(World Oil) — A new market update report shows the U.S. oil and gas (O&G) industry can expect to see continued demand recovery and positive effects from the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, but regulatory environments tightened last year. The Oil & Gas Market Update report is authored by Patrick McRorie, a partner with Lathrop GPM, using U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports and data, federal and state government records, national and local news, and the knowledge and experience of the law firm’s practitioners, among other sources.
U.S. regulatory picture. Though the oil and gas industry has already seen rapidly changing market conditions so far in 2022, the report continues to be relevant, McRorie said. “Much of the analysis focuses on the U.S. regulatory environment and longer-term trends in the industry,” he said. That includes the changes expected as the Biden administration continues to focus on climate change and energy transition. Investor pressure and public perception has been, and will continue to be, a significant driver of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, with primary focus on the “E,” the report states.
ESG issues. “I think the updates on how the industry is approaching ESG issues is especially important. ESG is, and I believe will continue to be, a hot topic, both with the public and with investors,” McRorie said. “While it is a hot topic of discussion, we are trying to help the audience understand what it means in practice. The report provides insight into how the industry is, or in certain cases isn’t, executing on ESG initiatives.”
The ESG-related pressure on O& G mainly relates to carbon-lowering initiatives, the report said, noting the Paris-based IEA’s Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050, which outlines ambitious scenarios to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
Companies are responding to investor attention on ESG, resulting in efforts like using digital technologies to enhance their ESG capabilities for reporting, according to the report. The federal infrastructure bill is largely O&G-friendly, the report notes, adding that it provides record funding for road improvements, which should increase demand for asphalt and is a good sign for oil.
Long-term demand for 2022 continues to look positive, according to the report. Investment bank analysts expect higher oil prices to continue this year, with forecasts in the $90-100/bbl range.
An IEA report referenced expects global oil demand to grow by 3.3 MMboed in 2022, following growth of 5.4 MMboed in 2021. At this pace, demand will reach 99.4 MMboed, which is a return to pre-pandemic levels, the report states.
Capital allocations. While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may push some investors toward renewable energy to reduce reliance on Russia’s O&G, McRorie doesn’t think the current energy prices affect long-term investment in renewable or alternative fuel sources.
“As such, I don’t think we are going to see significant reallocations in planned capital expenditure,” McRorie said. “In the short-run, producers certainly possess an incentive to capitalize on favorable energy prices … Many producers use financial instruments to hedge against this type of volatility, so there may not be a real, recognizable benefit to reallocating capital in favor of short-term production.”
Many energy producers are looking at alternative energy technologies as a compliment to their O&G assets, which is likely done with long-term focus, he said. The report also breaks down implications of the regulatory environments in Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. To see the full report, click here.