• 2 days Iraq Begins To Rebuild Largest Refinery
  • 2 days Canadian Producers Struggle To Find Transport Oil Cargo
  • 2 days Venezuela’s PDVSA Makes $539M Interest Payments On Bonds
  • 2 days China's CNPC Considers Taking Over South Pars Gas Field
  • 2 days BP To Invest $200 Million In Solar
  • 2 days Tesla Opens New Showroom In NYC
  • 3 days Petrobras CEO Hints At New Partner In Oil-Rich Campos Basin
  • 3 days Venezuela Sells Oil Refinery Stake To Cuba
  • 3 days Tesla Is “Headed For A Brick Wall”
  • 3 days Norwegian Pension Fund Set to Divest From Oil Sands and Coal Ventures
  • 3 days IEA: “2018 Might Not Be Quite So Happy For OPEC Producers”
  • 3 days Goldman Bullish On Oil Markets
  • 3 days OPEC Member Nigeria To Issue Africa’s First Sovereign Green Bond
  • 3 days Nigeria To Spend $1B Of Oil Money Fighting Boko Haram
  • 3 days Syria Aims To Begin Offshore Gas Exploration In 2019
  • 4 days Australian Watchdog Blocks BP Fuel Station Acquisition
  • 4 days Colombia Boosts Oil & Gas Investment
  • 4 days Environmentalists Rev Up Anti-Keystone XL Angst Amongst Landowners
  • 4 days Venezuelan Default Swap Bonds At 19.25 Cents On The Dollar
  • 4 days Aramco On The Hunt For IPO Global Coordinators
  • 4 days ADNOC Distribution Jumps 16% At Market Debut In UAE
  • 4 days India Feels the Pinch As Oil Prices Rise
  • 5 days Aramco Announces $40 Billion Investment Program
  • 5 days Top Insurer Axa To Exit Oil Sands
  • 5 days API Reports Huge Crude Draw
  • 5 days Venezuela “Can’t Even Write A Check For $21.5M Dollars.”
  • 5 days EIA Lowers 2018 Oil Demand Growth Estimates By 40,000 Bpd
  • 5 days Trump Set To Open Atlantic Coast To Oil, Gas Drilling
  • 5 days Norway’s Oil And Gas Investment To Drop For Fourth Consecutive Year
  • 6 days Saudis Plan To Hike Gasoline Prices By 80% In January
  • 6 days Exxon To Start Reporting On Climate Change Effect
  • 6 days US Geological Survey To Reevaluate Bakken Oil Reserves
  • 6 days Brazil Cuts Local Content Requirements to Attract Oil Investors
  • 6 days Forties Pipeline Could Remain Shuttered For Weeks
  • 6 days Desjardins Ends Energy Loan Moratorium
  • 6 days ADNOC Distribution IPO Valuation Could Be Lesson For Aramco
  • 6 days Russia May Turn To Cryptocurrencies For Oil Trade
  • 7 days Iraq-Iran Oil Swap Deal To Run For 1 Year
  • 9 days Venezuelan Crude Exports To U.S. Fall To 15-year Lows
  • 9 days Mexico Blames Brazil For Failing Auction

Breaking News:

Iraq Begins To Rebuild Largest Refinery

Alt Text

Two Factors Driving Electric Aircraft

Two factors are driving the…

Alt Text

Oil Markets Calm After OPEC Storm

Following a volatile build up…

Alt Text

The Billionaires Betting On Space Travel

Humans have always had a…

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and…

More Info

Oil Investors Are Growing Impatient


The renewed optimism in the oil markets and the $55-plus WTI prices may have warranted frenzied production growth across the U.S. shale patch, if it wasn’t for the 2015-2016 downturn.

U.S. oil and gas companies are surely happier now than they were in June this year when WTI prices dropped to below $43 a barrel, but they have been preaching spending-discipline as the sting from the oil price plunge is still fresh.

