Titans of oil world meet in Houston after two-year price war

Sun Mar 5, 2017 1:08am EST
 
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By Ernest Scheyder

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The biggest names in the oil world come together this week for the largest industry gathering since the end of a two-year price war that pitted Middle East exporters against the firms that drove the shale energy revolution in the United States.

When OPEC in November joined with several non-OPEC producers to agree to a historic cut in output, the group called time on a fight for market share that drove oil prices to a 12-year low and many shale producers to the wall.

Oil prices are about 70 percent higher than they were the last time oil ministers and the chief executives of Big Oil met in Houston a year ago at CERAWeek, the largest annual industry meet in the Americas.

The ebullience as both sides enjoy higher revenues will be a welcome relief from the gloom of a year ago, near the depths of the price war.

"The oil market has been rebalancing and the powerful forces of supply and demand have been working," said Dan Yergin, vice chairman of conference organizer IHS Markit and a Pulitzer Prize-winning oil historian.

"The mood will be different this year."

The capital of the U.S. oil industry Houston is emerging from the price war sporting new downtown skyscrapers and the lingering glow from hosting last month's Super Bowl.

OPEC's November deal, the prospects for its continuation and rosier investment prospects for the industry will dominate the discussions, with state-run producers and Big Oil both positioning themselves for an upturn in the notoriously cyclical business.   Continued...

 
An oil pumpjack is seen in Velma, Oklahoma U.S. April 7, 2016. REUTERS/Luc Cohen