"When The Facts Change"- Oil's Biggest Cheerleader Capitulates: Andy Hall's Full Bearish Letter

Tyler Durden's picture

After years of being oil's biggest cheerleader, "oil god" Andy Hall, who starting with the OPEC Thanksgiving massacre in 2014 has had several abysmal years, in the process losing the bulk of his AUM, finally threw in the towel last week when in a July 3 letter to investors, he admitted that "the facts have changed" and that "fundamentals have deteriorated significantly" adding that "demand growth seems to be somewhat less than anticipated while supply keeps surprising to the upside... the expected acceleration in inventory drawdowns has not materialized... disappointed expectations for accelerating stock draws following the arrival of peak seasonal demand. Meanwhile, U.S. shale operators have continued to add rigs at a surprisingly fast rate thus raising the odds for significant oversupply in 2018, even if OPEC maintains its production cuts beyond Q1. Over the past month, the market has in effect priced in two negatives, one long-term, the other short-term."

More importantly, Hall confirms what we have said for the past two years and what most so-called experts have missed: namely that "shale is now the marginal barrel" and adds that "if the marginal cost of oil for the next 3 or 4 years really is headed to the mid-$40 range then OPEC’s attempts to push prices to $60 seem futile" adding that "It is unlikely that OPEC will find the cohesion necessary to keep prices at an artificially elevated level if all it does is accommodate rampant growth in shale oil production."

That line of thinking raises the possibility of yet another reversal in OPEC policy – abandoning supply management and letting market forces balance supply and demand. This would obviously result in significantly lower prices, at least in the short term. On the other hand, with many OPEC countries needing much higher prices for fiscal sustainability (for Saudi Arabia the level is over $80), there is an inherent instability which adds to the geopolitical risks to supply. But for now, it seems likely that OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, will stay the course with its current policy of production restraint. Oil at $45-50 is preferable to it being at $40 or below, even if the loftier target of $60 has proven elusive.

As a result, the swashbuckling, permabullish Andy Hall we have all grown to love and mock for the past 3 years is dead and buried, replaced with the latest reformed oil skeptic.

These developments call for a more opportunistic approach to the oil market than hitherto. Whereas it once seemed positions could be held with an eye to a longer-term secular appreciation, that is no longer the case. Indeed, the evidence is now in plain sight. Over the past year, the front month WTI futures contract has moved by double digits in percentage terms 10 times within a $40 - $55 band. This volatility has been accentuated by large financial flows into and out of the market by non-traditional investors and algorithmic trading systems. Attempting to capture just a percentage of those moves makes more sense than trying to ride what has turned out to be a non-existent trend, especially when contango inflicts a negative roll return on investors. The extreme volatility within a rangebound environment also argues for a more tactical and conservative approach to portfolio management.

Still, for oil bulls who despair that their god has abandoned them there is some hope. As Hall concludes, "for now, the market is heavily oversold with a record speculative short position. Q3 should still see decent stock draws even if they are insufficient to eliminate excess stocks. Also, increases in the rig count appear to be ending and could decline in the coming weeks and months. It also remains to be seen how quickly the increased drilling activity will translate into a commensurate increase in the number of completed wells and whether cyclical cost pressures will accelerate or bottlenecks develop. Already, the number of drilled uncompleted wells (DUCs) has been rising quite rapidly. There is also a non-zero chance that OPEC might surprise the market with a further “shock and awe” production cut. Taken together these considerations mean there is a good chance for a price recovery from current levels."

But before you bet the ranch (on margin) read this, "this recovery will be limited for the reasons set out earlier and because of the overhang of potential selling from oil producers who are significantly underhedged for 2018."

Finally, for all those contrarian oil bears who were patiently waiting for that immaculate sign when both Gartman and Hall turn bearish, now is the time to buy.

* * *

Below is Hall's latest letter to investors:

July 3, 2017

Dear Investor,

The oil rout continued in June with prices entering bear market territory. Not only did sentiment plumb new depths but fundamentals appear to have materially worsened. Demand growth seems to be somewhat less than anticipated while supply keeps surprising to the upside. The expected acceleration in inventory drawdowns has not materialized – at least as evidenced by available high frequency data. Several weeks of lackluster inventory data from the EIA, along with reports of increasing amounts of oil in transit and in floating storage, disappointed expectations for accelerating stock draws following the arrival of peak seasonal demand.

Meanwhile, U.S. shale operators have continued to add rigs at a surprisingly fast rate thus raising the odds for significant oversupply in 2018, even if OPEC maintains its production cuts beyond Q1. Over the past month, the market has in effect priced in two negatives, one long-term, the other short-term.

The longer-term negative is that it is becoming increasingly evident that, under most reasonable scenarios, U.S. shale oil will be the marginal source of supply, at least until 2020. There are enough non+OPEC, non-shale production projects already in the pipeline (and which were sanctioned when prices were much higher than today) that incremental U.S. shale oil production alone can balance the market for the next two or three years. Moreover, and more importantly, it is now becoming apparent that the cost of this oil is significantly lower than was believed to be the case even a few months ago. That means the long-term price anchor for oil has moved lower. At the start of the year, the anchor was thought to be about $60 (Brent) and rising over time. Today, it appears to be closer to $50 (and possibly still falling). Prices for long-dated futures have therefore moved down to reflect this new perception.

The short-term negative is an apparent deterioration in the supply and demand balances for 2017. Until recently it looked like demand would exceed supply by as much as 1.5 million bpd if OPEC maintained its production cuts through 2017. This would have eliminated the global inventory surplus sometime in Q3 and resulted in a backwardated market. It now seems, however, that the supply deficit will be considerably smaller than originally expected – probably only around 0.5 million bpd. There will therefore still be sizeable excess stocks at the end of the year. This realization has resulted in the market moving into a steeper and uninterrupted contango with spot prices falling relative to deferred prices which, as just noted, have themselves ratcheted lower.

We discuss both these developments in more detail below. However, absent some geopolitically induced supply curtailment or a further cut by OPEC, oil prices are likely to be range bound around a level that limits the growth in shale oil production. That would mean the forward WTI strip ought to be somewhere below $50.

Shale is now the marginal barrel

Technological advances have continued to drive down well breakevens as well as expand the shale oil resource base in the U.S. In a recent report, PIRA estimated that there are now 80 billion barrels, or half of the recoverable U.S. shale oil resource base, that is economic at $50 Brent (say $48 WTI) or less. This represents some 215,000 well locations. Each of these on average can produce around 300 bpd in its first year on stream. The current horizontal oil rig count is 650 and has been growing at a rate that would bring the count to close to 800 by the end of the year. 800 rigs can drill about 15,000 wells per annum which means potentially 4.5 million bpd of gross new production. After deducting legacy decline this would translate into net production growth of more than a million bpd per annum, which exceeds the expected “call on shale” (demand growth less non-shale crude supply growth from non-OPEC, OPEC crude and other non-crude liquids). Today’s rig count or lower would be necessary to constrain shale oil growth to the 0.7- 0.8 million bpd of year/year growth in shale oil production that is probably required to balance supply and demand.

The market is therefore trying to find a price level that curtails rig additions (and/or well completion activity) to a level commensurate with the call on shale. Exactly what that price is can be debated and the truth is no one really knows. It depends on current and future rig productivity, how drilling and completion costs respond to rising oil field activity levels, the willingness of shale operators to outspend their cash flows and the availability and cost of capital to the industry.

Notwithstanding uncertainties surrounding all these variables, it does seem that the price needed for a given rate of growth in shale oil production has been falling over time. Well breakevens have dropped because of steep rig productivity gains and cyclical cost declines. They could fall further if continued secular gains in rig productivity outstrip the cyclical cost increases now resulting from higher oil field activity.

Over the past two years, average rig productivity in the U.S. Lower 48 states has grown by more than 20 percent per annum. In the Permian basin productivity grew by around 30 percent last year. These gains have been achieved through reduced drilling times from the use of pad drilling and increased well productivity from longer laterals, more intense fracking and higher proppant loadings.

