Daniel Yergin on oil's historic year

Blog Post

Daniel Yergin is an award winning U.S. author and a powerful voice in the energy policy space. His books The Prize and The Quest should be mandatory reading for anyone interested in energy policy. In a recent interview with The Globe and Mail, Yergin asserts that this year has been a historic one for oil.

Yergin notes that all of the critical drivers for the industry (China, Saudi Arabia, and U.S. Shale) have seen dramatic movement in 2015. China’s growth has slowed significantly and now they are moving to devalue the Yuan Renminbi. U.S. shale production has exceeded all projections, and Saudi Arabia refuses to surrender market share. It is no wonder that the price of oil has plummeted. Yergin states:

“For the last 10 years, the theme that dominated the oil market was Chinese economic growth and China’s need for oil. We then saw a switch to something that people didn’t expect, which was the incredible surge in North American supply. U.S. oil supply is almost double what it was in 2008, and growth has continued in Canada. This historic change was matched by a second once-in-a-generation development: the decision of Saudi Arabia not to cut production to support the price. The Saudis have, in effect, said to America and the world: “You like the market, let the market decide.”

For the U.S. energy sector, the incredible challenge is to drive down production costs and attempt to be the last producer standing. If anyone can accomplish this task, it is U.S. E&Ps.   

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