Friday, September 18, 2015
Bad news for oil industry is good news for speculators and investors
On September 10th the EIA reported a production decline in the Lower 48—essentially shale production—of 208,000 BOPD. That is a staggeringly enormous number, approximately 10 percent of the estimated global over-supply. Additionally, it was a week-over-week number which makes it all the more impressive. Yet it received little attention through the week. Rather, Goldman Sachs was grabbing all the headlines with its $20 call on oil.
This week, I was looking for a possible correction in that number with a zero decline or possibly even a gain (remember, the EIA numbers are estimates). But instead we got another decline of 35,000 BOPD.
Back in June I wrote about the coming decline. Shale oil wells lose a lot of production up front, maybe 70 percent in the first year before tapering off at a 5 to 10 percent annual decline over the next few years until leveling off for the life of the well—maybe 20 years or so out. You can think of it as a slope. Once you crest it, the drop is precipitous and picks up speed before finding a bottom. We are undoubtedly now racing down that slope.
To date, we have lost about 500,000 BOPD in the Lower 48. We will lose that again before the year is out. Pundits will claim otherwise, suggesting that oil in the 50’s or 60‘s will spur activity. But if that activity is in drilling, we won’t see any effect for a half a year or so. If it is in fracking drilled but uncompleted wells (“DUC’s”), that won’t mean much either over time. DUC’s have been the story of 2015 though they have had little effect on stopping the declines being put in.
This article was written by a guy who owns a fracking company, so he knows of what he speaks. In the end economics always wins out. For us speculators and investors now is the time to be selectively buying the oil companies that will survive and thrive when oil prices go back up. We cannot wait for prices to increase as the market is a discounting mechanism and the stock prices will rise long before oil prices move higher. This is the blood in the streets moment.