After a quick drop of $3-4 a barrel the week before last, oil prices steadied last week as the markets contemplated just how effective the OPEC/NOPEC production freeze will be in the short term. Speculators had enthusiastically embraced the production freeze when it was announced late last year and drove open interest in futures to record highs. The cuts, however, did not come fast enough or be deep enough to offset increasing oil production from other countries and lower demand. As one important trader put it, “The OPEC cuts were good enough to prevent a repeat of the glut of last year, but it’s a different story if you want to have oil at $60 or $70.” For now, the physical oil market continues to indicate an oversupply situation.
Noteworthy news, analysis, and viewpoints from around the web
(artberman.com) Rig count matters. Saying that it doesn’t is like a realtor saying that location doesn’t matter.
Rigs Don’t Produce Oil
The holiest mystery of shale plays is that so much production is possible with ever-fewer rigs.
But if we look at the number of producing wells, the mystery evaporates. That’s because rigs don’t produce oil and gas. Wells do.
Horizontal wells in a few tight oil plays tell most of the story for U.S. production. Figure 1 shows the rig count and number of producing wells for the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Permian, Niobrara, Mississippi Lime and Granite Wash plays. Figure 1. Tight oil horizontal rig count and number of producing wells. Source: Baker Hughes and Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc. Although rig counts decreased dramatically beginning in late 2014, the number of producing wells continued to increase until very recently. This may be a technical triumph for the drilling industry but it is no cause for oil producers to celebrate.
(rigzone.com) The layoffs continue in oil and gas as two more companies announce workforce reductions in Texas. Weatherford Artificial Lift Systems and Sun Fab Industrial Contracting are reducing staff by 90 and 125 employees, respectively, according to data sent to the Texas Workforce Commission.
Weatherford Artificial Lift Systems, a subsidiary of Weatherford International, is cutting 90 jobs at its manufacturing operations facility in Katy, Texas due to “a loss of business opportunities.”
(Bloomberg) The new Saudi oil minister, Khalid Al-Falih, says the oil glut is over. That means the kingdom’s war against U.S. shale producers is coming to an end, too. Who won it is a tough question to answer; on balance, it’s probably the Saudis, but they have paid a huge price, and the surviving U.S. frackers have also benefited.
(Reuters) Oil rallied on Monday, lifted by a wave of investor confidence and a weaker dollar after polls showed a diminishing chance that Britain may vote to leave the European Union later this week.
August Brent crude futures were up 90 cents at $50.07 a barrel by 0843 GMT, set for a gain of 6 percent in two trading days. NYMEX crude for July delivery, which expires on Tuesday, was up 80 cents at $48.78 a barrel.
(Reuters) Two years into the worst oil price rout in a generation, large and mid-sized U.S. independent producers are surviving and eyeing growth again as oil nears $50 a barrel, confounding OPEC and Saudi Arabia with their resiliency.
That shale giants Hess Corp ( HES.N ), Apache Corp ( APA.N ) and more than 25 other companies have beaten back OPEC’s attempt to sideline them would have been unthinkable just months ago, when oil plumbed $26 a barrel and collapses were feared.
(Bloomberg) Ultra Petroleum Corp. was a shale success story. A former penny stock that made the big leagues, it was worth almost $15 billion at its 2012 peak.
Then came the bust. Almost half of Ultra’s reserves were erased from its books this year. The company filed for bankruptcy on April 29 owing $3.9 billion.
(oilprice.com) The disruptions in global oil supplies are at their highest level since 2011. That comes from an updated assessment from the EIA, which shows total disruptions in oil production at more than 3.6 million barrels per day in May (mb/d), the highest monthly total since the EIA began tracking the data in January 2011. The outages hit major oil supplies across the world. At its worst, Canada saw more than 1 million barrels per day knocked offline because of the wildfires near Fort McMurray. That production is starting to come back online, however, and was always thought to be a temporary disruption.
