Pioneer Addresses Eagle Ford Exports in Q2 2014 Report

Record Eagle Ford Production Recorded in Q2
Pioneer Central Gathering Plant

Pioneer Central Gathering Plant | Click to Enlarge

Recently, the U.S. Commerce Department (U.S. DoC) granted Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and Enterprise Product Partners LP permission to export minimally processed Eagle Ford condensate. According to Pioneer officials, the U.S. DoC confirmed that condensate processed at Pioneer’s Eagle Ford Shale central gathering plants in South Texas is a petroleum product that can be exported without a license.

The news in June 2014 that Pioneer was granted permission to export condensate made headlines and sparked a debate about the oil export ban, which has been in place for nearly forty years. Earlier this week, Eagle Ford Operator BHP Billiton confirmed it had applied for an export permit with the U.S. DoC.

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

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, but Pioneer is looking to Asian markets to sell its processed Eagle Ford condensate. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), Asia surpassed North America as the largest petroleum-consuming region in 2008, with demand increasing 146% (15 million b/d) from 1980 to 2010.

Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield, said, “we are pleased that the U.S. Department of Commerce has recently confirmed that Pioneer may begin exporting processed condensate from the Eagle Ford Shale. Our first cargo was shipped in late July and monthly shipments are expected through the end of this year at prices higher than domestic condensate sales. International interest for our processed Eagle Ford Shale condensate is growing, particularly from Asian petrochemical companies.”

Pioneer Eagle Ford Q2 2014 Production and Operations Update

During the second quarter, Pioneer had record average Eagle Ford production of 47,000 boe/d. Thirty-one wells were placed on production during the quarter.

For 2014, the company expects to place approximately 125 liquids-rich wells on production in the Eagle Ford Shale (63 wells in the first half of 2014 and 62 wells in the second half). Company officials say most of these wells will be drilled utilizing three-well and four-well pads. The 2014 program reflects longer lateral lengths and larger fracture stimulations compared to 2013. Full-year production is forecasted to range from 46,000 boe/d to 49,000 boe/d, an increase of 22% to 30%, compared to 2013.


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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