US drillers keep focus on NGL production, export amid Q4'18 commodity price drop
Natural gas liquids production remains a key focus for many of the U.S.'s top shale drillers, even as low commodity prices weighed on company earnings in the fourth quarter of 2018. After peaking at just above 50 cents per gallon towards the end of the third quarter of 2018, NGL prices took a deep plunge by the end of the year, almost returning to year-ago levels at about 30 cents per gallon at Mont Belvieu, Texas, benchmark pricing. NGL prices tend to track oil prices, which plummeted to below $55/barrel at Brent benchmark pricing as 2018 ended, from about $85/bbl just three months prior.
Appalachia gaining NGL manufacturing advantage over Texas, study says
Appalachia's shales will produce 45% of the United States' natural gas by 2040, and the region has a growing cost advantage in natural gas liquids over the U.S. Gulf Coast, according to an IHS Markit study highlighting the region's advantages for industrial developers. The study, sponsored by economic development groups Shale Crescent USA and JobsOhio, was released March 19 at the World Petrochemical Conference in San Antonio and echoes a similar study on ethane crackers released in 2018.
Bakken gas flaring on native land rose in January as shale expansion continues
Natural gas flaring continues to significantly surpass North Dakota targets as the state struggles with differing regulation of Native American lands versus nonnative lands, generous gas flaring allowances for newly drilled wells, and insufficient gas processing and transportation infrastructure in multiple regions. In January, the number of producing wells in North Dakota reached an all-time high of 15,397. Of these active wells, 89% were unconventional and 11% were conventional, according to the North Dakota Industrial Commission, or NDIC.
SM Energy sees lower March gas sales due to force majeure at processing plant
SM Energy Co. said March 21 that it expects lower Permian Basin natural gas sales for March due to the slower ramp-up of a third-party gas processing facility and electrical outages in West Texas that caused temporary production shut-ins. The company previously said natural gas sales were only expected to be reduced until February.