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  • The Russia-Ukrainian war has greatly impacted near-term oil and gas prices, while also elevating supply concerns across many European nations. Energy security is back in focus and we continue to watch for government policy developments that will encourage new exploration and resource development. Upstream capex growth is also on our radar. Unlocking upstream capital budgets, including exploration spend, will need to align with investor demands for capital discipline and greater low-carbon spending, despite a positive earnings season. Exploration activity, for now, is limited to the handful of anticipated 2022 campaigns in key advantaged plays.
    Mon, May 9, 2022
  • TotalEnergies is posting record cash flow on the back of higher energy prices. Surging electricity and LNG prices also support the company’s new integrated multienergy approach. Improved financial metrics allowed Total to increase capex for 2022 to $14 billion-$15 billion, and hike longer-term guidance from 2023-26 to $13 billion-$16 billion per year. Russian sanctions have not yet severely impacted its overall corporate strategy, even though it is arguably the most exposed of foreign partners given its strategic partnership in Novatek, equity stakes and offtake volumes. The company plans to maintain upstream output levels in the immediate term. It will leverage short-cycle projects—which it defines as payback in two years—concentrated in West Africa. Pre-salt Brazil and deepwater Guyana and Africa, including the Venus-1 Namibia discovery, offer future upside.
    Mon, May 2, 2022
  • Upstream deal flow in the first quarter of 2022 was sluggish— totaling only $19.4 billion—likely a reaction to volatile commodity prices, geopolitical uncertainty and ongoing capital discipline. US shale consolidations topped the quarterly deal charts, with the combination of Bakken pure-players Oasis Petroleum and Whiting Petroleum worth $3.9 billion. Three other $1 billion+ deals helped push total North American deal flow to $14.8 billion. Other notable upstream M&A deals this quarter include ongoing portfolio rationalization. Price uncertainty and broader market volatility, including demand downside, are likely to weigh on near-term investor M&A decisions, even if companies showcase boosted quarterly earnings in the coming weeks. We expect investor demands for capital discipline to hold, along with ongoing deal selectivity in deal flow.
    Thu, Apr 21, 2022
  • Higher oil prices and energy security considerations arising from the Russia/Ukraine conflict have yet to result in a new wave of resource access opportunities. Resource holding governments had been racing to entice E&P investment last year, but new licensing rounds and other opportunities slowed in Q1’22. Currently open rounds in Trinidad, Brazil, Mozambique and soon Angola could garner higher investor interest as companies reassess near-term energy security strategies and Russian exits. Of the recently closed rounds, in Brazil, Egypt and Norway, consolidation of positions remains the trend—with bidders keeping to established areas of operations.
    Thu, Mar 31, 2022
  • Hess has shifted to positive cash position for the first time in over a decade, and its priorities are to sustain newfound cash flow and return capital to investors, while advancing its narrower low-cost growth pipeline. Due to its improved cash position, Hess increased dividends for the first time since 2013 and will raise upstream capital expenditure to $2.6 billion this year, focusing offshore and in deepwater. Guyana is now Hess’ primary growth engine, replacing the maturing Bakken tight oil play, with Hess and partners Exxon Mobil and CNOOC bringing the critical Liza Phase 2 FPSO on line in Q1’22. Hess also returns to USGOM drilling in 2022 following a two-year hiatus. Shale discipline remains a focus, but Hess and other E&Ps face growth decisions in a $100-plus/bbl oil price environment. Hess’ medium-term challenge is to convince shareholders that it can fund future growth volumes, especially prodigious Guyana developments, without losing value and continuing to return capital. Despite these positive developments, we see energy transition pressure and aboveground risk exposure as two underappreciated risks, given its narrowly tailored portfolio and lagging energy transition targets.
    Thu, Mar 17, 2022
  • Stronger oil and gas prices and near-term market supply concerns are supportive of exploration activity in 2022. We see a strong slate of deepwater activity on the horizon in industry-preferred advantaged plays. Although a slight bump in planned activity is anticipated, a return to cyclical boom activity is unlikely. Energy transition strategies, capital discipline and value-creation priorities prevail over organic growth for many companies. Nonetheless, a number of key discoveries and drilling campaigns are on our radar, impacting near-term upstream strategies. At the same time, we see operators securing partners or making strategic exits as exploration work programs from awards before the pandemic fall due.
    Mon, Feb 21, 2022
  • While North America remained the upstream M&A epicenter throughout 2021, North Sea deal flow worth $18 billion this past quarter demonstrates its continued investment appeal. Aker BP’s $13.8 billion acquisition of Lundin Energy’s oil and gas business was the largest transaction of the quarter, boosting overall 2021 deal flow to $137 billion. US shale consolidation in Q4’21 was slower, while assets deals demonstrate a higher degree of inventory management among the established players. Other notable upstream M&A deals this quarter include ongoing portfolio rationalization deals by Petronas (Chad and Azerbaijan assets), ConocoPhillips (Indonesia portfolio), Occidental (inherited Ghana portfolio) and Repsol (long-expected Russia exit). Our Brent oil price outlook to $80/bbl for 2022, with potential spikes into the $90s, and ~$75 through the mid 2020s is supportive of M&A.
    Mon, Jan 10, 2022
  • Resource holders continue the race to develop oil and gas resources ahead of energy transition impacts, as reflected in newly open and announced rounds this past quarter. New additions to the quarterly Resource Access Monitor continue the trend of improving terms or investment conditions for exploration acreage offers. This includes Trinidad and Tobago’s current deepwater round and planned 2022 round for onshore and shallow-water acreage. Mozambique and Lebanon have advanced previously delayed rounds with offshore acreage bids now in play, under new policy frameworks. Announced rounds in Guyana and Angola are on the radar for 2022 offerings, and likely to attract investor interest. Of the recently closed rounds in the USGOM, Colombia and elsewhere, consolidation of positions remains the trend—with bidders keeping to established areas of operations.
    Mon, Dec 13, 2021
  • The transformation is here, but it is messy. The latest Energy Intelligence Top 100: Global NOC and IOC Rankings reflect a deeply disruptive pandemic year and presage a complex transition as companies navigate short-term opportunities and long-term strategies. Top 100 companies, which account for 70%-80% of global oil and gas activity, are ranked annually according to performance in six operational metrics: Oil and gas reserves, oil and gas production, product sales and refinery distillation capacity. Competitive Intelligence Research is pleased to share the Executive Summary findings from this year's Top 100 report.
    Thu, Nov 18, 2021
  • Qatar’s NOC has rebranded itself as QatarEnergy (QE), retiring the Qatar Petroleum brand as the company seeks to adapt itself to the changing energy landscape. The company is expected to announce partners for the North Field East (NFE) expansion projects in early 2022, when it is also expected to take a final investment decision on the additional North Field South (NFS) phase of the expansion. Although QE touts the competitiveness of its LNG volumes due to low production costs and carbon intensity, its supply agreements must remain competitive with evolving buyer requirements. Marketing new LNG volumes, as well as those from expiring legacy contracts, will remain QE’s most significant priority. QE’s new brand will draw increased attention to its decarbonization efforts, particularly its plans to expand usage of solar power and CCS technology.
    Tue, Nov 16, 2021
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