COLUMN-On shale's U.S. frontier, producers face fierce squeeze: Kemp

Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:35am EST
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(John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own)

By John Kemp

LONDON Dec 10 (Reuters) - If the U.S. shale boom is to slow in response to the fall in oil prices, the impact will be felt hardest in just five states.

Texas, North Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado together account for almost 98 percent of the total rise in U.S. oil output since the beginning of 2008.

Enormous output increases from Texas (2.2 million barrels per day, b/d) and North Dakota (1.0 million b/d) dominate the countrywide picture.

But Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado have collectively contributed almost an extra half million barrels per day compared with January 2008, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Output in the rest of the union has been broadly unchanged, with small production increases from states such as Wyoming and Kansas offset by declines from Alaska and California.

If shale growth is to slow to avoid potential oversupply in 2015, the slowdown must come from lower levels of drilling activity and production growth in these five states.

There is no way to rebalance the oil market without slower growth in output from the big two producers but the other three must also plateau or fall (   Continued...