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THE Mexico Thread Pt. 2 (merged)

A forum for discussion of regional topics including oil depletion but also government, society, and the future.

Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby Pops » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 11:35:41

Thnks WT, here is a pic of the breakdown and copy from june '14 "today in Energy"

Image
U.S. crude oil production has grown rapidly in recent years, primarily from light, sweet crude (a characteristic of crude quality, as measured by API gravity and sulfur content) from tight resource formations. Roughly 96% of the 1.8-million-barrel per day (bbl/d) growth in production from 2011 to 2013 consisted of light sweet grades with API gravity of 40 or above and sulfur content of 0.3% or less.
EIA's new forecast of U.S. crude production by quality indicates that the U.S. supply of light, sweet crude will continue to outpace that of medium and heavy crude through 2015. More than 60% of EIA's forecasted production growth for 2014 and 2015 consists of sweet grades with API gravity of 40 or above.
The growth in this particular type of crude oil (as well as many forecasts for a continuation of this trend) has sparked discussion of how rising crude oil volumes will be absorbed into the market. Given the likelihood of continued growth in domestic crude production, and the recognition that some absorption options, such as like-for-like replacement of import streams, are inherently limited, the question of how a relaxation in current limitations on crude exports might affect domestic and international markets for both crude and products continues to hold great interest for policymakers, industry, and the public.

Go to original for links


I also found a Flicker feed for the EIA: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eiagov/

Lotsw of charts including API breakdown by region.
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby SteinarN » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 12:28:46

westexas,
I feel it is time to thank you for the exellent insight you provide on oil production and import/export situation. I really enjoy reading your posts!

SteinarN

Edit: and Pops isn't far behind either.
Last edited by SteinarN on Fri 29 Aug 2014, 12:52:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 12:47:25

I'm with you Stein: let's "tank" that lying oil patch bastard westexas. I can tease you because my dumb fingers are always making typos.
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby SteinarN » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 12:53:57

ROCKMAN wrote:I'm with you Stein: let's "tank" that lying oil patch bastard westexas. I can tease you because my dumb fingers are always making typos.


Hahaha :-D
I'll have to admit it slipped under my fingers, that typo. Or how you say it in english, makes probably no sense what I said now.
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby farmlad » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 13:18:54

Hey; no need to tease stein, His English is impressive, coming from Norway. I imagine he might not even use an English spellcheck .
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby westexas » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 14:20:08

Steinar,

Thanks, and by the way, my wife is married to a Norwegian diplomat. Their young son once expressed amazement that not everyone speaks three languages (their son speaks Norwegian, English and Swahili).

Incidentally, if one speaks three languages, one is trilingual. If one speaks two languages, one is bilingual. If one speaks one language, one is an American*.

*A joke I stole from a movie, "Tortilla Soup."
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby SteinarN » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 16:21:01

westexas wrote:Steinar,
my wife is married to a Norwegian diplomat.


As far as I know you aren't a Norwegian diplomat, so, either I'm wrong about who you are, or you have a very interesting family arrangement.
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 16:35:27

Stein - I thought about bring that point up but in deference to a fellow rock licker I didn't. LOL. And since some folks outside the state think of Texans as Americans there are a fair number of us that are somewhat bilingual in the Lone Star state.
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby frankthetank » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 16:49:43

Condensate is still a little foreign to me...can it be transformed into gasoline or diesel??? What is its use if it can't?
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby Pops » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 17:09:34

As I understand frank, the "lighter" the oil the fewer carbon atoms in the molecule - one carbon is Methane (natural gas) 2 is ethane (ethylene/plastic) 3c is propane, 4-butane, 5-pentane, etc. Condensate is these lighter factions that are liquid under high pressure but "condense" at sea level pressure.

Hexane -6C up to 10Cs are what "gasoline" and most of the fuels are made of, mostly. The short chain HCs burn but they do it differently and require different handling, transport, etc than gasoline, diesel, kero, etc. But they are good for what they are good for like making plastics.

