The close link between US ptoduction and oil prices

The close link between US ptoduction and oil prices

Elisa Maria Giannetto
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Oil prices are holding but once again the surge in US shale production oil could make the difference

Oil prices are holding their own with five out of seven sessions showing an uptrend. A clear signal that the OPEC agreement, that cost a considerable diplomatic effort, was the right choice. IEA data shows that oil stocks have fallen by 564,000 barrels per day, bringing overall global production to 518.7 million during the past week. Yet enthusiasm and profits are being curbed by the recent boom in U.S. production, which is even more impetuous then the last run that took place between 2011 and 2015, when oil prices were worth half their current level, and long before President Donald Trump launched his plan to "eliminate restrictions in the energy field and allow the U.S. to use this wealth in favour of Americans." The forecasts are worrying, to the point that OPEC is considering a strategy to limit market shares to 2014 rates and curb the production of high-cost oil like U.S. shale oil. The prospect of oil prices on the up could only lead to an even faster push in production. What OPEC has probably not yet understood is that the shale revolution owes its success more to a new business philosophy than to its being a new type of resource. As Thomas Reed, general manager of JKX Oil & Gas Plc, said last week during the International Petroleum Week in London, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have both been used in the oil industry for some 50 years. What is truly new is the combining of these two techniques and, more importantly, that the process has been industrialized. Energy market analysts agree on the sudden rise in U.S. oil production in 2017, but predict that frackers may face two types of problems: one linked to production, the other to finance. And this could make the difference on oil prices. Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco continues in what has been called the largest IPO of all time: Analysts estimate that the placement of the investment could be worth between 100 and 150 billion dollars, also because Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman officially estimated the value of the entire company at more than 2 trillion dollars. Much of the money raised will go to replenish the country's sovereign wealth fund, the intent being to use the current assets to diversify the economy, up to now closely associated with oil, investing in other sectors, including renewables. An operation that could encourage other Gulf countries to list their companies in order to diversify energy production.