Opinion

Analysis: Oil market glut will lead to declining prices through 2020 by Dr. Daniel Fine


With the OPEC-Russia meeting ahead, the price of oil is at a crossroad. 

President Trump wants lower prices for gasoline at the pump and the Democratic Party wants a shortage to lift prices higher. This is the 2020 presidential election, to re-elect Trump or a create a Democratic left-center White House.  

Is OPEC-Russia ready to sustain output cutbacks for $70 Brent Oil or continue revenue maximum against market share? Curiously, in the conversation at Vienna the Oxy purchase of Anadarko will resonate. Why? Oxy must now increase its export of oil to lower its debt (Warren Buffet and more) and prevent a serious management miscalculation of paying too much for Anadarko. 

Permian Delaware shale, with new high volume pipelines completed soon, must find expanding import markets of l.5 million barrels of oil per day or the equivalent of OPEC-Russia resuming late 2016 output for export.

As this writer concludes this column for the The Farmington Daily Times' Energy Magazine, which Is going on hiatus in San Juan County after this edition, there is no change in an outlook that dates back to the oil price crash of 2014-2016.  

There is too much oil (over-supply) against world demand for it.

Exxon-XTO in the Permian is prepared for $40 per barrel, and to still add  $82 billion value in the New Mexican Permian or the Delaware in the next 40 years.

However, along with Chevron, Oxy,  EOG and Pioneer, it must have a market for the economic recovery of reserves estimated at nearly 47 billion barrels in the Permian Delaware Basin. They must export against OPEC-Russia production.

The lifting cost of Saudi Aramco oil remains lower than Permian Shale. Saudi Aramco has sold debt (bonds) and 63% of its cash flow goes to its government? With oil demand slack and sluggish, and electric vehicles preparing for a 2024 market challenge both technically and politically (zero emissions). 

While associated natural gas has partially become a free commodity from Permian Delaware producers, natural gas is up next, after coal, as a target for Green Energy. It should resemble oil on a smaller scale as price dependent entirely on exports in the form of LNG.  

Will Persian Gulf, Australian, and Russian natural gas production roll backward in favor of American LNG? American exporters today cannot compete in a $5 per ton Asian LNG market.

Some San Juan Basin producers at the recent San Juan Basin Energy Conference openly discussed shifting capital spending

from natural gas to oil development.

This writer reaffirms his $50 average price for WTI oil in 2019 presented for the smaller independent producers at a briefing at Merrion Oil last December, but beginning early in 2020 forecasts a second half average of $38 per barrel .

In New Mexico, the Governor can adjust the Energy Transition Act basic law next February, but it should be a petroleum-revenue 30 day session without serious oil and gas organized opposition. 

New Mexico is now a hybrid Green State with more exportable oil and gas than every OPEC country except Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and yet it will impose the most effective rules for methane capture.  

No amount of ad hominem distraction against its policy and leadership will change this direction, and the nation could follow with the outcome of the national election next year.

Daniel Fine is the associate director of New Mexico Tech's Center for Energy Policy. The opinions expressed are his own.



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