What to Watch

Exxon, Qatar in Talks on U.S. Shale Deal

Exxon Mobil Corp. is in talks with Qatar over a partnership that could see the Middle Eastern nation owning U.S. gas assets, write The Wall Street Journal’s Sarah McFarlane and Bradley Olson.

The potential deal could lead to the state energy giant Qatar Petroleum investing in Exxon’s vast U.S. gas resources, extending from West Texas to North Dakota.

Qatar also wants to broaden its investments outside the Middle East and curry favor with Washington amid an economic blockade from Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies.

Meanwhile, oil prices held near a more than three-year high on Wednesday, buoyed by an increased geopolitical risk premium with tensions rising in the Middle East.

Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was up 0.01% to $71.11 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange, having hit $71.34 on Tuesday, and its highest level since 2014. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.3% at $65.73 a barrel.

Energy News

Apple Says Facilities Now Using 100% Renewable Power

Apple Inc. said it has achieved its goal  of having its facilities world-wide powered exclusively by renewable energy.The tech giant is just one of many global corporations trying to cut energy consumption and shift to renewable power including wind and solar, both to cut costs and slow climate change.

Canadian Provinces Clash, Putting Pipeline Expansion in Jeopardy 

A rift between two Canadian provinces is putting  a damper on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion by Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. The firm has balked at continuing the project unless Canada’s federal and provincial governments could resolve their differences over whether the pipeline should be built.

The fight has infuriated many in Alberta, the sprawling Western province that is home to 97% of Canada’s oil reserves.

“At this point it’s hard not to feel like we’re all sitting at a table watching Xi and Trump play a giant game of liar’s poker.”

– Analysts for PIRA a part of S&P Global Platts

WSJ Energy In-Depth

Big Oil’s New Favorite Toy: Supercomputers

Big oil firms are building bigger and better supercomputers as part of an arms race in the energy sector to use technology to produce fossil fuels more cheaply and efficiently, write the WSJ’s Sarah Kent and Christopher M. Matthews.

BP PLC has beefed up its computing power—and it’s far from the only one in the oil patch. Italy’s Eni SpA has built a computing facility the size of a soccer field outside of Milan, crediting its help in all of its most recent oil and gas discoveries.

France’s Total SA recently upgraded its Pangea supercomputer, nearly tripling its computing power.

While big oil companies were early adapters of supercomputers, some have poured hundreds of millions into upgrades, and now possess some of the most powerful commercially owned computers on the planet.

Big Number

$44 billion

India and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday signed an agreement  to set up a crude-oil refinery with a capacity to process 1.2 million barrels a day in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.The project, which involves state-run Saudi Aramco and three Indian refineries, will cost $44 billion to build.

FutureCurve

Today: The U.S. Energy Information Administration releases U.S. production figures.

April 18–19: IQPC hosts the Oil & Fuel Theft Summit in Geneva. Speakers include Mahmoud Al-Bayati, the director general for counter-terrorism for Iraq, William J. Waggoner, the chief executive of the Mexico Petroleum Company and Daniel Gianfalla, a member of the national maritime security advisory committee at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.