As we warned yesterday, the last time that U.S. oil drillers got caught up in a price war orchestrated by Saudi Arabia, it ended badly for the Americans. OPEC's decision not to cut production, and Nigeria's comments on the need for burden-sharing among non-OPEC members, ensures a crash in the US shale industry according to Leonid Fedun (Russia's Lukoil board member). The Russian finance minister's comments that oil at $80 in coming years is moderately optimistic and as Fedun ominously warns, this is a "major strike against the American market." Isolated, much?
OPEC policy on crude production will ensure a crash in the U.S. shale industry, a Russian oil tycoon said.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries kept output targets unchanged at a meeting in Vienna today even after this year’s slump in the oil price caused by surging supply from U.S shale fields.
American producers risk becoming victims of their own success. At today’s prices of just over $70 a barrel, drilling is close to becoming unprofitable for some explorers, Leonid Fedun, vice president and board member at OAO Lukoil, said in an interview in London.
“In 2016, when OPEC completes this objective of cleaning up the American marginal market, the oil price will start growing again,” said Fedun, who’s made a fortune of more than $4 billion in the oil business, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “The shale boom is on a par with the dot-com boom. The strong players will remain, the weak ones will vanish.”
In Russia, where Lukoil is the second-largest producer behind state-run OAO Rosneft, the industry is much less exposed to oil’s slump, Fedun said. Companies are protected by lower costs and the slide in the ruble that lessens the impact of falling prices in local currency terms, he said.
Even so, output in Russia, the biggest producer after Saudi Arabia in 2013, is likely to fall slightly next year as lower prices force producers to rein in investment, Fedun said.
“The major strike is against the American market,” Fedun said.
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“Everybody is trying to put a very happy spin on their ability to weather $80 oil, but a lot of that is just smoke,” said Daniel Dicker, president of MercBloc Wealth Management Solutions with 25 years’ experience trading crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange. “The shale revolution doesn’t work at $80, period.”