Kevin Anderson, CFA
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This week’s chart chronicles monthly U.S. oil production sourced from the seven major land production zones from January 2011 to April 2017. The price of oil experienced volatility over recent years resulting from macroeconomic factors like OPEC’s pump-at-will strategy and the subsequent supply glut that forced U.S. producers to reduce output. However, following OPEC’s production cut agreement in late 2016, U.S. oil production is on the rise, supported by rig productivity gains in both new and legacy wells as well as reduced capital costs. Gains from legacy wells have been particularly significant in the Eagle Ford and Bakken Regions since 2012, while in the Permian region an almost fourfold increase in new rigs from 2015 to 2017 helped solidify the area as the dominant production region. Overall, net imports of petroleum products as a share of consumption dropped from about 49% in 2010 to about 25% in 2015, showing progress towards a more energy independent U.S.
OPEC’s production cuts and a lower global supply signal positive news for U.S. producers. Khalid Al-Falih, the newly appointed Oil Minister of Saudi Arabia, committed to lengthening the OPEC supply cut on May 7th. “I am rather confident the agreement will be extended into the second half of the year and possibly beyond,” said Al-Falih. Lower breakeven costs and reduced supply from OPEC nations could incentivize U.S. producers to further ramp up production going forward.
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