Analysis by the father of American Geopolitics Dr. Daniel Fine, MIT.


The full story is here-> http://www.daily-times.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/05/28/fine-oil-halftime-2016/84610710/

“The question of the oil-price reality pervaded the talks and private conversations at the Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference earlier this month. From the lowest price per barrel in nearly eight years to a recovery halfway to $100 in less than three months!  Is the “bust” in the San Juan Basin dissolving as others before?

Yet, Ken McQueen, retiring vice president of WPX in the San Juan Basin, and the most effective in technical innovation in the basin, said: “price is not everything.”

This is the view of surviving management. It is not shared by financial institutional  players and speculators.

Before Thanksgiving 2014, I presented a forecast for the oil price in a new “crash” range of $23 to $28. This was based on analytical experience and petroleum economic history. The trade associations were then spinning that it was an opportunity and would turn around in weeks.

They had no understanding of Saudi Arabia and OPEC as the price-setter. The price of oil collapsed three months ago to $26.70.

There was an abortive effort by OPEC and Russia at Doha, Qatar, to freeze production at Jan. 1 levels to “re-balance” world demand and supply. It failed because OPEC was no longer outside the Middle East political and religious war — Shia-Iran, with oil export sanctions recently lifted, did not show up.

But a one-day oil field workers stay-at-home in Kuwait took one million barrels of oil off the over-supplied world market within 24 hours and the financial market players covered their short or future sale positions.

The bet was now that every “outage” or supply disruption in the world would “re-balance” demand and supply and move West Texas Intermediate prices higher.

Saudi Arabia alone is replacing all the “outage” oil while the San Juan Basin and Southwest producers have record lay-offs, bankruptcies, community economic dislocations, and cuts in production: a million barrels less per day by Christmas is anticipated.

Without the freeze of OPEC production, $50 a barrel prices are here nevertheless. Does the rig count recover — only 15 working in New Mexico from over 100 just 18 months ago?

Yes and no. Companies should start stimulating (fracking) the heavy inventories of uncompleted wells. A boom again? Hardly. With more drilling of uncompleted wells at $50, American Southwest unconventional production rises. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf nation producers would see once more the threat to market share which started the bust in the first place.

Higher oil prices equate to more production and energy-related banks and funds might find new borrowers. Is this the constraint of lower and longer oil prices? It doesn’t matter what supply forecasts come from traders’ prattle on cable TV. The final half of 2016 will be negative on price and oil demand. The price war with Saudi Arabia/OPEC continues.

There are three counter-strategies to Saudi Arabia and OPEC from American shale oil producers and communities:”


by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal editorial board

The full story is here-> http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2016-04-28/our-view-limiting-oil-imports-would-help-protect-american-producers#.VzaWRPkrLIU

“When the price of oil drops, so does the cost of gasoline. But while people are enjoying paying lower prices at gasoline pumps, plunges in oil prices can cause economic damage in Texas.

And it can put American oil producers out of business when the price of foreign oil imports gets cheaper than the costs of extracting oil from the ground in the U.S.

Oil producers in the Panhandle recently announced the Panhandle Import Reduction Initiative. Their hope is to limit the amount of oil that can be imported from other countries.

We wish them success in getting sympathetic ears to hear their initiative and gathering like-minded people to help further it.

They are right that a limitation should be set on the amount of oil imports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Representatives of OPEC’s 18 nations recently met in Doha, Qatar. Among their topics of discussion was whether to freeze oil production levels.

The nations didn’t reach an agreement on the subject.

“OPEC and Russia and various countries met and decided they weren’t going to freeze oil and, in fact, OPEC said they will increase production again. This will drive the price down to $26 (a barrel) again,” said oil producer Tom Cambridge.”


By A-J Editorial Board

The full article is here-> http://lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2016-04-28/our-view-limiting-oil-imports-would-help-protect-american-producers#.Vyf6UPkrLIU

“When the price of oil drops, so does the cost of gasoline. But while people are enjoying paying lower prices at gasoline pumps, plunges in oil prices can cause economic damage in Texas.

