May 24, 2016: Energy Matters: Conventional

Courtesty of Eric Vettel at the American Energy Society ( )


   - More than 60 oil and gas companies have been granted bankruptcy protection in the past year, which is closing in on the staggering 68 filings seen during the depths of the telecom bust of 2002 and 2003.

 - Featured story: desperate economic conditions for many oil producing nations:

* Angola, Nigeria, and Azerbaijan are seeking help from the IMF and the World Bank.

* Venezuela’s struggles started well before crude prices dropped, but now the country is fighting to avoid economic (and political) disaster.

* Economic sanctions hurt Iran; its hard to know when (or if) they will experience an economic recovery.

* Iraq now needs external support to continue its war against the Islamic State (ISIS). 

* In need of revenues, Kurdistan is rapidly increasing oil exports.

* Ecuador was asking for help from the IMF, the World Bank, and other lenders, and then a devastating earthquake made things worse.

* After GDP dropped 3.5% in 2015, Russia’s economy has continued to shrink in 2016.

* Kazakhstan's GDP shrunk to 1.2 percent in 2015 and is expected to slow down to 0.1 percent in 2016.

* Saudi Arabia has a liquidity crisis and faces unprecedented economic, political and demographic turmoil.

Note: these and other OPEC nations have drifted geopolitically away from the US.


Natural Gas

  - Featured story: Hydraulically fractured wells now produce about two-thirds of total US natural gas. (Note: hydraulic fracturing accounts for about half of current US crude oil production.) AES Premium Members have access to the inventory report.

 - European natural gas prices have hit rock bottom.

 - The United States will become a net exporter of natural gas in 2017.



  - This year, coal will have the largest annual production decline on both a percentage and tonnage basis since the beginning of record keeping in 1949.

 - Appalachia is now producing record amounts of natural gas for the region.


  - Exelon Corp. will retire its "economically challenged" Clinton and Quad Cities nuclear plants if Illinois lawmakers do not pass legislation that will support the industry. (This is consistent with the report in vol. 10 of Energy Matters - nuclear power might have to be a state-sponsored source of energy.

 - In an unusual move, the Phoenix Company in Nevada is purchasing the unfinished Bellefont nuclear power plant in northeast Alabama from the Tennessee Valley Authority in order to test a new technology.