LTO, IOCS, NITPS and CCS: Initial thoughts from CERAWeek in Houston

An oil pump in the Permian Basin near Midland, Texas, which is a primary source of ‘light tight oil’ (LTO). It is light in contrast to heavier crude found elsewhere in the world, and it is tight because it is often wedged in molecular form into shale and other sedimentary rocks like the features of the Permian Basin. (Reuters)
Updated 06 March 2018
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LTO, IOCS, NITPS and CCS: Initial thoughts from CERAWeek in Houston

HOUSTON: One of the great things about CERAWeek — the “oil man’s Davos” that meets annually in Houston, Texas — is that it is a crash course in energy industry acronyms. After just a couple of days in the Bayou City I feel I can hold my own with any oil baron over a dinner table where the conversation is comprised virtually 100 percent of initials and abbreviations in the peculiar argot of the energy business.
The learning process begins the very minute you arrive at the media center in the Hilton Americas hotel where the forum is held. A handout advises you that the event must be referred to in print as “CERAWeek by IHS Market,” denoting the official corporate identity of the phenomenon that began 37 years ago as Cambridge Energy Research Associates under Daniel Yergin, the Pulitzer Prize winning energy expert who is CERA’s driving force. Well OK.
In just a few hours, you’re off in a world of crude terminology (pun intended) that shows you what you’d been missing all those years. For example, I knew that WTI stood for West Texas Intermediate, a kind of oil found in these here parts and the benchmark for American oil pricing, but I did not know that it was a type of LTO — “light tight oil.”
It is light in contrast to heavier crude found elsewhere in the world, and it is tight because it is often wedged in molecular form into shale and other sedimentary rocks like the features of the Permian Basin, the big shale field that spans Texas and New Mexico, which is currently behind the boom in American oil production.
I soon grasped the difference between IOCs — independent oil companies like Exxon and BP — and NOCs, national oil companies like Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC, all of which are here in force in Houston.
But I began to really regard myself as an veteran oil man when I learned from Yergin himself of a third categorization of oil companies, which he called NITPs — Not In The Permian. The US shale boom is so lucrative that many IOCs and NOCs want to take part in the bonanza taking place in Texas.
A discreet dinner between members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), shale producers and oil money men discussed the possibility that some NOCs might also begin drilling for LTO in the Permian, but it was unclear whether there was any outcome to the prandial discussions.
One Alaskan senator began a speech with reference to the three Ps, by which he intended to signify plans, projects and personnel, but as soon as he got into his talk it became clear what he really meant was Permian, pipelines and permits. The US oil industry has really hit paydirt in Texas shale, but it needs the government and the environmental lobby to allow it to build the infrastructure to get the black stuff out to the market.
I ended the day on the other side of the energy divide, in a conversation about GHGs (green house gasses) and CCS (carbon capture and storage), among many other sets of initials. The environmental lobby has taken the acronym-fest to a whole new level.


US intelligence says Huawei funded by Chinese state security: report

Updated 20 April 2019
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US intelligence says Huawei funded by Chinese state security: report

  • The accusation comes at a time of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing
  • Huawei dismissed the allegations

US intelligence has accused Huawei Technologies of being funded by Chinese state security, The Times said on Saturday, adding to the list of allegations faced by the Chinese technology company in the West.
The CIA accused Huawei of receiving funding from China’s National Security Commission, the People’s Liberation Army and a third branch of the Chinese state intelligence network, the British newspaper reported, citing a source.
Earlier this year, US intelligence shared its claims with other members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, which includes Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, according to the report.
Huawei dismissed the allegations in a statement cited by the newspaper.
“Huawei does not comment on unsubstantiated allegations backed up by zero evidence from anonymous sources,” a Huawei representative told The Times.
The company, the CIA and Chinese state security agencies did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
The accusation comes at a time of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing and amid concerns in the United States that Huawei’s equipment could be used for espionage. The company has said the concerns are unfounded.
Authorities in the United States are probing Huawei for alleged sanctions violations.
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada in December at the request of the United States on charges of bank and wire fraud in violation of US sanctions against Iran.
She denies wrongdoing and her father has previously said the arrest was “politically motivated.”
Amid such charges, top educational institutions in the West have recently severed ties with Huawei to avoid losing federal funding.
Another Chinese technology company, ZTE Corp. , has also been at the center of similar controversies in the United States.
US sanctions forced ZTE to stop most business between April and July last year after Commerce Department officials said it broke a pact and was caught illegally shipping US-origin goods to Iran and North Korea. The sanctions were lifted after ZTE paid $1.4 billion in penalties.
Reuters reported earlier this week that the United States will push its allies at a meeting in Prague next month to adopt shared security and policy measures that will make it more difficult for Huawei to dominate 5G telecommunications networks.