The Q1 earnings reports of oil and gas companies have so far sent mixed signals to investors – US refiners have been enjoying particularly strong results while upstream-focused players tended to stagnate – however the market was evidently not ready for Chinese economic data to come in so low. China’s PMI decline from 51.9 in March to 49.2 in April has shaken the last bastion of the oil bulls, the prospect of Chinese demand lifting oil prices out of their current apathy, and set the pace for a sizable weekly loss, OilPrice said. 

US oil major ExxonMobil is seeking to recoup some of its investments into fracking projects in Colombia as the government of that Latin American country is expected to ban fracking soon. Surpassing analysts’ expectations, US refiner Marathon Petroleum pulled off a 71% quarter-on-quarter surge in refining margins to $26/bbl in Q1 2023 and boosted its share buyback plans by $5 billion. UK-based energy major BP agreedto buy outShell’s 27% stake in the $20 billion Browse gas project, taking its overall ownership to 44%, overtaking operator Woodside Energy.

Ever since Pure Oil drilled its first well approximately a mile offshore in the US Gulf of Mexico back in 1938, the region has defined deepwater drilling in the country even as the Deepwater Horizon spill has tarnished its reputation. Production of oil and natural gas in the US Gulf is set for an almost 20% increase over the next three years, moving from its current level of 2.2 mboepd to an all-time high of 2.6 mboepd by 2025. This year has already seen two new producing platforms, Shell’s 100,000 b/d Vito and BP’s 140,000 b/d Argos, to be boosted in 2024-2025 with the launches of Whale, Anchor and Salamanca that are to add a further 235,000 b/d in capacity. Carbon capture and storage projects will become the next thrust of offshore developments in the US Gulf of Mexico as this year’s Offshore Technology Conference is dominated by CCS panels and renewable energy.