Longer chains are heated (fractional distillation) to split them up into whatever smaller units are desired. OTOH, utting short chains together to make longer ones takes energy so not a good idea.

But I'm just an google chemist so of course stand to be corrected by my betters. :)
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby toolpush » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 17:12:15

attempt #2, my first go got lost ?
Can anyone answer the question, as Mexico is part of NAFTA, can't they import crude from the US, just like Canada?
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby westexas » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 18:05:31

Steinar,

And my first language is supposed to be English!

Meant to say that my niece is married to a Norwegian diplomat.
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby frankthetank » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 18:09:41

So really all this increased production might not be helping transportation (gasoline/diesel) much...? I see propane is mentioned. So what happened last winter with $4/gallon propane? (if i remember it was exports of propane that saw supply shrivel up).

Its so annoying, because they group everything together and make is "sound" like its all the same...

Interesting:
"Until oil production started to ramp up in U. S. shale formations, the distinction between crude and condensate didn’t matter much, and the small amounts of condensate pumped from the ground were left mixed in the crude. But these days as much as 12% of daily U.S. crude production might qualify as condensate, overwhelming demand for the fuel, according to energy investment bank Simmons & Co. International."

http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intellig ... il-export/
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby kublikhan » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 18:34:14

Frank, as I understand it condensate can be used to make gasoline, but not diesel or jet fuel. It is also good for mixing in with the heavy Canadian sludge to get it moving. But again, this results in a crude with lots of gasoline and tars but not much middle distillates like diesel or jet fuel.

Here’s the situation. Most crude oils when they come out of the ground are relatively balanced across the yield curve. So for example, a light crude might yield 25% naphtha & lighter products, 30% middle distillates, 30% gas oils and 15% bottoms. A heavy crude will have a lot less naphtha and middle distillates and a lot more bottoms, but still the yield is spread over the different fractions.

But what if you had a crude oil with a lot of naphtha and lighter fractions, a lot of heavy bottoms and nothing in the middle? Big on one end – big on the other end. Like a dumbbell. For decades unscrupulous crude oil marketers have been buying batches of cheap heavy crude and very light crude. They then blend the two together to make a crude with API and sulfur specification that looks like West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and sell the resulting cocktail to unsuspecting refiners as WTI. Refiners hate these artificial blends because their refinery processes are balanced for real WTI, so the fake dumbbell grade throws off operations. Also because dumbbell crudes have little middle distillate fractions, the refinery produces less diesel, fuel oil and jet fuel the refined products that come from the middle distillate range. These days with diesel and related products at high prices, that’s a bad thing.

because of the influx of a mixture of very light shale and very heavy Canadian crudes, the entire crude slate for U.S. refiners is being ‘dumbbelled’. Here’s how:

On one end, as we’ve discussed here in many RBN blogs, US domestic crude production from shale is growing rapidly. The majority of this new crude production is light sweet crude, with a significant percentage consisting of what TM&C calls Super Light crude (42 – 60 API) and for the first time in US history, large volumes of condensate – very high API gravity ultra-light liquids that are being produced from shale basins –plays like the Eagle Ford and Granite Wash. These super-lights and condensates are increasing as a percentage of the total U.S. crude mix, and are one end of our dumbbell.

The other end of the dumbbell is growing too. That is because of increasing imports of Canadian crude, which is super-heavy. We’ve talked here many times (see It's a Bitumen, oil - Does it go too far) about how very heavy crude extracted from tar sands (called bitumen) are mixed with various diluants to enable them to flow in pipelines (the resultant mix known as dilbit). In effect, dilbit is a dumbbell crude by definition.

Put these two developments together and you have a situation where the entire U.S. crude slate is starting to look more like those dumbbell crudes that the refineries don’t like – with similar consequences – Yields of middle distillates will decline, and gasoline production as a percentage of total refinery output will grow. Both of these developments are important, so let’s look a little closer at their implications.

