The redrawing of the global energy map and shifting geopolitical inclinations in the Middle East since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine has been nothing short of a windfall for U.S. energy producers. The U.S. has “gone from (being) a very domestically focused market into an international powerhouse.”
The demand-supply imbalance is not as acute as a year back due to macroeconomic headwinds and the initial pent-up demand from China losing momentum amid its faltering economic recovery.
However, on June 4, while OPEC+, which pumps approximately 40% of the world’s crude, made no changes to its planned oil production cuts for this year, Saudi Arabia announced that it would implement an additional voluntary and (extendable) one-month 1 million-barrel-per-day cut starting this July.
With this decision, the kingdom has reined in its production to 9 million barrels from 10 million barrels, putting upward pressure on crude prices that have been delicately balanced between demand and supply.
Moreover, the Federal Reserve has adopted a hawkish pause to hold rates steady until the economy absorbs the cumulative effect of the earlier ten interest-rate hikes. This could help businesses and consumers breathe a sigh of relief and translate to increased economic activity during the summer and, consequently, demand for energy.
However, the resulting increase in energy demand amid constrained supplies could play into the hands of and lead to short-term gains for U.S. energy producers. In this context, let’s look at a few well-positioned stocks to convert rising energy prices to increased shareholder returns.
As an energy infrastructure company, Cheniere Energy, Inc. (LNG)is engaged in providing clean, secure liquefied natural gas (LNG) to integrated energy companies, utilities, and energy trading companies worldwide.
On May 16, LNG announced its entry into a long-term liquefied natural gas sale and purchase agreement with Korea Southern Power Co. Ltd (KOSPO). Pursuant to the agreement, KOSPO would purchase approximately 0.4 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG on a delivered ex-ship (DES) basis from 2027 through 2046, with a smaller annual quantity to be delivered starting in 2024.
On February 23, Cheniere Energy Partners, LP (CQP) announced that it initiated the permitting process for significant expansion of the LNG export facility at Sabine Pass, after which the total production capacity would increase to 20 mpta.
As a global energy services company, Weatherford International plc (WFRD) provides equipment and services used in the drilling, evaluation, well construction, completion, production, intervention, and responsible abandonment of wells in the oil and natural gas exploration and production industry as well as new energy platforms.
WFRD operates through three segments: Drilling and Evaluation (DRE), Well Construction and Completions (WCC), and Production and Intervention (PRI).
On June 8, WFRD announced that it was awarded a three-year contract with Aramco to deliver drilling services. Under the contract, WFRD will deploy its drilling services portfolio to add value to Aramco’s drilling operations by minimizing OPEX, reducing risks, and optimizing production.
Nustar Energy L.P. (NS) is primarily engaged in transporting petroleum products, renewable fuels, and anhydrous ammonia, terminalling and storing petroleum products and renewable fuels, and marketing of petroleum products. Accordingly, the company operates through three segments: pipeline; storage; and fuels marketing.
As a testament to its future readiness, on May 3, NS announced its agreement with OCI Global to transport ammonia, which the latter would use to make fertilizer and produce DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid), which reduces emissions from diesel engines in cars, as well as light and heavy-duty trucks, farming equipment and other heavy machinery.
Moreover, with ammonia emerging as a likely candidate to capture, store, and ship hydrogen for use in emission-free fuel cells and turbines, NS’ expertise in the transportation of ammonia is expected to be a significant growth driver in the future.
Beyond The Horizons
In its latest Oil 2023 medium-term market report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecasted that, under current market and policy conditions, crude oil demand will rise by 6% from 2022 to reach 105.7 million barrels per day in 2028 on the back of the petrochemical and aviation sectors.
However, the agency also found that global oil demand growth will trickle nearly to a halt thereafter with the advancement of electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and other technologies.
However, until the modern economy and society can develop renewable energy technologies enough to rely on them exclusively, natural gas transported in bulk and consumed in liquified and compressed forms, respectively, will keep playing a crucial role as a bridge fuel to manage decarbonization goals and facilitate a seamless energy transition.