OIL & GAS: The week in 10 stories

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Inter-American Development Bank approved the NDC Pipeline Accelerator Multi-Donor Trust Fund (ACL), which it describes as an "instrument to increase support for enhancing the planning, design and preparation of infrastructure projects and portfolios" in Latin America. The ACL has so far received 10mn euros (US$11.1mn) from the Nordic Development Fund, a joint development finance institution established by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The fund will help Latin American and Caribbean nations align public and private sector investments with their national commitments under the Paris climate agreement.


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Tight oil production from the Vaca Muerta shale formation in the Neuquén basin is expected to reach 50,000b/d by end-2017, up from around 32,000b/d at the start of the year, according to the International Energy Agency's May 2017 Oil Market Report.


The real and stock markets plunged on Thursday amid revelations by Brazilian media that president Michel Temer was recorded discussing bribes to silence jailed former lower house speaker Eduardo Cunha. Despite the shockwaves, Rio de Janeiro-based consultant Adriano Pires (pictured) and founder of Centro Brasileiro de Infra Estrutura, told BNamericas that "we have to be calm before jumping to conclusions about what could happen next," and was confident that the fallout would not affect investments in the energy sector.

Hydrocarbons regulator ANP published draft bidding rules for the 14th oil and gas concession round, slated for September. The auction will offer 287 blocks covering 122,600km2 of onshore and offshore acreage. Interested companies can submit contributions as part of a consultation process until June 19 before a public hearing is held eight days later. The auction is one of four scheduled for this year.


National oil company Enap issued a US$250mn bond, proceeds from which will be channeled into the payment of short-term liabilities, meaning it will not add to the company's current debt load.


Colombia's hydrocarbons agency ANH reported that 25 exploratory wells were drilled to end-April, more than during all 2016, and the country hopes to drill a total of 503 exploratory and production wells in 2017 as it moves to reverse declining oil production. The ANH reported reserves at end-2016 of 1.665Bb, down from 2Bb at end-2015 as lower oil prices curbed exploration.

Oil output was hit when protesters damaged infrastructure and shut down wells at Ecopetrol's La Cira Infantas field in Santander department, reducing production by 4,153b. The protests are against laws concerning the hiring of local people. The incident came just days after the company shut down 92 wells amid a wave of violence in central Meta department.

And after hitting a three-year production low in January, natural gas output in Colombia grew for three consecutive months but is still below historical levels. Gas production in April hit 916Mf3/d (25.9Mm3/d), up 0.77% sequentially but down 11% year-on-year.


Finally, two more companies announced plans to enter Mexico's gasoline market. ExxonMobil will open gas stations across the country and sell its own-branded fuels and lubricants, while Anglo Swiss firm Glencore announced it had formed a JV with local gas station operator G500 to launch a fuel retail platform.