OPAL Pipeline To Connect To Baltic Sea

Williams Partners subsidiary Transcontinental Pipeline will build a 1.2 million dekatherm per day expansion to supply the Cheniere Energy Partners Sabine Pass Liquefaction project being developed in Cameron Parish, La. “Gulf Trace is a pivotal project at an extremely important time for Transco and the U.S. natural gas industry as a whole,” said Rory Miller, senior vice president of Williams Partners’ Atlantic-Gulf operating area. “Gulf Trace is designed to ensure we continue to serve our existing customers who rely on natural gas from the Gulf Coast, while adding a very large, long-term market commitment in an area of Transco’s system that is seeing decreased utilization due to changing gas supply patterns in the United States.” [Williams Partners]

The degree to which ExxonMobil’s Russian operations could be at risk due to US-imposed economic sanctions was raised in a Bloomberg article. “Maybe some transactions will be threatened as a result and perhaps Russia will counter and they will be less keen for American companies to work on Arctic projects,” Mattias Westman, CEO of Prosperity Capital, is quoted as saying in the piece. [Bloomberg] However, this reasoning runs counter to Putin’s need for international oil company technical assistance and balance sheet strength to develop incremental Russian oil and gas resources. The Russian economy is heavily dependent on oil revenue, and production is declining at many of the country’s Soviet-era workhorse fields. Incremental output needed to sustain and increase production will have to come from new field development in Northern Siberia, the Yamal Peninsula and offshore, which are technically challenging and expensive projects Rosneft and Gazprom cannot bring on stream by themselves. As Steve LeVine recently suggested, until sanctions specifically target the Kremlin’s national energy companies and/or prevent the majors from operating in the country, Putin is unlikely to be concerned.

Crude oil output from the Bakken Shale formation beneath North Dakota and Montana recently surpassed the 1 billion barrel mark. “North Dakota has generated 852 million barrels of Bakken crude, and Montana has produced about 151 million barrels through the first quarter of 2014, data show.” [Associated Press]