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The Middle East's Critical Role In Natural Gas Production

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1. Q3 Earnings Calls to Focus on Capex Direction and Cost Management

- The news of ExxonMobil being in advanced talks to purchase US shale producer Pioneer Natural Resources for some $60 billion has set the scene for a very interesting period of Q3 earnings calls in the second half of October.

- When it comes to drilling costs, widespread expectations for 2024 to see lower well costs have been moderated on the back of the recent oil price rally, ongoing labor shortages, and sticker-than-expected oil service costs.

- Drilling activity has subsided amidst flattish exploration budgets, with 110 rigs leaving US fields in Q2, followed by another 42 in Q3, with almost two-thirds of them being oil-directed.

- Drillers’ cost management leads to slower production growth amidst plateauing well productivity metrics and depleting DUC inventories, with US shale production expected to decline in October to 9.39 million b/d, down 40,000 b/d month-on-month.

2. Middle East Hold Keys to New Gas Production

- As global gas production is expected to grow 12.5% between 2023 and 2030 to meet rising demand, the Middle East will become an ever-important source of new output.

- Saudi Arabia wants to eliminate crude burn from its power generation altogether and rely on a 50/50 split between renewable energy and natural gas, prompting it to double down on new gas projects.

- Beyond Saudi Arabia’s quest to produce 125 bcm of natural gas by…

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