We are usually concentrated on what OPEC might do regarding crude production, or how U.S. shale production can drop due reductions in drilling capex and high depletion rates. However, the case can be made that there's yet another source of production reduction which is even more economically-incentivized to reduce its production.
I am talking about the Canadian oil sands, now supplying the world market with more than 2.3 million bpd, which is more than the world's crude supply overhang. This crude is much more expensive to produce on an operational basis and at the same time it sells at a discount.
The present reality is that while crude being supplied by conventional and shale wells provides positive free cash flow if the producers cut capex, oil sands crude doesn't. It provides negative free cash flow even on an operational basis, no capex required.
Thus, it doesn't make economic sense to continue producing this crude at the same pace if the more you produce, the more cash you burn. As a result, I expect oil sands crude production to see a significant drop if crude prices do not recover rapidly. This can itself provide for a faster crude price recovery than would otherwise happen.Continue reading by clicking here.
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