Whilst the rate of rig productivity growth appears to now be moderating, it is unlikely to stop altogether. A recent Goldman Sachs analysis posits continued productivity growth for years ahead. This will be driven by higher rates of recovery of initial oil in place through the application of artificial intelligence and big data analytics. Goldman argues that this could eventually reduce breakevens to $45 and below. The best operators in the Permian like EOG already have well breakevens at, or even below, $40 WTI. As the rest of the pack catches up with the leaders, average breakevens are likely to fall further if Goldman is correct.

If the marginal cost of oil for the next 3 or 4 years really is headed to the mid-$40 range then OPEC’s attempts to push prices to $60 seem futile. It is unlikely that OPEC will find the cohesion necessary to keep prices at an artificially elevated level if all it does is accommodate rampant growth in shale oil production.

That line of thinking raises the possibility of yet another reversal in OPEC policy – abandoning supply management and letting market forces balance supply and demand. This would obviously result in significantly lower prices, at least in the short term. On the other hand, with many OPEC countries needing much higher prices for fiscal sustainability (for Saudi Arabia the level is over $80), there is an inherent instability which adds to the geopolitical risks to supply. But for now, it seems likely that OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, will stay the course with its current policy of production restraint. Oil at $45-50 is preferable to it being at $40 or below, even if the loftier target of $60 has proven elusive.

With hindsight, OPEC’s attempts to manage supply were poorly conceived. Given the short response time of shale oil to changing prices, OPEC should have acted more quickly and more decisively. The production cuts should have been deeper and implemented immediately. As it was, OPEC talked up the market ahead of the actual production cuts thus helping to unleash a fresh wave of future shale oil production as emboldened operators upped their capex budgets and raised capital on the back of the higher prices. Additionally, OPEC ramped up production in Q4 2016 ahead of its mandated cuts, thus adding to the very stock excess they were hoping to eliminate. OPEC members also then inexplicably offset the impact of their cuts by drawing down their own inventories to maintain exports during Q1 2017. This made no sense given OPEC’s stated goal of reducing OECD inventories to their five-year average.

Fundamentals have deteriorated significantly

In implementing its production cuts at the start of the year, OPEC and its allies were aiming to eliminate the inventory excess. This would have allowed spot prices to rise relative to deferred ones, pushing the market into backwardation. A backwardated market would eliminate the “subsidy” shale operators have been realizing by selling forward to hedge production. This would therefore help curtail shale oil supply growth by removing this windfall hedging profit. But it clearly hasn’t happened. The spread between Dec 2017 and Dec 2018 futures contracts moved $3, from a $1 backwardation to a $2 contango, over the past month as it became increasingly likely that there would still be substantial excess inventories at the end of the year.

There are several explanations for why the expected supply deficit has not materialized.

  • Firstly, demand growth has been somewhat disappointing. Based on indicators of economic activity, demand in 2017 should be growing by around 1.7 million bpd, if not more. Actual growth, however, seems to be closer to 1.4 to 1.5 million bpd for reasons that are not yet clear.
  • Secondly, non-OPEC supply growth has been exceeding initial expectations – largely because of faster shale growth in the U.S. Forecast growth in non-OPEC supply for 2017 has been revised progressively higher by 0.3 million bpd. OPEC production is also now expected to be greater than seemed the case just a month ago because of the earlier than anticipated return of shut-in production in Libya and Nigeria. This will add around 0.2 million bpd of additional supply on average in 2017.
  • Finally, revisions to data for 2016 now show a small flow surplus of 0.1 million bpd whereas previously there had been a small flow deficit.

Together these changes amount to a 0.9 million bpd deterioration in the supply and demand balance for 2017 and an initially expected supply shortfall for the year of 1.4 million bpd now looks like it will be closer to 0.5 million bpd. Because of lower SPR purchases in India and China, as well as stock reductions in the OPEC countries, the drop in observed commercial inventories will be even lower – perhaps as little as 0.3 million bpd. This is much less than the rate needed to mop up the stock surplus – some 450 million bbls at the start of 2017 - and the market will almost certainly enter 2018 with a still substantial inventory overhang.

Moreover, at the rate at which oil drilling rigs have been added in the U.S., non-OPEC production has been on a path to grow by as much as 2 million bpd in 2018. With demand growth of, say, 1.5 million bpd and a 2017 flow deficit of only 0.5 million bpd, and with higher year/year production from Libya and Nigeria, that would imply an annual average stock build next year, even if the current OPEC production cuts remained unchanged for the whole of 2018, something which is by no means a given. It is this specter of renewed stock builds in 2018 adding to still inflated inventories that has panicked the market and caused the forward curve to move into contango. This reversal of the time spreads, combined with the drop in deferred prices to match a lower perceived marginal cost, has resulted in nearby prices collapsing, even though seasonal factors are becoming their most favorable.

In short, OPEC, the market and oil bulls have run out of runway. There are just 10 weeks before fall turnarounds kick in and crude stocks in the U.S. start to build again. Excess crude inventories in the U.S. are around 80 million barrels, up sharply since the beginning of June, reversing the trajectory seen in April and May when sequential crude oil draws were rapidly eliminating excess crude oil inventories.

In the past month, however, excess crude stocks in the U.S. are back to the levels seen this time last year and there now appears to be little chance that they can be eliminated before the fall – especially if the rate of inventory change seen in the data for the past three weeks is maintained. Moreover, Q4 2017 will see an acceleration in U.S. oil production as the impact of higher rig counts is increasingly reflected in higher production.

The main culprit for the disappointing stock draws in the U.S. is a stubbornly elevated level of net imports. While imports from Saudi Arabia have finally turned lower, those from other OPEC producers (notably Iraq) have risen. Crude exports have also fallen in recent weeks, at least if the preliminary data are to be believed.

Backwardation was meant to take care of excessive shale production in 2018 and beyond by driving deferred prices to levels that would constrain its growth. But stocks have not fallen fast enough to sustain backwardation so the whole futures curve has downshifted instead.

When the facts change…

For all the above reasons, it looks increasingly like oil prices will be rangebound for some time to come. Hitherto, it had been our view that oil would trend higher as prices would need to rise to a level that would justify investment in more costly sources of supply than just the core areas of U.S. shale. However, not only has the core shale oil resource grown significantly – above all in the prolific Permian basin – but breakevens have dropped because of secular productivity gains outpacing cyclical cost increases, at least for now. Furthermore, there has been no shortage of capital to fuel the growth in shale oil production and this has allowed operators to significantly outspend their cash flows. The marginal economics of the typical shale oil producer have proven to be no impediment to the industry’s resilience. The breakevens referred to earlier are based on half-cycle economics. Full-cycle costs that cover land acquisition, infrastructure and overhead are probably almost $10 higher. But companies base their drilling decisions on half-cycle costs even if this leads them on the path to eventual bankruptcy (to which the shale oil industry is no stranger) so long as they have access to capital. It’s quite possible that shale oil production growth can only be reined in by the capital markets rationing the supply of funds as industry management seems to be more focused on growth than generating free cash flow or even paper profits [ZH: this is something we have been pounding the table on since 2014, most recently in mid-June].

It also appears that the cost of developing other supply sources, such as deep water offshore, has been falling dramatically making them competitive with shale in many cases. Because of these developments, the cost curve for oil has become much flatter. There is now an abundance of potential supply at around $50 Brent. Prices will tend to oscillate around this long-term price anchor in response to changing inventory levels as the market tries to determine the right price to satisfy the call on shale. With the current inventory surplus and what looks to be its slow dissipation, markets are also likely to stay in contango, barring some sort of supply shock.

These developments call for a more opportunistic approach to the oil market than hitherto. Whereas it once seemed positions could be held with an eye to a longer-term secular appreciation, that is no longer the case. Indeed, the evidence is now in plain sight. Over the past year, the front month WTI futures contract has moved by double digits in percentage terms 10 times within a $40 - $55 band. This volatility has been accentuated by large financial flows into and out of the market by non-traditional investors and algorithmic trading systems. Attempting to capture just a percentage of those moves makes more sense than trying to ride what has turned out to be a non-existent trend, especially when contango inflicts a negative roll return on investors. The extreme volatility within a rangebound environment also argues for a more tactical and conservative approach to portfolio management.

