What's happening in OPEC's market?

January 24, 2017 10:08AM CST

We can clearly see in past instances where markets move in tandem with market perception, but not based on current unperceived negative information. How will oil traders react when US shale becomes more and more prevalent in the face of OPEC cuts? In the past, these cuts have never held long term. Will the cuts last long this time? Essentially, when your production is cut, you will lose market share to another producer who will cover your lack of production. Can Saudi Arabia, or in fact any other major OPEC player, afford to lose market share? This is where US shale will be, in my opinion, a major hindrance in the effectiveness of long lasting OPEC cuts. Where OPEC can’t provide, other producers will. From my research, the cost to produce oil in the US has dropped by more than half since 2014. It may cost from less than $10 per barrel in the Permian Basin to less than $30 per barrel in the Gulf of Mexico, but on average less than half of the $70 we've been seeing. Eventually, the market will correct itself even further, and production will be even more efficient. This will bring the costs lower and push many producers into bankruptcy, but will also give their assets up at a minimal cost to the more efficient and profitable producers. They will most likely take over their land leases for production. We've seen similar scenarios in natural gas from July of 2008 through 2011. The market traded within its historic range of around $2 for the next five years. I believe we are in a for very similar situation in crude oil. 

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