Monday, December 29, 2014

Oil Prices Fall, Rig Count Drops, Oil Companies Employment to decline

by Bill McBride on 12/29/2014 01:49:00 PM

A few related articles on oil  ...

From Bloomberg: Oil Falls to 5-Year Low as Supply Glut Seen Lingering

Oil fell to the lowest level in more than five years amid speculation that a global supply glut that’s driven crude into a bear market will continue through the first half of 2015.
...
WTI for February delivery fell 96 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $53.77 a barrel at 12:25 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Currently WTI is at $53.21, and Brent futures are at $57.79.

From Bloomberg: Oil Rigs in U.S. Drop by 37 to Lowest Level Since April
Rigs targeting oil declined by 37 to 1,499 in the week ended Dec. 26, Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) said on its website today. The number of oil rigs has slipped by 76 in three weeks. ... The number of rigs targeting U.S. oil is down from a record 1,609 following a $55-a-barrel drop in global prices since June, threatening to slow the shale-drilling boom that’s propelled domestic production to the highest in three decades.
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While the U.S. rig count has dropped, domestic production continues to surge, with the yield from new wells in shale formations including North Dakota’s Bakken and Texas’s Eagle Ford projected to reach records next month, Energy Information Administration data show.
Although new exploration will slow sharply, I expect domestic producers to continue to produce at most existing wells at current prices.

And less exploration will lead to layoffs.  From the WSJ: Oil Jobs Squeezed as Prices Plummet
Tom Runiewicz, a U.S. industry economist at IHS Global Insight, forecasts companies providing support services to oil and gas companies could lose 40,000 jobs by the end of 2015, about 9% of the category’s total, if oil stays around $56 a barrel through the second quarter of next year. Equipment manufacturers could shed 5,000 to 6,000 jobs, or about 6% of total employment for such companies.
There will be winners and losers with the decline in oil prices, however, since the US is a large net importer of oil (despite the myth reported by some in the media), overall the decline in oil prices should be a positive for the economy.