For now, the market is heavily oversold with a record speculative short position. Q3 should still see decent stock draws even if they are insufficient to eliminate excess stocks. Also, increases in the rig count appear to be ending and could decline in the coming weeks and months. It also remains to be seen how quickly the increased drilling activity will translate into a commensurate increase in the number of completed wells and whether cyclical cost pressures will accelerate or bottlenecks develop. Already, the number of drilled uncompleted wells (DUCs) has been rising quite rapidly. There is also a non-zero chance that OPEC might surprise the market with a further “shock and awe” production cut. Taken together these considerations mean there is a good chance for a price recovery from current levels. However, this recovery will be limited for the reasons set out earlier and because of the overhang of potential selling from oil producers who are significantly underhedged for 2018.

Best regards

Andrew J. Hall

Chairman and CEO

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SWRichmond's picture

Paging Chris Martenson, call for you in the lobby on the yellow telephone.

bamawatson's picture

he can't make it to the phone, due to "extremely painful oil shortfall"

Arnold's picture

Aramco needs fifty, Baby.
Give us sevens.........

Fuck... midnight......

tmosley's picture

Now, if gold and silver bugs would just internalize the fact that the main input for gold and silver production is energy, maybe they could move on and stop losing their ass so much.

But they won't. Too much emotional investment, and zero willingness to cast a critical eye at their own decisions.

3rdWorldTrillionaire's picture

tldr, show moar pics of his daughter

bamawatson's picture

regarding crypto v pm thread below:
"red wine, vintage music, ambian .... magic"

Arnold's picture

Well, I see your point.

Do we really need newly mined gold and silver and platinum and Rhodium and crypto coins.

Why, yes we do.
If for no other reason than for the struggle.

oddjob's picture

Went to the farmers market today, I asked every vendor if they would take Silver or Bitcoin. 19 out of 19 said Silver, no bitcoin accepted. I suppose if there was some kooky T-shirt vendor he would probably take bitcoin.

tmosley's picture

Go to a computer convention and ask the same question, and you will acheive the opposite result.

Then ask yourself which is the growth industry.

oddjob's picture

I guess the question is what group I would rather associate with, the group that produces food or the group of degenerate urban scum that sleeps in til noon.

Arnold's picture

Lucky Eight Ball says Quantum Computing, tmosley.

Arnold's picture

No, for the most part i can still pick them out.
Tay was cool, but still a rancid programmer product.

Seriously, AI has not yet begun to evolve.

I_rikey_lice's picture

Low oil prices means more profit for the miners. If a miner's costs goes down that means they can begin to mine lower grade material profitably, which means less gold or silver produced.

Lower oil prices means lower grade mining which means less gold/silver production.

I assume you understand supply/demand fundamentals so I will not bore you with the details.

You don't know the industry so you should stick with commenting on cryptos.

PS  Turd Ferguson is in bitcoins now, lol.

milking institute's picture

Perhaps the " emotional investment" is YOUR issue? why the hate,embrace your failures and learn!

Golden Showers's picture

Now, if only the gold and silver markets were not manipulated and we internalized the fact that all markets are manipulated, there is enough energy to create a free market. If we wished.

But we won't. We believe that currency is money. And like Big Perm said in Friday: "Fucking with my money is like fucking with my emotions."

But we're all nigger rich.

The only expert in money, in finance, or wealth management are bagmen for the banks, the BIS, the IMF, the nations, the city states and we aren't. I don't care if you have a PhD in economics or an MBA, or a golden retreiver. We are fucked.

Energy is not created or destroyed and it's kept or stored but ultimately in possession of natural equilibrium. The idea is that those who have hoarded more have better weapons and delivery systems. But the money trail never ever lies.

When you think about it, 7.5 billion people have more energy than ten thousand individuals, or 100 thousand, or 144 thousand. So fuck what you heard. It's time for people to get together and sit at the same table of broke, manipulated, lost chattle and dead bodies washing ashore on the banks of rivers.

