Is the Oil Industry Dying?

(psmag.com) Talking about “peak oil” can feel very last decade. In fact, the question is still current. Petroleum markets are so glutted and prices are so low that most industry commenters think any worry about future oil supplies is pointless. The glut and price dip, however, are hardly indications of a healthy industry; instead, they are symptoms of an increasing inability to match production cost, supply, and demand in a way that’s profitable for producers but affordable for society. Is this what peak oil looks like?

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The Death of OPEC

(Project Syndicate) The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is dead. Saudi Arabia killed it. Now, OPEC is just a toothless zombie, attracting attention, but without having any impact on the living.

Few have noticed OPEC’s demise for a simple reason: it never really had the impact that it was widely perceived to have. It was never actually a cartel, possessing monopolistic market power. Anyone who thought otherwise was mistakenly attributing to it Saudi Arabia’s market power.

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No One Knows How Much Oil Is Being Stored Around the World

(technologyreview.com) Peak oil, if it even exists , is very much a moving target . But so, it turns out, is measuring how much oil is already above ground, sitting in the holds of ships and in storage facilities around the world.

It’s not that humanity is fundamentally incapable of measuring how much oil we are extracting—it’s that many countries don’t report their inventories.

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Saudi Arabia Offers Hope For An Oil Price Rally

(oilprice.com) Crude oil prices hit a 10-week low on Tuesday, but one piece of data from Saudi Arabia could provide a glimmer of hope for those longing for an oil price rally. Saudi Arabia is burning through some of its oil inventories as exports combined with scorching domestic demand exceed its total production. In 2015, Saudi Arabia built up crude storage levels to a record high, as the kingdom stepped up production in the face of a global supply surplus.

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Shell Rig

Why Oil Prices Might Not Rebound Until 2019

(oilprice.com) It’s a safe bet that investors are getting increasingly tired of all the conflicting forecasts about oil and gas prices. Some argue that oil is heading back to $20 thanks to the continuing excess supply. Others claim that the excess is overestimated and crude is well on its way to reach $80 or more by the end of the year. The likely truth, as usual, is somewhere in the middle, at least for the time being.

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« Oil Prices Lower Forever? Hard Times In A Failing Global Economy

(artberman.com) Two years into the global oil-price collapse, it seems unlikely that prices will return to sustained levels above $70 per barrel any time soon or perhaps, ever. That is because the global economy is exhausted.

The current oil-price rally is over as I predicted several months ago and prices are heading toward $40 per barrel.

Oil has been re-valued to affordable levels based on the real value of money. The market now accepts the erroneous producer claims of profitability below the cost of production and has adjusted expectations accordingly. Be careful of what you ask for.

Meanwhile, a global uprising is unfolding.

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Future shale production will hinge on technology, EIA says

(fuelfix.com) HOUSTON – After the energy bust, the future of U.S. shale oil will depend greatly on how quickly drilling technology can evolve over the next 25 years, the Energy Information Administration says.

Rapid technological change and high energy prices could help domestic drillers push shale oil production to 12.9 million barrels a day by 2040, up from last year’s 4.9 million barrels a day, the EIA said Monday in an early look at some of its long-term projections due in a report later this month.

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Rig Count Matters: Separating The Signal From The Noise in Oil Market Opinion

(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.

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Peak Oil and Runaway China: A Dangerous Combination of Memes

(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.

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Oil Price May Have Bottomed Out But China’s Flat Demand Spells Trouble

(Forbes) As the Brent front-month futures contract stabilizes either side of the $40 per barrel level, and WTI lurks within that range too, a comment by the International Energy Agency that the “oil price may have bottomed out” has triggered a lot of market interest.

In its monthly oil forecast for March, the IEA, which advises on energy policy matters of industrialized nations, noted that non-OPEC oil production would fall by 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2016, compared with its previous estimate of 600,000 bpd. Specifically, US production is forecast to decline by 530,000 bpd this year.

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What Happened to Peak Oil?

(greentechmedia.com) Peak oil is the point at which global oil production peaks and can only go down. M. King Hubbert developed the theory of peak oil after observing this pattern in individual oil fields and then extrapolating these trends to the U.S., accurately predicting a peak in U.S. production by 1970.

But in the last few years, as U.S. oil production has dramatically ramped up, many peak oil believers have been left looking a bit silly.

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The Shale Reckoning Comes to Oklahoma

(Bloomberg) In January 2012, I traveled to Oklahoma City for the first time to report on what was considered a surprising development: a U.S. oil boom. Until then, hydraulic fracturing—aka fracking—was best known for boosting U.S. natural gas production. It was just starting to be used to unlock oil trapped in deep underground layers of rock like the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, the Eagle Ford in Texas, and the Mississippi Lime in Oklahoma.

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Natural Gas Price Increase Inevitable In 2016

(Forbes) Every week, the EIA proclaims a new record for natural gas production. But their own forecasts show that the U.S. will be short on supply by October of this year. A price increase is inevitable beginning later in 2016.

The popular myth is that gas production will continue to increase and that prices will remain low for years. In the myth, price has no effect on production. The reality is that price matters and production is down 1.2 bcfd1 since September 2015 (Figure 1)

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Why Goldman Sachs Says $30 Oil Isn’t Proof of Weak Demand

(Bloomberg) Oil’s collapse to $27 a barrel last week spurred concern that, on top of the existing oversupply, the market is facing a demand crisis. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. thinks that’s wrong.

Over the past six weeks, long-term oil futures — for deliveries in five years’ time — have fallen even harder than prices for immediate supplies.

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The Fallacy Of Peak Oil Demand

(Forbes) I have seen the handwriting on the wall for the coal industry for more than a decade. Not only is coal the most carbon-intensive of the fossil fuels, it is also the fuel that has the greatest number of potential replacements. Renewables may ultimately scale to displace a substantial fraction of our coal consumption, but it’s natural gas and nuclear power that spell the beginning of coal’s demise.

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