And it can put American oil producers out of business when the price of foreign oil imports gets cheaper than the costs of extracting oil from the ground in the U.S.

Oil producers in the Panhandle recently announced the Panhandle Import Reduction Initiative. Their hope is to limit the amount of oil that can be imported from other countries.

We wish them success in getting sympathetic ears to hear their initiative and gathering like-minded people to help further it.

They are right that a limitation should be set on the amount of oil imports from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Representatives of OPEC’s 18 nations recently met in Doha, Qatar. Among their topics of discussion was whether to freeze oil production levels.

The nations didn’t reach an agreement on the subject.

“OPEC and Russia and various countries met and decided they weren’t going to freeze oil and, in fact, OPEC said they will increase production again. This will drive the price down to $26 (a barrel) again,” said oil producer Tom Cambridge.”


Apr. 19, 2016 6:40 PM EDT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Oil drilling companies and royalty owners from the Texas Panhandle to New Mexico’s stretch of the Permian Basin are embarking on a grass-roots campaign to limit foreign oil imports, salvaging what they say is a major sector of the U.S. economy.

“American oil is competing against a cartel of government operators which has a stated initiative of driving an American industry out of business,” said Tom Cambridge, one of the Panhandle producers leading the campaign.

The grass-roots movement is pushing for the next president of the United States to issue a proclamation setting quotas for imports — something that hasn’t been done in more than four decades.

“It’s not that this is the first time but this is a more concerted, deliberate effort and I think it’s gaining ground,” said John Yates Jr., a member of a well-known family that is a leader in the industry and has over the last century developed some of New Mexico’s largest and most significant oilfields. The complete article is here-> http://www.bigstory.ap.org/article/74b8fac6517649d7a0ecac7fa55951ad/texas-new-mexico-oil-producers-push-import-limits


The complete press release is here-> http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/texas-panhandle-and-artesia-new-mexico-strike-back-with-import-quotas-on-foreign-oil-a-reaction-to-doha-meeting-300253143.html

AMARILLO, Texas, April 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The Panhandle of West Texas, a center of American oil since early in the 20th century, answers OPEC and Saudi Arabia with a call for a Presidential Proclamation to establish quotas on imports of foreign oil.

The counter to the Doha meeting is a “line in the sand” against further price and supply wars against oil communities, working families, and producers not only in Texas and the Southwest but across the entire US. The United States should no longer allowSaudi Arabia and the middle east to manipulate our economy by crippling our ability to produce and use our own natural resources. We have been forced to comply with the consequences of decisions made by a country whose intent was to take over a “market share” that was ours and make it theirs.  The results were oil prices plummeting to $26 a barrel.

The “bust” in oil exploration and production has left families, companies, both large and small, with bankruptcy and hundreds of thousands out of work.  Since Thanksgiving of 2014, Saudi Arabia has increased its production to lower prices to shut-in unconventional oil in all areas of the US but specifically in Texas, Oklahoma and Appalachia where “stripper or marginal wells” are more prevalent. It is a price war which has suspended the prospect of American energy self-sufficiency.

The Panhandle Import Reduction Initiative for oil import quotas on foreign oil is nothing new.  It aims to revive the 1959 quota system of President Eisenhower who acted to sustain a healthy oil industry and middle class communities which it employs for reasons of national security.  And it worked for 14 years to keep domestic oil from going out business because of foreign imports.

Import quotas on light tight oil will be 100% — no more imports within the first 60 days of the new American President’s term next year.  Light tight oil or oil from shale is an American technology triumph and the pathway to abundance and security against foreign oil supply cut-off threats. Southwest and Dakota oil will be unbound.  North American oil will avoid the risk of dependence on the world ocean as the transportation for imports.  Oil from shale has so far supported national income savings in the balance of payments of over 500 billion dollars in the last five years.

President Eisenhower’s import quotas limited heavy sour oil to 10-12% of yearly American oil demand — enough to take care ofCanada’s current exports to the United States.

