Last October, as U.S. oil prices seemed to be stabilizing around $45 a barrel, some bullish traders chuckled at the notion of U.S. shale firms racing to hedge production at what they thought was the bottom of a 19-month rout.
Now, a handful of producers, such as Anadarko Petroleum, which sporadically hedges in large chunks every few quarters, and, surprisingly, natural gas giant Chesapeake Energy, may have the last laugh.
They were among the few to increase hedging in the fourth quarter, according to a Reuters analysis of filings from the largest shale firms. That group locked in prices for nearly 38 million barrels of future production just before crude tumbled a further $15 a barrel in the early weeks of 2016.
However, the figures show that, taken together, the 28 analyzed companies ended the quarter with some 28 million fewer hedged barrels, totaling 291 million, than when they started. Analysts estimate that between 15 and 20 percent of 2016 U.S. oil production is hedged, and as little as 2 percent for 2017.Click here to read more.
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