Arnold's picture

Not bad, Ted.
They are letting you publish again?

SWRichmond's picture

I sort of feel sorry for anyone who believes there is anything remotely approximating "price discovery" anywhere.

roadhazard's picture

It takes some longer than others.

IdioTsincracY's picture

Poor Speculators, unable to do their speculating because the Cartel is unable to do their cartelling.

Leeches!

Too-Big-to-Bail's picture

but I want my money too

GodHelpAmerica's picture

What about all that shale debt Andy?

Why are US shale equities being priced lower now than when oil was trading in the 20's...?

Arnold's picture

We have Criminal price buyout and bankruptcy still left in the United States of America.

Arnold's picture

And the Rockefellers were taught a valuable lesson.
You paid too much.

Winston Churchill's picture

They sold all their oil stocks 4 years ago.

Judging by the shambles even the oil majors Balance sheets have become,they saw this coming.

75% of gross profit is now going to interest,something big is going to break.

Arnold's picture

Missed all that, not unusual for me.
References for so I might furter my edumacation?

GodHelpAmerica's picture

You need a viable plan to emerge from bankruptcy no? How do you have a viable plan if your marginal cost is higher than the price that oil is forecasted to trade?

Sentiment was different in 2016--consensus analysis included a v-bottom recovery in price. That is now gone. So are the very lucrative hedges...

Oil down here is big trouble for shale--too many are ignoring the 2016/early 2017 rebound in sentiment and oil prices that were trading well into the 50's for quite some time...Sub 50 oil is putting substantial pressure on US shale, as is the bearish turn in sentiment, causing investment capital to flee.

Arnold's picture

Here's how I think.
I own a 1953 Dodge 1/2 ton.
It is a solid vehicle, but as hedge to keep it a good vehicle, there are some things I must do, and some I cannot anticipate.

If I have to replace the ring gear in the pumkin, do I go rebuilt, Chink or something else.

Now I cannot tell if the rebuilt or Chink stuff has any sort of longevity , I cannot get a report of the Manganese content used to manufacture the original or the Chink stuff.

Something else, with a report, provenance, reputation in similar situations is worth more than the truck, just for a ring gear.
And it may be bullshit, I could print up a decent metallurgical report without any qualms or more than basic knowledge.

Good oil increases mechanical longevity, but does not make things immortal.
I will go for price and a prayer.

mo mule's picture

The Fib charts still say WTI at 14. So till that low is made look for more selling.  Nothing goes straight down and the cure for low prices are low prices. So till we see 14 there isn't a bottom. The banks and Fed's PPT can play all the games they want, their just dragging out the pain. No they can''t stop the fall, but they can heap more agony on the market as they pump their free money into the system, and all for not I might add! There wildcater's and they'll pump until they bleed, it's what they do......

imho /s

Goldennutz's picture

What happened to peak oil?

 

That meme is kaput? 

 

 

frank further's picture

I guess so.  We're shipping crude big time to China.  Thanks, Orange Asshole.

silverer's picture

Well, hey! The US gets fake money for that oil! What's to complain about? Everything in the US runs on it!

frank further's picture

I thought almost everything in the US runs on fossil fuels.  Why ship crude to a likely enemy when our grandkids are getting screwed for short-term corpote profits?

Goldennutz's picture

That's one helluva long letter. He could have made it a lot shorter. 

 

Dear Investors :

I just lost you a shitload of dough. 

Sorry about that. 

Love,

Andy

venturen's picture

oil was dead when the US mostly outlawed the criminals on wall street from manipulating the market. Though a flood of supply is hard to hide the criminal gang had been doing it for decade. But wall street will just move on to houses, food, your pension....who needs productive business when extortion works.  

Scuba Steve's picture

Ahem .... Gold, SILVER ....

Zepper's picture

What fucking kills me is that these are considered the FUCKING EXPERTS! The elite! The fucking market makers!

 

ALL OF THEM STUPID FUCKING CUNTS! 

 

Oil should be at $15 a barrel and I am being fucking generous.... been saying it for 2 fucking years now. 

