Apr 10, 2019

Companies are finding lots of oil again

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Expand chart
Data: Rystad Energy ECube; Chart: Axios Visuals

The oil industry is finding lots of hydrocarbons thus far in 2019, putting discoveries on pace to grow by 30% this year if they keep it up, the consultancy Rystad Energy said this week.

Why it matters: The finds by big players like ExxonMobil and Total are a sign of ample new supplies that could come online in coming years, which is likely to further ease concerns about a crude supply crunch down the road.

  • It also signals why OPEC will face ongoing challenges in the years ahead in their quest to keep markets tight and prop up prices.

By the numbers: First-quarter discoveries of conventional oil and gas, which excludes shale, were 3.2 billion barrels oil-equivalent.

  • Much of that came in February, when the 2.2 billion barrels of discoveries marked the highest monthly total since mid-2015, Rystad said in a short note.

What's next: "[T]he push for substantial new discoveries shows no signs of slowing down, with another 35 high impact exploration wells expected to be drilled this year, both onshore and offshore," Rystad wrote.

Quick take: The big finds are another sign that fears of a crude supply crunch opening up by the early 2020s likely won't come to pass.

  • Some analysts feared a precarious situation emerging because spending on finding and developing new supplies cratered around 2014.
  • But 2019 is set to be the third straight year of upstream investment increases, per the International Energy Agency.
  • Bigger-than-expected U.S. shale growth has also eased concerns.

But, but, but: "Forecasts of a supply gap persist, but they’re being pushed further out into the future," Bloomberg reported in late January, and IEA has warned against complacency.

Go deeper

RNC expands convention search across the Sun Belt

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their families on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Ohio in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images.

The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said the coronavirus pandemic would mean a scaled-back event with social distancing and face coverings.

Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.

2 hours ago - World

Hong Kong legislature bans insults to Chinese national anthem

Activists holding a candlelit remembrance outside Victoria Park in Hong Kong on June 4, 2020, to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong’s legislature approved a bill Thursday that makes insulting the "March of the Volunteers," the Chinese national anthem, illegal, AP reports.

Why it matters: It did so on the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, when Chinese troops opened fire on pro-democracy activists in 1989. The death toll has never been released, but estimates vary between hundreds and thousands.