California | April 2020
Current Brent crude prices are $22.30/bbl. California, with both onshore and offshore oil production, has been supplying the U.S. with petroleum products since the 19th century. Operations are primarily focused around Kern County, the LA Basin, and the San Joaquin Valley, with the Midway-Sunset oil field in Kern County being the state’s largest.
State Drilling Statistics
Total Rigs in California- 5
Total Rigs in United States- 465
Total U.S. Rigs down 51.9% YTD
Financial & Economic Updates
Dozens Of Oil Tankers Wait Off California’s Coast As The Pandemic Dents Demand
- About three dozen massive oil tankers are anchored from Los Angeles and Long Beach up to San Francisco Bay, turning into floating storage for crude oil that is in short demand because of the coronavirus.
- About 20 million barrels of crude are on board the tankers, according to Reid I’Anson, global commodity economist at Kpler, a data company. “That is definitely far outside what is normal for the region,” he says, referring to California’s coastline. “Typically, we’ll not see more than, you know, maybe 5 million barrels tops kind of floating.”
- The U.S. Coast Guard is monitoring the increasing number of large vessels around the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to make sure there are no collisions or groundings, and to see if the tankers are discharging oil or sewage into the water.
- There are 26 ships anchored off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — triple the number normally seen there.
California Oil Producers Fighting Newsom Proposal for Stronger Industry Oversight
- The California Independent Petroleum Association, a trade organization representing 500 crude oil and natural gas producers, wants the administration to significantly scale back the governor’s proposal to increase staff at the agency that oversees oil drilling. The organization is also seeking delays or changes in 11 separate state requirements for testing wells.
- Newsom, as part of his initial 2020-21 state budget, has proposed adding 128 analysts, engineers and geologists to CalGEM over the next three years. Oil producers would have to pay $24 million to fund the expansion.
- The governor’s annual revision of his initial spending plan, due on or before May 14, is expected to change significantly because of the pandemic.
- The COVID-19 outbreak and its resulting shelter-at-home orders have shuttered thousands of businesses and led more than 3 million Californians to file for unemployment benefits. The abrupt economic crash has slashed tax revenue for state government.
California Issues First New Fracking Permits Since July
- California issued 24 hydraulic fracturing permits on Friday, authorizing the first new oil wells in the state since July of last year and angering environmental groups who have been pressuring the state to ban the procedure known as fracking.
- California halted all fracking permits last year after Gov. Gavin Newsom fired the state’s top oil and gas regulator after a report showed new wells increased 35% since Newsom took office.
- In November, the California Geologic Energy Management Division asked for an independent, scientific review of its permitting process to make sure the state was meeting standards for public health, safety and environmental protection.
- The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory completed that review, and Friday the state issued 24 permits to Aera Energy for wells in the North Belridge and South Belridge oil fields in Kern County near Bakersfield. California still has 282 fracking permits awaiting review.
California Gas Production
California Oil Production
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