Recent reports suggest OPEC may not have as much influence over the energy sector as they did 10 years ago, largely due to U.S. shale now acting as the swing producer in the market. Despite OPEC and allies agreeing in November to slash production, a move designed to rid global markets of excess supply, the number of rigs in operation in the U.S. has almost doubled over the same time period. In their May meeting, OPEC suggested that balancing the market would require the collective efforts of all oil producers and should be done not only for the benefit of individual countries, but also for the general prosperity of the world economy.
This view point is a sharp contrast from a cartel that has fought fiercely to protect its market share. Starting in 2014, with Saudi Arabia as the ring leader, OPEC countries pumped at 10 year highs in order to flood the market supply and squeeze higher cost American producers out of business. The strategy was largely successful and pushed prices well below $30 per barrel and forced many U.S. producers to scale back in 2015 and 2016. The tactic seemed to work in the short term as prices rebounded from 2016 lows, but now seems to be backfiring as prices have stalled in the $50 range.
The move by OPEC may have caused an unwanted side effect as U.S. energy producers were forced to become more efficient, now able to withstand much lower prices than just a few years ago. UBS analysts estimate that U.S. producers can be profitable if prices remain above $40 per barrel, down from $65 in early 2014.
Mewbourne Oil Company, the 5th largest private producer in the U.S., will be joining South Coast to discuss how technology has changed the game and possibly the balance of power moving forward in the energy space. Join us for breakfast, lunch, or dinner on Wednesday, June 28th as we take a closer look into the domestic energy renaissance currently taking place.
Please RSVP to join us for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner on Wednesday, June 28th.