In reviewing BP’s latest Statistic Review of World Energy, the big story for world oil last year was obvious: the USA’s third straight record-breaking increase in average annual production. Just over 75% of the net increase in world oil production during 2014 came from the USA; add in Canada and 90% of the total increase came from North America. Throw in Brazil’s first significant increase in three years and you have all the world’s net gain in world oil production accounted for by three non-OPEC players. Production from all other producers combined was flat. So the question for 2015 is straightforward: will we see a repeat of those gains…and the flat-liners?
Tom Whipple is the editor of ASPO-USA’s two flagship publications, Peak Oil News and Peak Oil Review. Tom is a former senior analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Since retiring from the CIA, Tom has become a well-known researcher and writer on energy and oil issues. Tom writes a weekly column on peak oil for the Falls Church News, a daily newspaper based in northern Virginia. Tom holds degrees from Rice University and the London School of Economics.
“U.S. production is about to have a Wile E. Coyote moment where it literally falls off a cliff. One-hundred-and-twenty-thousand barrels, maybe even next month, will drop off…. The supply and demand mismatch will probably come in 2017.”
Emad Mostaque, analyst with London-based consultancy Ecstrat
New York oil lost 35 cents last week closing at $40.39 a barrel after having dipped just before settlement to $38.99, the lowest price since August. In London Brent closed up 1.1 percent for the week at $44.66. Prices were weaker in the US as nationwide crude stocks climbed by 252,000 barrels, but stocks at Cushing, Ok storage depot rose by 1.8 million barrels. The US rig count was down by ten last week, after a two-rig increase the week before. Russia and the Saudis continue to pump at or near maximum capacity. Most brokers are expecting that Iran will be back into the markets in the first quarter of 2016 at about 500,000 b/d day to start.
“The message from oil services firms is that shale drillers will not simply be able to turn the tap back on again once prices rise. Halliburton said on its earnings call last month that pressure pumping equipment currently sitting idle was being cannibalized for parts while the stuff still being used was being worked to its limits. And the falling backlog of uncompleted wells will also begin to make an impact.”
Liam Denning, Bloomberg View columnist
Crude oil prices fell by 8 percent in New York and London last week, closing at $40.74 and $43.61 respectively. Continued growth in global crude stocks and uncertain economic outlooks for China and the US are still seen as the cause of the price slump. Short covering by speculators who believed we had already reached the bottom of the slump and a strong US dollar contributed to the decline. On Friday the IEA reported that at the end of September global crude stocks were at a new high of at least 3 billion barrels and growing. The Agency is not able to track stocks in smaller countries so actual storage is somewhat higher.
Exxon Mobil and climate change spin: “This could open up years of litigation and settlements in the same way that tobacco litigation did, also spearheaded by attorneys general. In some ways, the theory is similar — that the public was misled about something dangerous to health. Whether the same smoking guns will emerge, we don’t know yet.”
Brandon L. Garrett, professor at the University of Virginia School of Law
After a bounce last Tuesday, oil prices continued to fall closing on Friday at $44.29 in New York and $47.42 in London, down 4.9 percent and 4.3 percent for the week respectively. While oversupply and weak demand remains the basis for the price decline, the jump in US employment with the prospects of higher interest rates and a stronger dollar helped with the decline on Friday. The Wall Street Journal’s Dollar index was recently at its highest level in 13 years against the euro, yen and other currencies.
“”The industry is under so much pressure that you need to have a clear plan. You need to balance capital expenditure against production. Our capex in 2015 will be around 30 percent lower than in 2014.”
BG Group CEO Helge Lund [Q: how will that impact production in 3-5 years?]
It was a volatile week with oil prices falling on Monday and Tuesday, surging 6 percent on Wednesday and then stabilizing on Thursday and Friday. When it was over, prices were up for the week about 4.5 percent to $46.59 in New York and 3.3 percent to $49.56 in London. Crude prices have been more volatile this year than anytime since the 2008 crisis. Some of the large percentage moves we are seeing, however, are due to the relatively low prices as compared to recent years. The move on Thursday was generally assessed as being caused by computer trading signals coupled with a slightly bullish weekly stocks report. The report showed decreases in oil product stocks and crude in storage at Cushing, Okla. while overall US crude inventories continued to climb. On Friday another drop in the US oil-rig count was reported which led to a small price jump at the end of the day.
“We are witnessing the total collapse of Venezuela’s economy. A contraction of these proportions might be a unique case in the last 50 years in the world. This never happens. Even Iraq’s GDP didn’t fall proportionately during the war.”
Alexander Guerrero, economist and head of the firm Techno-Economic.
Oil prices continued to slide last week due to increasing inventories and a weakening Chinese economy. Prices have now fallen about $6 a barrel from the recent highs seen in late August and again in mid-October. New York futures closed Friday at $44.60 and London at $47.99 which is about at the bottom of the trading range we have seen since early September. Prices, however, are still some $4 – $5 a barrel higher than the lows of circa $40 and $44 a barrel set in mid-August.