(The Economic Times) India has surpassed Japan to become the world’s third-largest oil consumer, with its oil demand galloping 8.1 per cent in 2015, according to BP Statistical Review of World Energy released today.
With demand of 4.1 million barrels per day, India is the third-largest consumer behind US (19.39 million bpd) and China (11.96 million bpd). India accounted for 4.5 per cent of world oil consumption in 2015.
(Hellenic Shipping News) Iraq is pumping more oil than ever before, even as ISIS-fueled chaos grips parts of the Middle Eastern country.
Iraq, which relies on oil to fund nearly its entire government, increased daily oil production to an all-time high of 4.5 million barrels in May, according to estimates from research firm JBC Energy.
(The Telegraph) McKinsey has slashed their forecasts for the world’s energy use even as global economic growth climbs Global oil demand could peak by the end of the next decade even as global economic growth climbs.
The latest downward revision to forecasts, from consulting firm McKinsey, could leave major new investments uneconomic if demand for energy fails to meet expectations.
(Forbes) When Wood Mackenzie reported in the Fall that $1.5 trillion in potential global oil projects were uneconomic oil cost $51 a barrel, about what it costs now. The industry is making big cuts in CAPEX and upstream investments, and more than $200 billion in oil and gas investments evaporated in 2015. There’s still about 1.3 million b/d of surplus oil on the global market, and just the other day “OPEC Fails to Reach Agreement on Oil Production Ceiling.”
(New Scientist) THIS is a curious time to publish a biography of M. King Hubbert. The story of how this brilliant but irascible Shell geologist accurately forecast in 1956 that US oil production would peak and go into terminal decline by 1970 is by now well worn. Worse, after the supply crunch of 2008 that sent the price soaring to $147 per barrel and was widely mistaken for the global peak, the world is now swimming in oil once more, and the price languishes at around $50.
(Bloomberg) OPEC’s meetings in Vienna have for decades offered a heady mix of wealth, power and intrigue. The latest one may feel more like a wake.
The closest OPEC came to operating like a true oil cartel was in the early 1970s. Back then, it controlled more than half the world’s oil supply and was more or less aligned in trying to manage pricing and, for many members, throwing off the remnants of colonialism.
(seekingalpha.com) If you have been following what we have been writing you will know that we have become bullish on oil (NYSEARCA: USO ) prices for the next few years.
As with most of our opinions we have arrived at this one by listening to what some of the world’s best investors are saying about oil and why they are saying it.
We believe that Jeremy Grantham is another voice worth paying attention to, and it turns out that he too believes oil is going higher, perhaps significantly so. Source: GMO.
(Reuters) Brent oil futures climbed above $50 a barrel on Thursday for the first time in nearly seven months as a global supply glut that plagued the market for nearly two years showed signs of easing.
Oil prices have rallied in recent weeks as a string of outages, due in part to wildfires in Canada and unrest in Nigeria and Libya, knocked out nearly 4 million barrels per day of production.
(oilprice.com) A report by Rystad Energy has revealed that new oil discoveries in 2015 totaled 12.1 billion barrels, which is the least amount of new oil discovered in a single year since 1952.
Last year was also the fifth year in a row in which the amount of new reserves discovered was smaller than in the previous year.
E&Ps have slashed their exploration budgets repeatedly in a bid to weather the effects of the oil price drop. They’ve laid off hundreds of thousands of staff and have focused on staying afloat, lacking not just the money, but also the motivation to look for new oil when profitability is questionable.
(Bloomberg) Global crude supplies will start to dwindle in as little as two years, boosting prices, as the industry cuts investment to weather the worst market collapse in a generation, according to Statoil ASA.
Oil companies reduced capital expenditure last year and are likely to cut it further this year and next, Statoil’s Chief Financial Officer Hans Jakob Hegge said in an interview in London. Lower spending means there could be a “significant effect” on crude supply after 2020, he said.
