Pioneer CEO Confirms Condensate Exports to Europe

Condensate Exports Fuel Conversation for Lifting Oil Export Ban
Pioneer Central Gathering Plant

Pioneer Central Gathering Plant | Click to Enlarge

Pioneer Resources CEO Scott Sheffield confirmed this week the company has exported its second round of condensate exports – this time to Europe – during an investor webcast presentation. The first exports were to the Asian market in South Korea in July.

In June, Pioneer and Enterprise Products Partners, a midstream service provider, received permission from the U.S. Commerce Department (U.S. DoC) to export minimally processed condensate to foreign buyers. Other major operators in the Eagle Ford like BHP Billiton have also applied for permits, but have not gotten the nod from the U.S. DoC.

Read more: Eagle Ford’s BHP Billiton Seeks to Export Condensate

Sheffield said, “I expect the commerce department to approve several more permits, primarily for condensate, in the Eagle Ford, as long as it goes through the distillation process. I am optimistic this administration or the next one will remove the export ban.”

The pressure to lift the oil export ban is mounting from other industry executives. This week, Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden urged Barack Obama to lift the ban during a speech he gave at Columbia University.

Van Beurden said, lifting the ban “would reinforce the long term future of North American energy production, and help make the global energy system more stable.”

Under the oil export ban, refined products can be exported. Pioneer’s minimally processed condensate exports are considered a refined product by the U.S. DoC.

Listen to the Pioneer Webcast

Eagle Ford’s BHP Billiton Seeks to Export Condensate

First Minimally Processed Eagle Ford Condensate Exports Began in Late July 2014
Petrohawk Eagle Ford Shale Map

Hawkville Seen Here Extends into Webb County | Click to Enlarge

Houston-based BHP Billiton may soon get the green light to export condensate from the Eagle Ford Shale.

According to the Houston Chronicle, BHP President Rod Skaufel confirmed the company has applied for an export permit with the U.S. Commerce Department (US DoC).

Read more: Oil Exports to Foreign Buyers Begins

In June 2014, Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Enterprise Product Partners LP were granted permission by the US DoC in a private ruling to export minimally processed Eagle Ford condensate. In late July 2014, the first exports began.

The US DoC’s ruling in June 2014 was the first sign the United State’s oil export ban, which has been in place for nearly 40-years, could be subject to change. Following the Arab oil embargo of the early 70s, in 1975, President Gerald Ford signed into law the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which in effect bans most U.S. oil exports (refined products are not included in the ban). The minimally processed condensate currently being exported by Pioneer and Enterprise is considered a refined product by the US DoC.

With the U.S. slated to become the top oil producing country in the world by 2015, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the necessity of the ban is puzzling to some, but still viable to others. In recent months, there’s been a push from industry leaders for the federal government to relax and even lift the ban, including Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm. Continental Resources is the second largest producer in the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, which also produces light oil and condensate.

BHP Billiton Eagle Ford Position in Condensate Window

Due to its position in the play, among other factors, the company is in an attractive position for exporting condensate should it get the go-ahead from the US DoC.

“Our position in the Eagle Ford is right in the heart of the condensate window, and the economics of the wells average a 70% rate of return,” said Skaufel, in an interview for Unconventional Oil & Gas Report.

BHP plans to spend $3-billion of its $3.9 billion budget for onshore U.S. in the Eagle Ford in 2014. The company entered the Eagle Ford Shale in 2011, with the acquisition of Petrohawk for ~$12-billion.

Read more: BHP – Petrohawk Deal Brings Australia to the Eagle Ford 

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BHP Focused on Liquids Production in Black Hawk Region for Remainder of 2014

Eagle Ford Contributes to 71% Increase in Liquids Production Over Nine-Month Time Period


Petrohawk Eagle Ford Shale Map

Hawkville Seen Here Extends into Webb County | Click to Enlarge

BHP Billiton’s Eagle Ford production accelerated at the end of the first quarter of 2014. The company expects continued growth in U.S. onshore liquids production of approximately 75% for the year, with a priority focus on the Black Hawk region of the Eagle Ford in Karnes and Dewitt counties.

A the end of March 2014, BHP completed scheduled well remediation activities in its Hawkville acreage. That contributed in part to a 71% increase in liquids production for the company’s U.S. onshore production over a nine-month time period, ending March 2014. Across the company’s portfolio, liquids production increased 16% to ~210,958 boe/d or 77 MMboe/d over the same time frame.

