The Shale Bust Arrives: November Permits For New Shale Wells Tumble 15%

With a third of S&P 500 capital expenditure due from the imploding energy sector (and with over 20% of the high-yield market dominated by these names), paying attention to any inflection point in the US oil-producers is critical as they have been gung-ho "unequivocally good" expanders even as oil prices fell. However, as Reuters reports, new data suggests that the much-anticipated slowdown in shale country may have finally arrived - permits for new wells dropped 15% across 12 major shale formations last month, as one analysts warns, "the first domino is the price, which causes other dominos to fall."

 

As Reuters reports,

Permits for new wells dropped 15 percent across 12 major shale formations last month, according to exclusive information provided to Reuters by DrillingInfo, an industry data firm, offering the first sign of a slowdown in a drilling frenzy that has seen permits double since last November.

 

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"Currently, the market is focused on U.S. shale as the place where spending and production must be curtailed," Roger Read, a Wells Fargo analyst, said in a note Friday. "There is little doubt, in our view, that lower oil and gas prices will result in lower spending and lower shale production in 2015 to 2017."

 

A cutback of U.S. production could play into the hands of Saudi Arabia, which has suggested over the past few months that it is comfortable with much lower oil prices.

 

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"The first domino is the price, which causes other dominos to fall," said Karr Ingham, an economist who compiles the Texas PetroIndex, an annual analysis of the state's energy economy. One of the first tiles to drop: the number of permits issued, Ingham said.

 

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The permitting slowdown was particularly pronounced in two Texas formations, the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford shale, which saw new permits decline by 13 and 22 percent respectively.

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Interesting that Eagle Ford - despite its lower costs - is seeing the largest decline in permitting

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Of course, this should all be ignored because - like the NRF's reporting of a double-digit decline in Black Friday sales - it would break the narrative for the US economic recovery...