Not so long ago, a tanker on fire in the Persian Gulf would have spiked the price of crude oil. But despite the potentially destabilizing standoff between the US and Iran, West Texas Intermediate crude oil still sells for about $10 a barrel less than a month ago.
That’s in large part due to concerns about global economic growth. But generally flat oil prices are also the most compelling evidence yet of the immense changes in global energy politics wrought by the rise of US shale oil and gas. And don’t forget this is happening as Venezuelan output is imploding, Iran is embargoed and unrest is again threatening Libya.
We think economics will continue to favor increased US shale output. Producers have proven their ability to drive down costs with increased scale and more efficient use of critical components water and sand. And companies are also controlling output to match price signals in a way owners of long-life projects can’t follow.
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Elliott and Roger on Jul. 20, 2020
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