By JOHN P. TRETBAR
Kansas Common crude at CHS in McPherson ended the year 2018 at $36.75 a barrel. That price was down six dollars from December 1st, and was fifteen dollars less than a year earlier. The average price in December was $50.75 per barrel.
The government reports a slight drop in U.S. crude oil production last week to 11.695 million barrels per day. Inventories remained virtually unchanged for the second straight week.
The weekly Rotary Rig Count from Baker Hughes reported a drop of eight oil rigs nationwide over the last week. Two of those were offshore rigs. California’s count dropped five rigs, Louisiana was down two and New Mexico dropped by one.
Independent Oil & Gas Service reports a slight increase in its weekly drilling rig count in Kansas. There were ten active rigs in eastern Kansas, down one, and 27 out west, up three. Operators are preparing to spud two new wells in Stafford County.
Operators filed six new drilling permits last week, including one in Barton County and one in Russell County. Independent Oil & Gas Service says there were 43 wells completed last week across Kansas, including one in Stafford County. There were 17 new completions in Western Kansas, of which four were dry holes.
The Kansas Geological Survey reported statewide crude-oil production figures for September were slightly lower than the month before at 2.77 million barrels. Cumulative statewide production through the third quarter of 2018 was just over 23.4 million barrels, about three million barrels less than last year, which was the worst year for Kansas production in a decade.
KGS said Barton County produced more than 136-thousand barrels in September, Ellis County added nearly 213-thousand. Russell County reported production of 122-thousand barrels, and Stafford County chipped in 78-thousand.
For the first time in recent memory, Barton County led the state in the number of intent-to-drill notices filed last year. A search the Kansas Corporation Commission Web site shows 61 intents filed in Barton County for the year, 58 in Ellis County, 17 in Russell County and 40 in Stafford County. Regulators approved 102 intents across the state last month, bringing the year-end total to 1,903. That’s nearly 400 more than last year, and nearly 800 more than the year before, but down more than five-thousand intents from the boom year of 2014.
Triple-A reports at least nine states, including Kansas, have average gasoline prices below two dollars a gallon. The average in the Sunflower State Monday was just over $1.93 per gallon. You can find regular gasoline as cheap as $1.87 in Great Bend, and $1.98 in Hays. Your 15-gallon fill-up will cost you about a dollar less than last week, and nearly four dollars cheaper than a month ago. The auto club says the national average Monday was $2.237, down nearly 20 cents from a month ago and 38 cents a gallon cheaper than a year ago.
The latest Energy Information Administration totals show national gasoline demand at 8.6 million barrels per day for the week ending December 28, the lowest on record since February of 2017. AAA said despite record motor vehicle travel for the holiday, demand was down nearly 900,000 barrels. Demand is expected to dwindle further during the winter months.
Output from OPEC fell by the most in almost two years in December, according to a Bloomberg survey. The half-million barrel-a-day reduction preceded a cut that was scheduled to start this month, highlighting the urgency the cartel feels to stem a market that’s been in free fall.