LONDON (Reuters) by John Kemp – The second U.S. shale oil drilling boom has started to cool as a decline in oil prices since the end of the third quarter of 2018 filters through to lower well boring and completion rates. The first boom ended when prices plunged in the second half of 2014; something similar is happening now, albeit on a milder scale corresponding to the smaller fall in prices. The number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States has fallen by more than 9 percent from its cyclical peak in November, according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes (“North America rotary rig count”, April 26). And crude output is down by almost 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) from its cyclical peak in December, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says (“Petroleum Supply Monthly”, April 30). Much of the recent output decline is attributable to the Gulf of Mexico, where offshore production is often volatile, so it needs to be interpreted with care (tmsnrt.rs/2WjeKfd). But onshore output from the Lower 48 states is also now growing more slowly, a sign the drilling boom is beginning to cool. Lower 48 output was up by 1.6 million barrels per day… continue reading
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