Gulf Coast Diesel Export Boom/Bust: For the past two years, US Gulf Coast refineries have benefited from a booming diesel export market. This is because many Gulf Coast refineries are well equipped to process conventional crudes from West Texas and the offshore Gulf of Mexico to produce high yields of the middle distillates that diesel is blended from. US refiners also have better technology to remove sulfur from the distillate pool so that they can produce diesel to ultra-low sulfur European and US specifications. These advantages together with tight international low sulfur diesel supplies have allowed Gulf Coast refineries to profit by exporting product into global markets. As the dumbbell crude mix grows as a percentage of the total crude oil supply (backing out international waterborne imports), production of diesel, fuel oil and jet fuel will fall. There just won’t be as many middle distillate molecules around. Ultimately this will wipe out much of the lucrative diesel export market.
Reduced Demand for Gasoline and Export Growth: In contrast to diesel, US domestic demand for gasoline has shrunk over the last 5 years as drivers use fuel-efficient autos and as ethanol mandate volumes replace gasoline in the tank. While gasoline exports have been growing, the international market for gasoline is more competitive than it is for diesel, so margins are lower. the refiner’s marginal return from manufacturing diesel has been higher than the marginal return from making gasoline.

Because of the high naphtha content of super light sweet shale crudes and the diluent component of dilbit, there will be a lot more naphtha in the U.S. crude mix, and that will make a lot more gasoline. So much more that gasoline production (as a percentage of total refinery output) will grow, resulting in the need for significant increases in gasoline exports.

Growing Supplies of Light Sweet Crude Will Reduce Refining Capacity: Many U.S. refiners simply do not have the capacity to run lighter-than-planned shale crudes. Their refineries are not configured to process increasing quantities of light crudes due to column limitations, compressor constraints, overhead cooling issues and other problems – all of which can limit charge rates. Put simply, that means the refinery process overflows because the crude produces more light products than the units were built to handle. The only way to counteract this short term is to reduce the throughput volume. As a result, U.S. refinery capacity will decline by the equivalent of 2 or 3 average refineries during the 2013-17 timeframe unless compensating investments are made.
Dumbbell Lessons Refiners Need to Learn

U.S. refiners – thinking a few years ago that most of the growth in crude supplies would be heavy crude oil from Canada have recently retooled to favor the processing of those much heavier imported crudes. That’s exactly the opposite of what has ended up happening with the largest growth in crude volumes coming from light sweet shale crudes and condensates. The sheer volume of new condensate and light crude coming on stream will cause these refiners a variety of problems. We can summarize these problems into three general categories.

First, refineries are designed to handle certain mixes of crude oils with some equipment handling the lighter fractions while other equipment handles the heavier ends (See Sandy Fielden’s Complex Refining 101). Put in a crude oil mix that has way too much of the light fractions, and the refiner’s equipment for handling that material gets maxed out. And as that happens, the refiner’s equipment for handling the heavier ends can become underutilized. A refiner can adjust to run the lighter crude mix – by cutting back on total capacity. It works, but it’s a costly way to fix the problem because expensive refining capacity is underutilized. Ultimately the only way to fix the problem is to invest in new processing equipment.

Second, condensates and light crudes have much lower yields of distillates (diesel, jet fuel) and much higher yields of naphthas (motor gasoline and similar products). This is a problem for refiners because gasoline prices are much cheaper than diesel prices and refiners are making big margins on distillate-derived products and less money on gasoline. So the lighter the input crude mix, the lower the margin.

Third, a number of complex refiners are just completing major upgrades planned years ago to run more heavy crudes. Essentially this makes problem #1 above worse for the refineries that went this direction. They have the ability to run more heavies just when the supply of lights and condensates is increasing.

