(Bloomberg) Somewhere amid the maze of wells that Murphy Oil Corp. has scattered across Texas’s sprawling Eagle Ford shale formation, Brett Pennington is carrying out a little experiment.
“If we stay at this [sub-$50 oil] price longer, then a third to a quarter of the [US] industry will go bankrupt. More activity could drive production, but that takes money and the US industry doesn’t have it anymore. We don’t believe that US production can grow at $50, $60, or even $70. It will likely take $80 per barrel cash flows to return the US from decline to growth.”
Walker Moody, Managing Director of Energy Investment firm Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.
Oil prices closed out the week about in the middle of the range where they have traded for the past month — $45.70 in New York and $48.60 in London. During September, prices bounced a dollar or two on news suggesting that demand for oil could increase or production might decline. Conversely, news suggesting that demand might sink or production might increase sent prices back down about the same amount. It appears we could be stuck in this trading range until there are better indications that the oil glut is shrinking; or more definitive news about the course of the global economy – particularly China’s; or there is some major geopolitical upheaval.
““I believe that arctic oil is not for today, and not for tomorrow — maybe for the day after tomorrow,”
Fatih Birol, incoming Director of the IEA
After some intra-week volatility, New York oil prices were unchanged for the week closing at $44.68. Brent, however, suffered a 3.2 percent weekly loss closing at $47.47. Much of the week’s oil-price action came on Friday after the US Federal Reserve announced on Thursday it was postponing any increase in interest rates. While such an announcement would normally support oil prices by lowering the value of the dollar, the oil markets jumped to the conclusion that the US economy must be in worse condition than is apparent and fell 5 percent in sympathy with the equity markets. A third weekly drop in the rig count did little to stem the tide as traders are getting use to the idea that small changes in the oil-rig count no longer have much impact on production.
(CNN) New oil and gas production projects worth $1.5 trillion are at risk because of plunging prices. Research firm Wood Mackenzie said the planned projects are unlikely to go ahead because they’re uneconomic at current prices of less than $50 a barrel.
View full article here: money.cnn.com
“On the face of it, the Saudi-led OPEC strategy to defend market share regardless of price appears to be having the intended effect of driving out costly, ‘inefficient’ production.”
International Energy Agency, September Oil Monthly Report
Oil traded in a narrow range last week between $44 and $46 per barrel in New York and $48 to $50 a barrel in London. Increases mostly came from news suggesting that better economic times might be ahead in some part of the world, while declines came when concerns about high inventory numbers, oversupply, and the outlook for China took precedence. US natural gas futures have cycled steadily between $2.73 per million BTUs and $2.64 for over a month now with little news to drive prices out of their trading range.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Chukchi and Beaufort seas hold 26 billion barrels of recoverable oil. “It’s probably fair to say, this [Shell’s drilling effort in the Chukchi sea] is the most scrutinized, analyzed project — oil and gas project — probably anywhere in the world. I’m actually sure of that. We can’t afford to have a problem here.”
Marvin Odum, CEO Shell Oil Co.
The three day, nearly 30 percent, price surge which began the week before last continued through last Monday, then slowed as the week progressed with New York crude closing Friday up 1.8 percent and Brent down by 0.9 percent. New York futures settled on Friday at $46.05 and London at $49.61.