$32.79 last, up 51 cents versus last week's $34.82 top-tick.*
Shale Shock: Another Leg Lower In Oil Coming After Many Producers Found To Have Far Lower Breakevens
One of the great unknowns facing the US shale industry, and threatening the recurring rumors of its imminent demise, is how it is possible that despite the collapsing number of oil wells, and despite the plunge in crude prices which supposedly are well below all-in shale production costs, does production not only refuse to decline, but in fact has been largely increasing in the past 6 months, with just a modest decline in recent weeks.
The answer may come as a surprise not only to industry pundits, but certainly to Saudi Arabia, whose entire strategy has been to keep pressuring the price of oil low enough for long enough to put as many "marginal producers" in the US shale space out of business as possible.
According to a report by the Bloomberg Intelligence analysts William Foiles and Andrew Cosgrove, Saudi Arabia may have its work cut out for it as it will be far harder to kill many U.S. E&Ps than analysts originally thought.
The reason: a break-even model for the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford shows that oil production across five plays in Texas and New Mexico may remain profitable even when WTI prices fall below $30 a barrel, according to a 55-variable Bloomberg Intelligence model for horizontal oil wells.
The Eagle Ford's DeWitt County has the lowest break-even, at $22.52, followed by Reeves County wells targeting the Wolfcamp Formation, at $23.40. The diversity of breakevens highlights the hazard posed by looking for a single number, even within a play.
These counties together produced about 551,000 barrels of liquids a day in October. Taking into account drilled but uncompleted wells boosts the number of potential survivors to 19. The wide range of break-evens undermines efforts to come up with a single threshold for U.S. shale producers.
The full list of breakevens by county is shown below:
*As foretold by the prophecy at $30.66:
...Futures $31.77 up 32 cents.For what it's worth, a move to that $34.00-$34.50 range would cause so much pain to remaining shorts that there might be some overshoot as the margin clerks take control of the trading, which would set up a dandy spot to short and contemplate the fact that the southern islands boast as many shades of blue as Ireland has green....Actually that was pretty lucky and probably won't happen again until Halley's comet returns.
Next perihelion predicted for July 28, 2061.