Trump's policy on oil production and the desire of the company Exxon Mobil, formerly headed by US Secretary of State Tillerson, to return to the joint shelf projects with "Rosneft", revived talk of the end of the "shale era" even at the level of the Russian government. Offshore drilling is really undergoing a renaissance. But unfortunately, the real situation is much more complex than we would like Russia.
After Donald Trump has signed a new five-year licensing program for the US continental shelf waters of Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and the central and southern Atlantic, the Minister of Natural Resources Sergey Donskoy proclaimed the "end of the era of oil shale." "This means that the new administration is relying on offshore production, in spite of a much larger amount of expenses than the projects of shale oil production, - he explained on his page to Facebook. - That is why offshore projects against foreign barriers were installed in Russia. The latest example - the decision of the US Treasury to conduct Exxon Mobil drilling as part of its joint venture with "Rosneft".
"Shelf vector" Trump really indicative against the background of the previous policy of the American administration, the period of work which could be one of the largest man-made disasters of our time - the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the accident at the Deepwater Horizon platform in 2010 year. Suffice it to recall that Barack Obama has banned the extraction of energy resources in large parts of the Chukchi Sea, and dozens of deepwater wells US east coast, and took to the national monuments more 20 new territories, where now prohibited drilling, mining and fishing.
Trump is going to, at least, to reduce the list. His decree to expand the scope of oil and gas production requires local analog Ministry of Internal Affairs (in the United States is in charge of natural resources) to make the revision of the five-year plan for the development and exploration of the shelf, and the Ministry of Commerce "to refrain from expanding the area of marine reserves and protected areas ... and make a review of all previous such judgments in recent years 10. " Previously Trump also abolished received Obama "clean energy plan" to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide. These decisions have caused the protest of American scientists and environmentalists.
As the well-known Russian oil and gas sector analyst, deputy director of corporate ratings group ACRA Vasiliy Tanurkov, oil production in the US offshore really grown in the last couple of years. "Most of the growth of the US recovery since last summer at the moment was provided precisely the Gulf of Mexico, and shale oil beginning to recover slightly in February this year. In this sense, in fact it seems that the offshore oil shale replaces, "- he told the newspaper VIEW.
According to the Russian Ministry of the Environment, now US continental shelf provides 18% oil and 4% natural gas, and from 6,9 million sq. US km shelf only 68 thousand sq. m. km (i.e., on the order 1%) licensed, and hydrocarbon production is conducted in 18 sq. m. km (885 license areas, 97% of which is in the Gulf of Mexico). The total resource capacity of all the USA is estimated at continental shelf 12,3 billion tons undiscovered technically recoverable oil and 9,3 tcm undiscovered technically recoverable gas.
At the same time argue that signing a decree on expanding offshore production, Trump is opposed to oil shale can not be, he stresses the chairman of Creon Energy Fares Kilzie board of directors. After all, at the beginning of this year, Trump overturned another decision Obama - to freeze the construction of Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access, which will go exactly shale oil.
"From Trump, we hear a lot of contradictory statements, especially in the economic sphere. And to argue on the basis of Trump's statements that the era of slate finished - it's a big exaggeration. This era is just beginning: production technology improved, their efficiency is increased, and the cost is reduced, "- says Kilzie. Moreover, according to him, this process includes even such conservative giants of American oil and gas industry, such as Exxon Mobil. Not so long ago, the company presented the technology of shale HTO, which is estimated Kilzie, is one of the most advanced and promising because it provides profitability at 40 dollars per barrel.
Actually, it is the word "margins" is the main dilemma in "shelf or slate." As pointed out by Vasiliy Tanurkov, at current oil prices, the economy of offshore projects is not very attractive, so their preservation is no reason to predict a sharp increase in investment in the shelf. This is already confirmed by the statistics of the current US projects in 2017-2018 years of commissioning of new offshore projects will slow down significantly, a total of seven new compared to the eight projects will be commissioned in two years in just one year 2016. In this exploratory drilling on the continental shelf it decreased 2015 year more than doubled compared with the year 2014, and even twice - in 2016 year compared to the year 2015.
As for the longer offshore production growth noted above, that, according to Tanurkova, we are talking about offshore projects, which were invested earlier, even before the fall in oil prices, that is, it is - delayed effect of previous investments. Offshore projects are long term, and where much of the investment has been made, it is expedient to complete, despite the negative changes. But by 2020, the International Energy Agency predicts an increase in oil prices up to 58 dollars per barrel and an increase in US production at 1,8 million barrels, of which it will have to 1,4 million on shale oil and only 0,4 million - on the shelf.
"Based on these forecasts, to assert that" shale revolution "ended, it is not necessary - sums Tanurcov. - Production on the shelf and the road compared to slate (in any case, the most interesting slate of projects), and less attractive in terms of payback period. Shale deposits can be recouped in two to three years (due to the fact that most of the production comes from the first years) - it is much more flexible model than on the shelf. Shelf again become attractive at higher oil prices, but it is unlikely at this point will stop investing in oil shale. According to the oilfield services company Baker Hughes, is now the cost of production in the United States by land is about 48 dollars per barrel, while the 90 percent of new projects, which will be introduced to 2020 years, profitable only if the price per barrel 60. A break-even for the shelf will be higher. "
According to Perez Kilzie, the total cost index for shale projects in general is not: there are deposits, where the break-even point is 70-75 dollars per barrel, but there are others where it is equal to 20-25 dollars. At the same time in relation to the shelf, you can talk about a certain threshold of profitability. For example, as reported in the March International Forum "The Arctic - Territory of Dialogue" Energy Minister Alexander Novak, oil production on the Arctic shelf for Russian companies become economically viable and efficient at a price of 70 dollars per barrel, that is significantly above the current level.
But even if the statement Sergeya Donskogo end of the era of oil shale has been calculated on a psychological effect, it is important to take into account another of its context - Exxon Mobil attempts to resume cooperation on offshore projects with "Rosneft", especially on the Black Sea.
After the Washington Post in the middle of last month reported receiving administration Trump requested, "sworn friends" of Russia - Senators Dzhon Makkeyn, Bob Menendez, Marco Rubio and other neocons - raised a storm in Congress. After a series of speeches the head of the US Treasury Steven Mnuchin said that after consultations with Trump Exxon was not allowed to resume work with "Rosneft".
However, persistence of Exxon - confirmation that offshore projects have a bright future even in the current oil prices. "The fact that Russian companies are paying attention to this shelf, absolutely correct. Prospects shelf is very high, it can not be denied - as well as that in other places would develop shale segment ", - says Fares Kilzie. At the same time, in his view, the return to the Russian offshore projects Exxon Mobil until that unlikely.
"Anti-Russian sentiments in the US Congress are so great that an attempt to remove this tension efforts of a single company may have for her very negative consequences, despite the fact that its former president Rex Tillerson now heads the US Department of State, - the expert emphasizes. - We need very serious geopolitical shifts that are associated primarily with the public policy of the two great powers, not the economy. And this is not a short game: the trust can be lost in a single day, and to restore the years, especially with the Americans, who make their decisions in the long term. Tillerson himself states that there is little confidence, and he is a realist, knowing that if there is no trust, there is nothing. "