 

Oh btw, Volvo is ditching the ICE by 2020. Going hybrid and electric.  It is the next step, and the oil guys are fucking scared of shale lol... fucking idiots... a new wave is coming and you fucks better start a fucking war soon so you can get as much money saved because by 2030, No one except some stupid fuck will be driving an ICE. 

yarpos's picture

Ditching the ICE?   you really dont understand how a hybrid works do you?

Arnold's picture

It's okay.
Sounds too much like myself on a pointless rant.

Forgive me Texaco, for I have sinned......

yarpos's picture

Got to smile when I see the Arabs reap what they sow.   You hope that lying , back stabbing bastards will one day get what they deserve,  but Karma doesnt always work.

Arnold's picture

Karma is in the Middle East, but the stonings, mutilation, be headings and Mohammed get in the way.

If it weren't for intimi-nation, most of them would have no nation at all.

Cordeezy's picture

They have competition now with LNG, Solar Power and Electric cars.  More efficient ways to find and drill oil are also increasing the supply of oil.  A cartel like OPEC can't exist in this condition.  When they agree on production limits, it is to the advantage of the person that cheats the limits and produces more.  An agreement within OPEC has never stuck for this reason.  Oil will plunge until we see WW III.  Algorithmic trades might push it up after a dip, but ultimately it will probably fall to around $20 a barrel.  

 

www.escapeamazon.com

 

 

Arnold's picture

Yup, make that play.
If I tap you on the shoulder in the breadline, smile before I take your bread.

LeftandRightareWrong's picture

Check the history of these "gurus" over the last 5 or 6 years.  Excellent contrarian indicators. They give-up right on the turns.

VangelV's picture

More importantly, Hall confirms what we have said for the past two years and what most so-called experts have missed: namely that "shale is now the marginal barrel" and adds that "if the marginal cost of oil for the next 3 or 4 years really is headed to the mid-$40 range then OPEC’s attempts to push prices to $60 seem futile" adding that "It is unlikely that OPEC will find the cohesion necessary to keep prices at an artificially elevated level if all it does is accommodate rampant growth in shale oil production."

 

Shale is not economic even at $60 a barrel.  If the producers could not generate positive cash flows at $85 a barrel what makes these analysts sure that they can thrive at $40?  

squid's picture

I don't think 'trivet' is on the cards here....

More like survive to the next bond payment and trim-trim-trim expenses.

 

Keep the cashflow going to keep up the payment. They are likely below the waterline here but will take a couple of years to flush them out at these prices.

However, if we get 25 bucks, then I think you'll eventually get capitulation.

 

Squid

VangelV's picture

More like survive to the next bond payment and trim-trim-trim expenses.

 

But that is the problem for shale.  The wells are very profitable in the small core areas but as you move out the EURs fall rapidly.  The companies cannot trim expenses quickly enough to offset the decline in revenues.  As for the cash flows, the capital spending that is necessary to keep the illusion going is greater than the revenues coming in.  While it may be possible to generate free positive cash flow for a quarter or two, that would bring down production so quickly that investors will bail and force lenders cut their losses and to stop keeping the companies afloat.  

 

However, if we get 25 bucks, then I think you'll eventually get capitulation.

When I look at the Bakken data I see that production decline has already begun.  The Elm Coulee Oil Field in Montana was all over the press ten years ago.  But as the wells were depleted and the promise was exposed as wishful thinking, you can't get any mention of it anywhere.  

You are right that we will get capitulation.  But being able to predict when that happens is another story.  The more important part factor for me is that the shale miracle will have been exposed to be wishful thinking.  Without that miracle, the myth of American energy independence will not be able to prop up the USD.  And that sets off a sh*tstorm of events that will force Americans to adjust to a reality that they may not be able to handle without a restructuring of their economy and their political system.  


NoWayJose's picture

Hey folks - I'm an expert, so listen to me. Yes, I know I blew my last forecast and the one before that too - but I'm an expert, so listen to me. See, my new forecast has all kinds of fancy words, what-ifs, and where-fors because I am an expert. Oil is at generational lows for the Fourth of July, but you better sell anyway, because I'm an expert and you're not!

Love, Andy the oil expert!