Thursday, December 11, 2014

Why America's Oil Boom Just Might Go Bust

Thanks to the oil boom, and as a result of the fracking of oil shale, America is now on track to be the largest oil producer in the world within the next year. 

However, our overzealous production may possibly cause that "largest" title to quickly slip through our fingers.  Right now there is simply too much oil in the world and the price for Brent oil (the world benchmark traded worldwide) has fallen from over $110 a a barrel to well below $70 in just a few months; with some experts predicting $40 within the next year.   It is this glut of oil that may cause many of our oil shale fracking operations to be shutdown because it will be too expensive -- relative to the going price for Brent oil -- for those operations to continue.  And, for some of our oil shale operations, the current price may already be too low to continue as shown in this breakeven chart of our major oil shale fields:
But, what this chart also shows is that, if oil does hit $40/barrel, it would make all but two fields unprofitable.  Additionally, oil below $70 is probably killing off any possible new fracking operations in this country. Further, these low prices may also make many of our deep-water off-shore drilling operations unprofitable.

The simple fact is that much of the growth in the economy and the increase in jobs has resulted from the oil boom.  If it comes to an end, our economy could contract (slip into recession) and unemployment would necessarily rise.  Fears of this came yesterday when the stock market fell 268 points as oil hit 5-year lows on a 3% drop.


U.S. to Be Top Oil Producer by 2015 on Shale:

Brent Crude - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Economist Jeff Rubin: Oil Might Fall to $40 a Barrel:

Here Are The Breakeven Oil Prices For Every Drilling Project In The World:

Oil & Gas Boom 2014: Jobs, Economic Growth And Security:

Bad Timing? Chevron Christens New $8B Deepwater Oil Platform:

Five Regions Where Big Oil Is Foolishly Chasing Profits:

Dow drops 268 points after oil finds 5-year low:

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