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Low oil prices for a long time to come: The world has changed in the last two years
Jun 23: A new argument claims that oil prices are going to stay low for a long time to come because the world has recalibrated the cost of production of oil in the last two years.
8This trend first became evident in the U.S. The collapse in revenues, along with heavy debt burdens, led to multiple bankruptcies and the expectation that prices would be “lower for longer.” Shale producers had no choice but to slash costs if they wanted to survive. In the process, they became more efficient, focused and innovative. A new well that might have cost $14 million in 2014 now costs $7 million. The gain in efficiency is so great that a dollar invested in U.S. shale today will produce about 2.5 times as much oil as a dollar invested in 2014 .
8n 2014, many thought a drop in price to $70 a barrel from $100 would shut down U.S. production. It didn’t. Today, new shale oil wells can be profitable at $40 to $50 a barrel, and some companies claim even lower. That makes possible a new surge in U.S. production—as much as 900,000 additional barrels a day over the course of this year. By next year, the U.S. is likely to hit the highest level of oil production in its entire history.
8This cost recalibration is happening everywhere. Canada’s oil sands have always been among the highest-cost, yet some new projects can produce near $50 a barrel. In Russia, costs have come down more than 50%. Even deep waters offshore can now produce at less than $50. In March the CEO of the Norwegian company Statoil said that owing to a wholesale redesign, a project in the North Sea that had originally required $75 a barrel to be economical now needs just $27 a barrel.
8This recalibration will push up supply more than had been anticipated, at least in the next few years. And if price of oil goes up, more output will kick in at much lower prices than before.
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