The lower the oil price goes and the longer it stays there because of the Saudis flooding the market, the higher it will go and the longer it will stay there when demand gets greater than supply. This will happen because the US operators and other international companies are not investing in exploration, the oil that we will need in 5 to 10 years is not being discovered and developed today. OPEC cannot supply all the world’s needs. When demand outpaces supply, the price will skyrocket and stay there until the oil operations that are now curtailed can ramp back up. That may take years due to all the layoffs taking place today. All consumers will be hurt by the high prices. That would not happen if we had reasonable prices today to let us keep exploring for and developing new oil reserves for our future needs.


Low prices have energy companies and communities reeling as rig counts plummet and unemployment climbs.

The full article is here-> http://www.hcn.org/articles/this-is-what-an-oil-bust-looks-like

“In early March, Daniel Fine, associate director of the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy, told a gathering of tribal energy officials that the oil bust is officially on. Those gathered, however, sure as heck didn’t need an expert to tell them that. In the oil and gas patches it has become clear that the economic gains of the so-called shale revolution are being wiped away by one of the worst fossil fuel downturns in U.S. history.

Now, the oil companies are crying for help. First, they got the crude oil export ban lifted. Next they want proposed federal rules on methane emissions weakened or scrapped. As if any of that will help.

Back in 2010, the price of a barrel of Brent crude (the international oil price benchmark) topped $80. That made it profitable to extract oil from tight shale formations, which is especially costly. A drilling frenzy ensued, domestic oil production skyrocketed, oil companies raked in profits and oil patch communities prospered.

But all that new oil on the market, plus China’s slowing economic growth, began to dampen oil prices in the summer of 2014. Instead of curtailing production to keep prices afloat, OPEC’s leaders launched a thinly veiled price war, clearly aimed at putting U.S. producers out of business. Here are some indicators that OPEC won the war:

The U.S. rig count has collapsed to levels not seen since, well, ever. With both oil and natural gas prices at near-record lows, it simply doesn’t make economic sense to spend up to $10 million to drill a well. So the rigs are shutting down. In September 2014, 1,931 oil and gas rigs were operating in the U.S.; today there are just 476. That’s a 75 percent decrease, and it’s still some 50 percent lower than the 1987 count, which followed what was considered the biggest, baddest bust ever, until now. Tom Dugan, who runs an oil and gas production company in northwest New Mexico, told the Farmington Daily Times, “It’s the hardest bust I’ve been through and I have been in this business for 57 years.”


by James Fenton, jfenton@daily-times.com5:02 p.m. MST March 5, 2016

The complete article is here-> http://www.daily-times.com/story/money/industries/oil-gas/2016/03/05/energy-policy-expert-says-oil-slump-bust/81289608/

FARMINGTON — “It’s officially a “bust.”

That’s the verdict from Daniel Fine, one of Gov. Susana Martinez’s senior advisers on energy policy. The U.S. oil and gas industry — and the San Juan Basin — is in a “bust” period, Fine said Tuesday at an inter-tribal energy conference at San Juan College’s School of Energy.

“This is what a bust is. You lose the workforce,” said Fine, who is associate director at New Mexico Center for Energy Policy at New Mexico Tech. “Loss to the country and to the Southwest will be the workforce. It will be decimated at levels of less than $30 a barrel (of crude oil).”

And 2015 was a year of layoffs and cutbacks.

Since the collapse of oil prices on the commodities market in fall of 2014, the number of  workers laid off from local oil and gas companies — from the large corporations to the smaller independents — has been in the thousands.

“We’re in a ‘bust.’  So be ahead of the curve, and think ahead in this business by at least six months,” Fine told the Native American and non-tribal energy leaders and business people in the Merrion conference room at the new $15.8 million school.

He said looming federal regulations such as the the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s proposed Onshore Oil and Gas Orders Nos. 3, 4 and 5 along with proposed updates to its rule aimed at reducing “fugitive” atmospheric methane from oil and gas operations were doubling the pain already caused by low crude oil prices. He said that a third of all U.S. oil and gas producers — especially those burdened with debt — will inevitably go bankrupt.

But Fine’s sobering analysis wasn’t without one ray of hope for the industry.”

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