• 5 minutes China Faces Economic Collapse
  • 8 minutes ZeroHedge: Oil And Gas Bankruptcies To Accelerate As $137 Billion Debt Matures Over Next Two Years
  • 11 minutes Trump Will Win In 2020
  • 14 minutes Oil Production Growth In U.S. Grinds To A Halt
  • 6 hours The Belt & Road Initiative: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?
  • 5 hours Democrats and Gun Views
  • 6 hours How OPEC and OECD play their role in setting oil price in light of Iranian oil sanction ?? Does the world agree with Iran's oil sanctions ???
  • 6 mins Drone attacks cause fire at two Saudi Aramco facilities, blaze now under control
  • 7 hours Buy Oil Monday?
  • 2 hours Swedish Behavioral Scientist Suggests Eating Humans to ‘Save the Planet’ from Climate Change. What could possibly go wrong?
  • 12 mins Cost of oil
  • 4 hours “Who’s going to bail out the Central Banks?”
  • 3 hours Trump Orders Biofuel Boost
  • 12 hours It's the demand, Stupid
  • 9 hours Long Range Attack On Saudi Oil Field Ends War On Yemen
  • 6 hours Green New Deal Preview in Texas Town
  • 6 hours Used Thin Film Solar Panels at 15 Cents per Watt
The Challengers To China’s Rare Earth Monopoly

The Challengers To China’s Rare Earth Monopoly

Rare earth metals have been…

Is OPEC’s No.2 Finally Cutting Production?

Is OPEC’s No.2 Finally Cutting Production?

Since OPEC started restricting oil…

This May Just Be The Start Of The Oil Price War Says IEA

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi may be one of the most powerful individuals in the global oil industry. After all, as the top oil official in arguably the world’s most influential oil-producing country, he has enormous influence.

But for all his power, is he the most ingenious? That question arises from the release of two reports on the current state of the oil industry that look at whether or not OPEC’s strategy of forcing US shale to cut back is succeeding.

The first, issued on May 12 by OPEC, says, in essence, that Saudi Arabia’s effort to keep its own oil production at near-record highs is succeeding in wresting market share back from US producers of shale oil, also called “light, tight oil” (LTO). The second, issued a day later by the International Energy Agency (IEA), agrees, but only up to a point.

Related: How Much Longer Can The Oil Age Last?

“In the supposed standoff between OPEC and U.S. light tight oil (LTO), LTO appears to have blinked,” the IEA reported. “Following months of cost cutting and a 60 percent plunge in the U.S. rig count, the relentless rise in U.S. supply seems to be finally abating.”

But the report from the Paris-based IEA, which advises 29 industrialized countries on energy policy, also pointed to a rebound in oil prices that could benefit US shale producers.

As both the OPEC and IEA reports point out, the decline in US shale oil output has somewhat reduced the oil glut and led oil prices to rally up to about $65 per barrel. And the IEA adds that this brings LTO back above the threshold where its production becomes profitable again.

Related: Oil Markets Have Little To Fear From Iran For Now

But that, evidently, isn’t good enough for both domestic and foreign shale drillers in the United States, and this is where ingenuity enters the picture. “Several large LTO producers have been boasting of achieving large reductions in production costs in recent weeks,” the report said.

For example, Statoil, Norway’s huge state-owned energy company, is trying out new techniques of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Texas’ Eagle Ford shale field. They include using different grades of sand to mix with water and chemicals, and drilling at varying depths, to increase oil yields.

Related: Did Low Oil Prices Actually Hurt U.S. Economy?

“There’s a proverb in Norway that says necessity teaches the naked woman how to knit,” Bjorn Otto Sverdrup, a Statoil vice president, told The New York Times, during a tour of the company's shale operations in Kennedy, Texas.

Evidently this mother of invention is showing some success. Statoil may have cut the number of its rigs at Eagle Ford from three to two in 2014, but its production from the shale field is up by one-third. The new fracking method has also cut the cost of extraction from an average of $4.5 million per well to $3.5 million, in part because it’s been able to reduce drilling time from an average of 21 days to 17.

Against this backdrop, then, it’s not surprising that the IEA isn’t so sure that OPEC in general, and al-Naimi in particular, have the upper hand – yet. “It would thus be premature to suggest that OPEC has won the battle for market share,” the agency’s report said. “The battle, rather, has just started.”

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play