North Sea drillers have said they are willing to take strike action over a long-standing pay dispute.
Oil and natural gas explorers from Anadarko Petroleum Corp. to Synergy Resources Corp. have escaped a vote in Colorado that would have limited drilling and threatened to halt about $10 billion worth of oil and natural gas production a year.
The biggest oil-industry downturn in a generation has companies collaborating in ways they never thought possible.
US shale drillers will soon be able to sell their oil all over the world. Too bad no one needs it right now. A congressional deal to lift the 1970s-era prohibition on shipping crude overseas has the potential to unleash a flood of oil from Texas and North Dakota shale fields into markets already flush with cheap supplies from the Persian Gulf, Russia and Africa. The arrival of US barrels in trading hubs from Rotterdam to Singapore will intensify competition for market share between oil-rich nations, publicly traded producers and trading houses, adding pressure to prices that have tumbled 67 percent in the past 18 months. In the longer term, it may also extend a lifeline to shale drillers strapped for cash after amassing huge debt loads during the boom years.
Oil producers in the US are about to see their credit lines shrink, just when they need the money most.
Shale producers in the US have learned to do more with less. Last year’s price crash forced drillers to cut budgets, reducing the number of rigs in U.S. oil fields by 59 percent from the peak. Crude production, though, has fallen only about 5 percent. Part of the reason for that is a spurt of innovation driven by desperation. Rig productivity increased last month in all shale oil plays, the Energy Information Administration said in a report Monday, as companies drill more wells in less time.
Beset by falling prices, the oil industry is looking at about 50,000 existing wells in the U.S. that may be candidates for a second wave of fracking, using techniques that didn’t exist when they were first drilled. New wells can cost as much as $8 million, while re-fracking costs about $2 million, significant savings when the price of crude is hovering close to $50 a barrel, according to Halliburton Co., the world’s biggest provider of hydraulic fracturing services. While re-fracking offered mixed results in the past, earning it the nickname “pump and pray,” the oil crash is forcing companies to pursue new technologies to produce oil more cheaply.