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Expert Analysis: What To Expect In Energy Markets This Year

Expert Analysis: What To Expect In Energy Markets This Year

Energy expert Robert Rapier presents…

Oil Gains Momentum On Strong U.S. Economic Data

Oil Gains Momentum On Strong U.S. Economic Data

Oil continued to gain momentum…

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham is an independent journalist, covering oil and gas, energy and environmental policy, and international politics. He is based in Portland, Oregon. 

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The Biggest Losers In The Shale Slowdown

Schlumberger saw its debt rating downgraded by S&P due to the unfolding slowdown in drilling by U.S. shale companies.

The largest oilfield service company in the world has seen its earnings hit as the shale industry goes through a soft patch. S&P cut Schlumberger’s debt rating to A+, down from AA-. Meanwhile, Halliburton saw its outlook downgraded from “stable” to “negative.”

“Oilfield services companies will no longer be able to generate the high operating margins they did in 2014,” Carin Dehne-Kiley, an analyst at S&P, wrote in a report. “The oilfield services industry has fundamentally changed due to permanent efficiency and productivity gains realized by E&P companies as well as investor sentiment calling for E&P companies to live within cash flow and limit production growth.”

The sharp fall in oil prices late last year, which stretched into the first quarter of 2019, led to a rapid erosion in the U.S. rig count. The oil rig count fell by 5 to 797 for the week ending on May 24. The rebound in oil prices this year has not led to a corresponding bounce back in the rig count.

Shale companies have pulled back, making modest spending cuts amid the soft patch. Moreover, the U.S-China trade war may have killed off yet another rally, with gloom spreading across the industry. Another lengthy downturn would likely deepen the modest austerity measures implemented by shale producers,…


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