However, investors are not buying the ‘discipline’ narrative, and fear that the higher the WTI price goes up, the more U.S. shale drillers will want to return to growing production. Investors have also grown increasingly wary of the fact that they have received meager returns so far for their investments in U.S. oil firms and will not be too willing to pour in new financing just to see drillers grow production and not grow returns to shareholders.

This investor impatience over the lack of meaningful returns could lead to less funding and less appetite for mergers across the U.S. shale patch next year, Bloomberg’s Alex Nussbaum says.

This year, equity issues by U.S. oil and gas firms have halved, and after a strong start to the year, mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings (IPOs) have started to wane going into the second half of 2017, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

Related: Oil Price Boom Keeps Lid On Natural Gas Prices

While last year equity issues from U.S. energy firms neared a record, with $41 billion worth of stock issues, this year the share offerings have halved to $19.9 billion and are on course to post an eight-year-low. While companies have halved the amount for which they are tapping shareholders for share issues, they have nearly doubled the debt taken via bond issues, to more than $50 billion, according to data crunched by Bloomberg.

In mergers and acquisitions (M&A), the frenzied start to this year with drillers grabbing Permian acreage has worn off, and the values of the deals have decreased in the second half of 2017.

In October, PwC said in its Q3 2017 quarterly US Oil & Gas deals report that although the number of oil and gas deals in the U.S. rose in the third quarter, their total value dropped substantially as companies seek smaller, bolt-on acquisitions to fine-tune and rationalize their portfolios after the period of big transformational mega-deals.

The appetite for acquisitions just for the sake of adding more wells to drill is tapering off, Bobby Tudor, chairman of Houston-based investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt & Co, told Bloomberg.

Before this sentiment turns, investors will want a couple of quarters in which companies show fiscal discipline and boost cash flows, according to Tudor.

“The equity window is closed,” Tudor told Bloomberg. “The market is basically saying, ‘No, I’d rather you grow less and actually give me back some money,” he said.   

There is a drive among the U.S. shale patch to heed investor concerns and prioritize value over volumes, and profits over production.

Oil billionaire and Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm has been one of the most vocal preachers of ‘discipline’ this year, and has been warning fellow drillers not to repeat the pre-crash strategy of growing production at any cost.

When WTI was in the mid-$40s at the end of June, he told CNBC:

“While this period of adjustment is going on, producers don’t want to drill themselves into oblivion. Back up, and be prudent and use some discipline.” Related: Gas Shortage Has China Backtracking On Coal Ban

Then last week, just after OPEC rolled over the production cuts until the end of 2018 when WTI was over $56, Hamm said that the U.S. drillers would not return to the lavish spending days from before the downturn, because companies are now much more disciplined in their finances and looking to boost profits.  

“That’s not the deal anymore, and finally the analysts and everybody else caught on. Shareholders caught on and said, ‘We’re not going to put money in there just for growth’s sake. We want a return, a good return on capital employed,’” Hamm told CNBC.

“That new dynamic has entered into the market, and it’s affecting everybody out here, and thank God it’s there,” Hamm said.

So next year much of the focus of the U.S. oil industry will likely be on growing cash flow rather than growing production, and producers will be less likely to “drill themselves into oblivion”.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Jman on December 07 2017 said:
    So at a time of global oversupply massively compensated "expert" oil executives who were going to "crush OPEC" apparently thought it a good idea to go ahead and drilled lights out to further pump production, dump prices and lose money...err I digress. I mean who could have foreseen that a further pumping of production during a glut would lead to low prices and lost money, WINNING. And this is the decision making we are paying our high paid executives for? And now they will be praised for being more "constrained" and focusing on profit. LOL

    And where were the analysts in all this? Are they not tasked with watching the hen house??? Who of these experts were running the hard numbers and applying some logic? This whole thing stinks something rotten very rotten.
  • Citizen Oil on December 07 2017 said:
    This has been written several times in the last 6 months and yet every month we're into new records of production. The shale producers are talking out both sides of their mouths . It s a game of greed . The owners know this is going to end poorly but want to siphon their millions out to retire wealthy men. No regard for shareholder value and finally the shareholders are being activists.

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News