in our view," says Statoil's (STO) head for North America Bill Maloney, who pointed at the IHS CERA energy conference that a lot of the new oil and gas comes from places previously thought tapped out or overlooked. And with oil prices fostering innovation, what could be next? (angel.gonzalez@dowjones.com)

Tight Oil Output Could Reach 3 Mln B/D In 2020

5:42 pm ET (Dow Jones) IHS CERA analyst Peter Jackson says supply from tight oil to reach 3 million barrels a day by 2020--more than what Iraq produces now. It's a "significant add" that has put the US on the energy map, he says--and underscores the point that lack of resources is not the industry's biggest challenge. (angel.gonzalez@dowjones.com)

BP Exec Sees Shakeout On Horizon For Refining Biz

5:29 pm ET (Dow Jones) The refining business faces a shakeout that will leave "winners and losers" over the next 20 years, says BP's top refining official Iain Conn. Rising oil prices and falling demand are the biggest threats, as well as excess capacity. "The next big threat is the fall in demand from the Atlantic basin," he says at an IHS CERA energy conference in Houston. That means large volumes of capacity in this area will have to either shut down or ramp up exports of fuels to higher-demand areas. BP has shut down numerous refineries as it aims to cope with this long-term industry shift, he said. (dan.strumpf@dowjones.com)

Iran, Israel, High Prices Ignored At Oil Conference

5:17 pm ET (Dow Jones) Conversations in the energy market have been fueled lately by Iran, Israel, weak demand and high gasoline prices. Those topics have so far received very little traction at Houston's IHS CERA energy conference. "Maybe people are just talking about things on the basis of whether they can have some impact," said Helge Lund, CEO of Norway's Statoil. The buzz is circling around growing US oil production-and trickiness of investing in the mercurial natural gas market. (paul.rekoff@dowjones.com)

Keystone XL Rejection Bolsters Pipeline Opponents

4:52 pm ET (Dow Jones) The rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline earlier this year was discouraging, not just because Canada is the biggest oil supplier to the US, says former Alberta premier Ed Stelmach at the IHS CERA energy conference. He says the decision also gives fuel to opponents of other oil pipelines, including a pipeline set to bring oil from Alberta to the western Canadian coast. That pipeline is supposed to supply oil to Asian markets, though it faced opposition from environmentalist groups. Keystone XL was rejected by the Obama administration due to environmental concerns. (dan.strumpf@dowjones.com)

For Eni, 'Everything Is Fine' In Libya

3:43 pm ET (Dow Jones) Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni was last in Libya on Sunday and says he is surprised at the pace of returning oil production. "As far as our production is concerned, everything is fine" in Libya, he tells an audience at the IHS CERA oil conference in Houston. Currently, the company produces 260,000 bbls/day in Libya--that's about 40% of the country's production, he says. Eni resumed production in September, he says. Oil production in Libya essentially halted in the wake of last year's civil war. "We have been very quick at restarting production," though he adds that democratization will take time. (dan.strumpf@dowjones.com)

US Could Become Nat Gas Exporter But...

3:16 pm ET (Dow Jones) The US has so much in recoverable natural gas reserves that it could become a major exporter, says Eni's (E) CEO Paulo Scaroni at IHS CERA conference. But it's unclear if Americans will tolerate large volumes of exports due to concerns over energy security. "The U.S. has become an island of gas," he says, but consumers might not tolerate exports that would "benefit the bank accounts of a few exporters." Currently, the biggest obstacle to exporting gas is storing it. Gas in the US fetches under $3.00/mmbtu -- about one-fifth of the price in Asia. (dan.strumpf@dowjones.com)

Shale Oil Output Could Help Shift US Politics

3:08 pm ET (Dow Jones) The explosion of US oil production from shale-rock formations may help fuel a shift in global crude exports--and global politics. The ramped-up domestic output-along increasing production from Canada, Mexico and Brazil-means that the US shouldn't have to look outside the hemisphere for its crude needs in the near future. US foreign policy may shift if it is not as dependent on the Middle East, says Helge Lund, president and CEO of Norway's Statoil, at the IHS CERA energy conference in Houston. "I think the US will be happy with its options," he adds. (paul.rekoff@dowjones.com)

Ignore Social Media At Your Own Peril - Statoil CEO

2:37 pm ET (Dow Jones) Demonstrators at Houston's IHS Cera Week energy conference have called on the industry to pay higher taxes, and one key executive says the industry needs to do a better job of communicating with the public. The oil "industry is completely dependent on trust...and we must do a better job being more upfront (and) transparent about what we do," says Helge Lund, president and CEO of Norway's Statoil. He pointed to social media like Facebook and Twitter as becoming a major factor in how oil companies communicate. "Remember," he says, "social media brought down governments" during the Arab Spring. "It can bring down companies too." (paul.rekoff@dowjones.com)

Oilfield Service Cos New Competitors Are Customers

12:50 pm ET (Dow Jones) At the same time the oilfield service sector is consolidating, the business is seeing some unexpected entrants, Baker Hughes (>> Baker Hughes Incorporated) CEO Martin Craighead tells IHS CERA Week conference in Houston. "Service companies are seeing their own customers buying parts of the supply chain and also assuming parts of the service space," he says. To wit: explorer Pioneer's (>> Pioneer Natural Resources) $297M purchase of a Texas hydraulic fracturing sand miner announced Monday. (ryan.dezember@dowjones.com)

Colombia Changing Its Image, One Pop Song At A Time

12:44 pm ET (Dow Jones) Latino pop music has a space at IHS CERA energy conference oil plenary in Houston. Asked about why Hollywood continues portraying Colombia as a violent country plagued by guerrilla and drug trafficking despite a drastic in improvement in security in the last decade, Colombia Energy Minister Mauricio Cardenas says the image of the country is changing. "Have you heard about Shakira, Los Juanes?" he asks the moderator the session. The sexy singer and rising pop star are the best example of how the world is noticing the change in Colombia, Cardenas says. (isabel.ordonez@dowjones.com

Call us at (212) 416-3100 or email patrick.sullivan@dowjones.com

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