Big Oil is due for a disruption.
By Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com
Oil prices fell back suddenly over the last few trading sessions, dragged down by some forces beyond the oil market.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com - While OPEC mulls over further steps to once again support falling oil prices, tech startups are quietly ushering in a new era in oil and gas: the era of the digital oil field. Much talk has revolved around how software can completely transform the energy industry, but until recently, it was just talk.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman removed the country's veteran oil minister as part of a broad government overhaul. Ali al-Naimi has been replaced after more than 20 years in the role by former health minister Khaled al-Falih.
Oil futures fell sharply Friday, with the U.S. benchmark settling below $40 a barrel after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to keep pumping crude at current production levels despite a global glut.
Oil's rapid decline since August of last year has been dramatic. To listen to some commentators you would also think it is unprecedented and irreversible. Those claiming that oil will continue to fall from here and remain low for evermore, however, are flying in the face of both history and common sense. The question we should be asking ourselves is not if oil prices will recover, but when they will.
The oil markets are showing some life, having rallied 11% over a two-day period. But if a bigger rebound is not around the corner, it won’t just be oil companies that will be feeling the pain: their lenders will also face some steep losses if drillers can’t come up with the cash to cover debt payments.
U.S. oil and gas rig counts dropped to their lowest level in over four years, falling by an additional 74 units for the week ending on January 16. The lower count provides fresh evidence that low oil prices are forcing drillers to pare back operations and slash spending.
With all the conspiracy theories surrounding OPEC's November decision not cut production, is it really not just a case of simple economics? The U.S. shale boom has seen huge hype but the numbers speak for themselves and such overflowing optimism may have been unwarranted. When discussing harsh truths in energy, no sector is in greater need of a reality check than renewable energy.
The number of active rigs drilling for oil and gas fell by their most in two months, according to the latest data from oil services firm Baker Hughes. There were 19 oil rigs that were removed from operation as of Oct. 17, compared to the prior week. There are now 1,590 active oil rigs, the lowest level in six weeks.