(artberman.com) The global oil market is returning to balance based on the latest data from the EIA. That should mean higher oil prices but how high must prices be to save the industry?
Data suggests that oil producers need prices in the $70-80 range to survive. That is unlikely in the next year or so. Without more timely price relief, the future looks grim for an industry on life support.
(The National) From 2004 to 2008 and 2010 to 2014, oil production and prices both rose. The price increases were completely divorced from the market principle of a supply-demand balance. In the middle of 2014, the price momentum ran out of steam and prices began sinking in a bog of unconsumed, overproduced, expensive new oil.
That market disorder should have been a reason for concern. Unfortunately, greed suppressed the voices that raised the alarm and warned of the long-term dangers of short-term gains.
(Bloomberg) Saudi Arabia is getting ready for the twilight of the oil age by creating the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund for the kingdom’s most prized assets.
Over a five-hour conversation, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman laid out his vision for the Public Investment Fund, which will eventually control more than $2 trillion and help wean the kingdom off oil. As part of that strategy, the prince said Saudi will sell shares in Aramco’s parent company and transform the oil giant into an industrial conglomerate.
(Bloomberg via WorldOil.com) RIYADH — Saudi Arabia will only freeze its oil output if Iran and other major producers do so, the kingdom’s deputy crown prince said, challenging the country’s main regional rival to take an active role in stabilizing the over-supplied global crude market.
The warning by Mohammed bin Salman, 30, who’s emerged as Saudi Arabia’s leading political force, leaves the outcome of a meeting between OPEC and other big oil producers this month in question. Iran has already said it plans to boost its production after the lifting of sanctions following a deal to curb the country’s nuclear program.
(Reuters) A pump jack stands idle in Dewitt County, Texas January 13, 2016. As oil prices nosedived by two-thirds since 2014, a belief took hold in global energy markets that for prices to recover, many U.S. shale producers would first have to falter to allow markets to rebalance.
With U.S. oil prices now trading below $40 a barrel, the corporate casualties are already mounting. More than 50 North American oil and gas producers have entered bankruptcy since early 2015, according to a Reuters review of regulatory filings and other data. While those firms account for only about 1 percent of U.S. output, based on the analysis, that count is expected to rise.
(EconomicCalendar.com) Costs associated with shale oil exploration and production decreased by a third in 2015 thanks to implementation of more effective technologies. Experts are certain that this could affect crude oil prices in the short term.
Costs beared by US shale producers shrunk by 25-30% last year in comparison to their decade high in 2012. This is attributed to the usage of advanced technology that improved the effectiveness of both well drilling and post-drilling well development, according to research conducted by the energy industry consultant IHS Global Inc. and commissioned by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
(CFA Institute) Back in 2005, investors heard an endless chorus in the financial media around two memes: the end of oil, and the growth of China.
Oil production was supposedly hitting its upper limits. In 2005, the US Department of Energy published a study on the peaking of world oil production (.PDF) that stated:
Because oil prices have been relatively high for the past decade, oil companies have conducted extensive exploration over that period, but their results have been disappointing [….] This is but one of a number of trends that suggest the world is fast approaching the inevitable peaking of conventional world oil production [….] The world has never faced a problem like this [….] Previous energy transitions (wood to coal and coal to oil) were gradual and evolutionary; oil peaking will be abrupt and revolutionary.
(Econotimes) According to latest numbers from Baker Hughes, number of active oil rigs operating in United States has dropped to lowest levels since 2008/09 financial crisis. While back in October, 2014, the number of active rigs were at 1609 but as of last week it declined further by 15 rigs to 372, lowest since November, 2009.
In recent times, some market participants have taken note of the rig count to increase bullish bets on oil price recovery, suggesting drop in number of rigs indicating further declining in investments. However, our analysis suggests, when it comes to oil price recovery by changing fundamentals, other than intraday or few days boost, rigs count doesn’t matter much.