The "Great Shale Shut-In" is Happening
American shale explorers are rapidly crimping production in the country’s most prolific oil fields as the worst price crash in history threatens the industry’s survival.
Three of the biggest oil explorers in the U.S. -- Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., and ConocoPhillips -- plan to curb as much as 660,000 barrels a day of combined American output by the end of June. Across the county, crude production by all companies has already tumbled about 1 million barrels a day since mid-March, when OPEC and its allies clinched an historic deal to trim global supply.
It’s too soon to tell how long the reductions will last but if implemented for a full year, they would overshadow any previous American production slide going back to at least 1984. Moreover, the pull-back puts the U.S. on track to fulfill the Trump administration’s pledge to removing 2 million barrels of daily supplies through market attrition.
With the new reductions announced just two weeks after crude prices turned negative for the first time on record, resuscitating the market will come at a steep cost for an industry facing bankruptcies, job cuts and consolidation. For some explorers, austerity means slowing growth plans, while for others it means outright subtractions of oil volumes.
Almost 40% of oil and natural gas producers face insolvency within the year if crude prices remain near $30 a barrel, according to a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Production shut-ins aren’t just a U.S. phenomenon: wells are being turned off from Scandinavia to Brazil as crude producers wilt under the crash.Read on by clicking here.