For all of these reasons, the refinery system is starting to choke on light crudes and is responding with the one way to make the economics work out – reducing the price they will pay for condensates. That $15 dollar differential mentioned earlier could get larger in the coming months. So if larger volumes of condensates continue to go to refineries they will do so at a lower price.
Fifty Shades of Condensates – Where is All This Condensate Going?
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 29 Aug 2014, 23:56:50

Pusher - I searched NAFTA with respect to oil exports and still haven't found enough details. OTOH the US has been exporting oil to México and a dozen other Central and South American countries for years. Not huge volumes but exports none the less. The It's illegal to export US oil" rant is a gross misrepresentation of the dynamics especially when you factor in the huge volume of refined products cracked from US oil that's exported. IOW what's the practical difference for the US consumer between exporting 3 million bbls of US oil per day and exporting the refined products made from 3 million bbls of US oil per day?

Frank - Condensate, as that produced from the Eagle Ford Shale, is OIL. There is a lot of gasoline and diesel cracked from that light oil. Not as high a yield as some heavier oils but still substantial. Far to complex an issue to detail here. But if you want to begin to understand the reality here's a start:

http://www.turnermason.com/blog/2013/07 ... ed-crudes/

Some excepts: "Although light crudes are generally easier to process than heavy grades because they do not require the same level of upgrading (through coking and hydroprocessing), they do present their own unique challenges for refiners. When compared to Bonny Light, a typical light foreign crude, Eagle Ford Crude has almost three times the light end yield (C1s through C4s) and nearly twice the naphtha volume. At the same time, Eagle Ford has substantially lower yields of both middle distillates and gas oil and approximately an equal volume of vacuum residue. Eagle Ford Condensate (greater than 55 API by our definition), which constitutes about 40% of the total field production, by our estimates, is even more skewed towards the lighter end of the barrel, and presents an even greater challenge for refineries designed to run heavier grades.

The final refinery impact from the processing of larger volumes of light crudes could be in the finished product mix. With the lighter crudes, more gasoline and refinery LPGs will result with lower yields of jet fuel, diesel, resid and asphalt. This shift could carry significant economic penalties, particularly because overall demand patterns, both domestically and globally, are generally moving in the opposite direction (stronger distillate demand growth compared to gasoline). The construction of hydrocracking units designed for maximum distillate yield is perhaps the most effective capital option to help “shape” the product yields to be more in-tune with market demand, but these units are very expensive to build."

Bottom line: a significant volume of motor fuel can be made from the condensates. The technology was established decades ago. The chemistry isn't the problem...the cost is the hang up. But US refineries are spending $billions to do just that. Also some Gulf Coast refineries would buy EFS condensate and swap if for heavier oil from a foreign refinery: each can make a better crack spread with the others oil. Such "paper swaps" were done years ago allowing North Slope oil to be shipped to Japan even though it was illegal to exports US oil at the time.
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby toolpush » Sat 30 Aug 2014, 01:20:53

Rockman,

Thanks for the research. Everybody seems to be looking at this from the oil law perspective. From what I have experienced these international treaties tend to strip away sovereign rights and over ride national laws. I know the USA sometimes think they are above international laws, eg taxing your citizens no matter how long they have lived outside the country, is one example (please don't take offense). But I was looking what NAFTA brings to the table in regards to crude exports. Usually free trade agreements are suppose to work on the premise of total free trade and then have special exemptions for certain products. Agriculture always come to mind.

So a quick search of NAFTA for energy trade shows the following.
https://www.nafta-sec-alena.org/Default ... uage=en-US
Exception to Article 603

For only those goods listed below, Mexico may restrict the granting of import and export licenses for the sole purpose of reserving foreign trade in these goods to itself.



2707.50

Other aromatic hydrocarbon mixtures of which 65 percent or more by volume (including losses) distills at 250 C by the ASTM D 86 method.

2707.99

Rubber extender oils, solvent naphtha and carbon black feedstocks only.

2709

Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude.


Now my reading of that says, Mexico has the right to limit the trade in crude oil, but there doesn't seem to mention the US having reserved any rights to ban/control any trade in Crude. Now this is where I get to include the famous line, I am not a Lawyer, BUT, it reads to me if NAFTA over rides national laws, then if Mexico wants, they can issue licences to import crude from the US, but under free trade law (NAFTA) the US must trade in said crude oil and would not be able to hide behind national laws?

I have only had a quick look as someone is actually paying me at the moment to do other things, but I would be very interest to hear any feed back on this, especially anyone with legal and or NAFTA background.
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby westexas » Sat 30 Aug 2014, 13:17:00

Kurt Cobb's article on crude oil versus condensate, and other liquids:

Did crude oil production actually peak in 2005?
http://resourceinsights.blogspot.com/20 ... -peak.html

Here's what's being added to underlying crude oil production and labeled as oil by the oil companies and reporting agencies:


• Biofuels - Essentially ethanol and biodiesel.

• Natural gas plant liquids - Butane, ethane, pentanes, propane and other non-methane components of raw natural gas.

• Lease condensate - Very light hydrocarbons gathered on leased production sites from both oil and natural gas wells, often referred to as "natural gasoline" because it can in a pinch be used to power gasoline engines though it doesn't have the octane of gasoline produced at refineries.

• Refinery gain - The most puzzling addition of all to crude oil supply calculations. This is merely the increase in the volume of refinery outputs such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel versus the volume of crude oil inputs. It is due entirely to the expansion of the liquids produced, but indicates no actual gain in energy. In fact, great gobs of energy are EXPENDED in the refinery process to give us what we actually want.

Let's see if any of these non-oil things are acceptable as oil at major exchanges. Perhaps the most recognizable oil futures contract is the so-called Light Sweet Crude Oil contract. The exchange sponsoring that contract details in seven pages (of a much longer rulebook) what is acceptable to deliver to those who choose to take delivery on their contracts.

A search for three of the four items (and their subitems) listed above predictably comes up empty. But, the search for lease condensate produces a hit. Here's what the exchange says about lease condensate when discussing acceptable delivery of oil:

"For the purpose of this contract, condensates are excluded from the definition of crude petroleum."
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 30 Aug 2014, 13:42:14

Pusher - My problem also: I'm babysitting a well that is just about to cut a partially depleted sand: 6# gradient reservoir in a 11# shales. I parked off location but can't run fast enough to get to it. I picked a bad day to stop drinking. LOL. Hanging out here at the moment is the only distraction I have available.

I think your perception is correct despite my not finding it written so clearly. But in the past México didn't have a need for US oil but US refined products. PEMEX wasn't able to crack enough Mexican oil less any more from the US. But now they see the opportunity to spend a good bit of capex to use relatively cheap EFS production They can refine and sub for those expensive product imports from the US. But not risk free: if US refiners continue to adjust for this grade and if production slides in the next few years those refinery investments might not pay off.
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby Pops » Sat 30 Aug 2014, 13:56:22

So you all are going to have to help me out here.

I've also repeated the mantra about "Refinery Gain" being some kind of a statistical scam that inflates the production volume. But when I actually went to check it some time ago I found that the scandalous refinery gain - is actually a loss.

In fact the EIA says refinery gain added a negative 402mmbbl last year ...

Image


Now I'm no Einstein but I'm pretty sure if you add a negative number you lower the total (of All Liquids).

EIA definitions:
Processing Gain
The volumetric amount by which total output is greater than input for a given period of time. This difference is due to the processing of crude oil into products which, in total, have a lower specific gravity than the crude oil processed.

Processing Loss
The volumetric amount by which total refinery output is less than input for a given period of time. This difference is due to the processing of crude oil into products which, in total, have a higher specific gravity than the crude oil processed.


So if the argument is LTO is in fact lighter than previous flows, and refiners are waving their magic (to me )wands over it to spit out products with a "higher specific gravity than the crude oil processed" wouldn't that mean that the all liquids total is lowered by that negative amount rather than raised?
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Re: Mexico needs to import crude oil, not condensate

Unread postby Pops » Sat 30 Aug 2014, 19:54:04

So after saying all that I look at the Monthly Energy Review August 2014, pg 37, Table 3.1 Petroleum Overview and it tells me Processing G averages 1,088 mb/d this year.

In the same table is NGPL so perhaps that is the gain?

Thoroughly confused now.

http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/pdf/mer.pdf
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