[Read more…]

Portions of BHP’s Eagle Ford Gathering System Closed Due to Corrosion

$1.8 Billion in Eagle Ford Spending Planned from January to June

BHP Billiton LogoBHP Billiton reported in February 2014 that portions of its Eagle Ford gathering system have been temporarily closed due to corrosion. The cause of the corrosion issue is at present being evaluated by the company.

The gathering system closure was revealed in BHP’s December 2013 financial report of Petrohawk. BHP is required to report operations updates and financial results to Petrohawk’s debt holders, after acquiring the company in 2011.

Read more at 

BHP Eagle Ford Gathering Line Closure Operations Impact

According to BHP, production is continuing in the Eagle Ford, despite the interruption from the line closure. The company has increased the use of trucking to deliver product to market, and claims that there should be no significant impact on production.

BHP Eagle Ford Expenditures To Go Down in 2014

Onshore U.S. drilling and development cost BHP $2.4 billion in the second half of 2013. About 75% of this expense or $1.8 billion was spent in the Eagle Ford, mostly in the company’s liquids-rich Black Hawk acreage. The company achieved a 72% increase in production for onshore US liquids in the second half of 2013, which was primarily attributable to the Black Hawk acreage.

In 2014, expenditures are expected to decrease in the second half of the financial year, following a 35% decrease in the company’s active rig count to 26.

BHP Eagle Ford Highlights in Second Half of 2013

  • Eagle Ford gathering line system closed due to corrosion
  • BHP using trucks to deliver product to market
  • $1.8 billion Eagle Ford spending in second half of 2013
  • 72% increase in production for onshore US liquids
  • Active rig count down to 26 – 35% decrease

Devon Energy Acquires Eagle Ford Assets From GeoSouthern for $6 Billion

82,000 Net Acres and 53,000 boe/d in DeWitt and Lavaca Counties
Devon Energy Eagle Ford Acreage Map

Devon Energy Eagle Ford Acreage Map – 82,000 net acres | Click to Enlarge

Devon Energy has agreed to acquire GeoSouthern Energy’s Eagle Ford assets for $6 billion in cash.

The deal includes 82,000 net Eagle Ford acres in DeWitt and Lavaca counties, with associated production of 53,000 boe/d.

Current production is 56% oil, 20% NGLs, and 24% natural gas.

The properties hold an estimated resource potential of 400 million boe. [Read more…]

BHP Lowers Eagle Ford Capital Spending For Fiscal Year 2014

Eagle Ford Becomes BHP Petroleum's Largest Producing Field at ~90,000 boe/d
Petrohawk Eagle Ford Shale Map

Hawkville Seen Here Extends into Webb County | Click to Enlarge

BHP touted the strength of the Eagle Ford in its year-end results, but also announced plans to lower capital spending in the play to a little more than $2.9 billion over the next twelve months.

BHP’s fiscal year 2013 ended on June 30th, so the company is reporting year-end results.

BHP is lowering its onshore U.S. oil & gas spending from $4.8 billion in fiscal year 2013 to $3.9 billion in fiscal year 2014. Approximately 80% of spending was allocated to the Eagle Ford and Permian in 2013 and approximately 75% of spending will be allocated to the Eagle Ford in 2014. The remaining 25% of drilling activity will be allocated in the Permian Basin and Haynesville Shale.

Approximately 75 per cent of operated drilling activity will be focused on our liquids rich acreage in the Eagle Ford.

At times over the past couple of years, BHP has had as many as 30 rigs running in the Eagle Ford, but plans call for 19 rigs in fiscal year 2014. This doesn’t necessarily mean fewer wells will be drilled. While the company isn’t as vocal about its operations, there is no doubt wells are going down much faster today than in years past. The company noted as much back in mid-July:

“An improvement in drilling productivity is expected to facilitate a reduction in our rig count in the 2014 financial year, while a lower level of capital expenditure for Onshore US will be increasingly focused on our liquids rich acreage in the Eagle Ford.”

BHP produced a little more than 32 million boe or close to 90,000 boe/d from the Eagle Ford in fiscal year 2013.

BHP has completely suspended drilling the Fayetteville Shale. Read the company’s full press release at