Shale Oil Adds Unpredictability to Supplies

The shale oil boom has transformed the U.S. and global energy sector to such an extent that it has upended traditional supply dynamics and made forecasts far more polarized.

Investment banks, many of which finance new projects, along with oil majors such as Total and Eni, have warned that huge spending cuts caused by a plunge in oil prices since 2014 would lead to a supply crunch in the next two years.

Yet Goldman Sachs, the only bank to make more than $1 billion a year from commodities trading, believes a looming recovery in U.S. output on the back of higher oil prices combined with an avalanche of new conventional projects will create a substantial surplus by 2019.



Prior to the shale revolution, conventional oil was the only game in town. Estimating future supply essentially involved calculating the project pipeline and factoring in the “unknown knowns” such as political risk in oil-producing nations.

The ability of the shale sector to adapt quickly and nimbly to a lower-price environment means production cycles have shortened as fields can be switched on and off in a matter of weeks.

Most forecasters including OPEC and the International Energy Agency underestimated shale’s decline during the oil price collapse and its production increases as prices recovered.

Goldman predicts the coming two years will see a huge burst of development, complicating OPEC’s efforts to rebalance the market and ease a global glut with the help of output cuts.

via Reuters

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza