HEADLINES: Traders Deciphering Venezuelan Sanctions; Moda's VLCC Loading Berth

Thursday, January 31, 2019 - 3:10pm

The crisis in Venezuela tops our report once again. Now that the U.S. has announced large-scale sanctions on Venezuela’s nationally owned oil company PDVSA the industry, particularly refiners, are still deciphering what the measures prohibit. As for the impact on Venezuelan oil supplies, it’s too early to tell, said IEA Chief Fatih Birol said during an industry event in New Delhi.  Traders have already started looking for ways to work around the sanctions which will hit 500,000 barrels per day of heavy crude the U.S. imports from Venezuela. India and China are the other top importers of Venezuelan crude.

Fourth-quarter earnings reports continue to come in from producers. As they pour in and plans are set for 2019, analysts expect U.S. shale producers to organize around some common themes. The Williams Capital Group predicts those themes could include lower 2019 budgets reactive to strip price shifts, production growth within cash flow, infill drilling and spacing outcomes, and resets to lower commodity price realities. The firm’s Senior Equity Analyst Gabriele Sorbara names Diamondback Energy, Pioneer Natural Resources, WPX Energy, Concho Resources, Callon Petroleum and SM Energy as the top picks to distinguish themselves this year. 

Another step toward relieving the Permian takeaway bottleneck when Moda Midstream revealed its upgrades to berth 2-A at the Moda Ingleside Energy Center at the port of Corpus Christi. Hart Energy’s Len Vermillion toured the facility and the fourth VLCC its loaded since the upgrades were finished in late December. Moda can now handle loading the crude carriers at rates of up 80,000 barrels per hour. With the growing production in the Permian and Eagle Ford, CEO Bo McCall told reporters the center now has the U.S Gulf Coast’s most efficient crude export loading rates and unmatched turnaround times. He said the VLCC’s can be turned around in 24 hours. The port is working to deepen the channel and to make other upgrades. That should go a long way toward helping to ease export bottlenecks along the Gulf Coast.