(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.”
Future global oil production is now at stake. Some are projecting that non-OPEC supply will contract this year for the first time since 2008. As for the world’s most important incremental producer in recent years, production in the U.S. may drop by 725,000 b/d this year, indicating a monthly reduction of 85,000 barrels a day for the rest of the year. Active crude oil rigs in the U.S. are now just 325, versus 860 in March 2015.
Considering that oil is the world’s most important source of energy, this lack of investment is a global concern. The oil industry is cyclical one, and eventually not developing new supply will catch up with us. Falling oil prices today are setting up an eventual spike up. “Long-term oil shortfall predicted by Wood Mackenzie.”
Although this lack of investment is unlikely to push oil to the $200 mark suggested by OPEC’s Secretary General, $100 oil will bring the U.S. shale oil drillers back because they can relatively quickly react to rising prices, the world really needs to be concerned that less investment now means much higher prices later. “We’ve had plenty of recessions caused by rising oil prices: 1973-75, 1980-81, and 1990-91.”