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The external fund manager backed by Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger, Li Lu, makes no bones about it when he says...
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- America’s second shale boom is running out of steam. But don’t panic just yet, a third one may be coming over the horizon.The U.S. Energy Information Administration published its latest short-term energy outlook last week and has cut its forecast of oil production by the end of 2020 for the fourth straight month. It now expects American output to rise by just 370,000 barrels a day over the course of next year. That will be the slowest growth in four years and is yet another indicator that the latest period of rapid shale expansion is faltering.The number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. has fallen in each of the last 10 months, dropping by a total of 20% since November. And productivity gains are waning. Drilling in the Permian, the most prolific of the shale basins, fell by 11% in the nine months to August, according to the EIA.The development of the U.S. shale patch is a bit like that of a person. During the first growth spurt in the four years to 2014 the industry was in the toddler phase. Everything was new and exciting, the toddlers stuck their fingers (or in this case their drill bits) into everything, just to see what would happen, and they pushed the boundaries in every direction. The toddler developed quickly, but the outside world taught it a hard lesson with a crash in the oil price in 2014.The second boom from 2016 has been more like the adolescent phase. After picking themselves up and learning to live in their changed world, the young adults developed their muscles and concentrated only on the things that interested them (the sweet spots in the shale deposits) to the exclusion of everything else. This focus has brought bigger output gains than the first boom. In the three years between December 2016 and December 2019 output is expected to have increased by 4.2 million barrels a day, compared with 3.9 million barrels a day between December 2010 and December 2014.The biggest challenges of the second shale boom have been identifying and exploiting those sweet spots, consolidating acreage to enable the use of longer wells, and building infrastructure to move the gas and liquids to markets (including overseas).But with a WTI oil price of about $50 a barrel, some in the shale patch are struggling. Shale companies are being forced to produce more to service their high debts, but they aren’t making any surplus profit to cut their borrowing or pay shareholders. Now those investors are starting to demand more of a return.With the crude price seemingly stuck close to where it is — despite the tensions in the Persian Gulf region which flared up again on Friday — the next round of discussions between the shale producers and their lenders could be difficult. Some mergers may follow.Yet fans of U.S. oil shouldn’t be disconsolate. The end of the second shale boom will usher in a third: the period of young adulthood. This will bring a range of new skills, but production will grow at a more measured pace.This third boom will be driven by the international oil majors and will be characterized by a focus on better extraction, rather than rapid output growth. The application of enhanced oil recovery techniques, consolidation of ownership, automation of drilling, and rationalizing of supply chains will increase the volume of oil extracted over the lifetime of a well and reduce costs. But it won’t deliver the same pace of growth as seen recently.The recovery rate of oil from shale deposits is typically about 5%-10%, but ConocoPhillips has pushed recovery as high as 20% in some parts of the Eagle Ford shale play in Texas, and it could reach 40% under the right circumstances. The upside to the lifetime recovery rate from Eagle Ford would be huge, potentially extending higher production rates for longer.The third shale boom is coming. Just don’t expect it to look like the first two.To contact the author of this story: Julian Lee at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Julian Lee is an oil strategist for Bloomberg. Previously he worked as a senior analyst at the Centre for Global Energy Studies.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
There’s a reason why investing in high-quality stocks like Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU)(NYSE:SU) is better than putting your money in mutual funds.
Major parties are providing detailed plans on energy, but Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU)(NYSE:SU) will remain a top pick for me no matter who comes out on top on October 21.
(Bloomberg) -- Several wildfires are raging in Southern California, including a blaze at the edge of Los Angeles that’s led to the evacuation of 25,000 homes and a sprawling natural gas-storage site that once sprung the biggest U.S. gas leak.The Aliso Canyon gas field operated by Sempra Energy’s Southern California Gas Co. was evacuated after the blaze, named the Saddleridge fire, broke out Thursday in hills north of the San Fernando Valley, the company said in a statement. About 100,000 people were displaced, police said.The fire has burned more than 7,500 acres and is about 13% contained, authorities said. A cause hasn’t been determined. It comes after California utilities cut power to more than 2 million people to avoid having live wires topple during windstorms and spark wildfires in the state’s largest-ever preemptive blackout. Power has been restored to 97% of PG&E Corp.’s affected customers.East of Los Angeles, another fire -- named Sandalwood -- in Riverside County has burned 823 acres. Further west, the Wendy blaze in Ventura County has burned 91 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.For more, listen to this mini-podcast on California’s wildfire blackouts.Edison International’s Southern California Edison utility had begun to restore power to customers it had cut power, but about 14,000 homes and businesses remained in the dark as of late Friday. The company warned 110,000 were still at risk of losing service. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Saddleridge fire broke out in Edison’s territory or that of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Both operate in the area. The Los Angeles Fire Department said it was investigating reports of sparks flying from a transformer at the time of the blaze, which began along the 210 Freeway near Yarnell Street in Sylmar.READ MORE: Governor Slams PG&E as Epic Blackout EbbsAs they battle the blaze, crews have staged firefighting equipment around the Aliso Canyon storage site, according to SoCalGas. The facility does not appear to have suffered damage, and there are no indications of leaks, the utility said in a statement at 10 a.m. local time Friday. The company said it doesn’t anticipate that any of the field’s wellheads will be damaged.The blaze also prompted authorities to partially close several freeways including parts of Interstate 5, the West Coast’s main north-south artery.In 2015, employees discovered a massive gas leak at Aliso Canyon, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate for months. Sempra has already reported more than $1 billion in costs associated with the incident.(Updates with PG&E restoration in third paragraph)\--With assistance from Christopher Palmeri, Naureen S. Malik, Nathan Crooks, Hailey Waller and Nic Querolo.To contact the reporter on this story: David R. Baker in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at email@example.com, Pratish NarayananFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Recent reports hint that Apple could release its iPhone 5G modem by 2022. Today, Apple stock hit a high of $233.81, with a market cap of $1.054 trillion.
Today, Lisa Su completed five years as the CEO of AMD. In these five years, she's brought it back from near bankruptcy and made it into a worthy competitor.
WEC Energy (WEC) is an attractive choice for investors right now, courtesy of its robust infrastructure investments, stable economic condition and customer addition.
(Bloomberg) -- Dan Edwards watched Fort McMurray, Alberta, turn into the insolvency capital of Canada from a brown brick warehouse on King Street, home to the Wood Buffalo Food Bank.Ten years ago, about 2,000 people came by every month for jars of peanut butter and cans of soup. Now, he and his staff help feed four times that. Before, the clientele was mostly folks struggling to pay rents that shot up during the oil boom. Today, it’s often men and women who were living high before the bust. Sometimes, they pull up in shiny pickups purchased just a year or two ago. “You never know who’s going to walk through your door,” said Edwards, the food bank’s director. “Individuals that have degrees and education and skills—but the jobs just aren’t what they were.”Once the booming heart of the country’s energy industry, the little city of 75,000 in northeastern Alberta has become a showcase for the debt troubles many Canadians are facing. Fat paychecks and generous overtime earlier this decade fueled big spending on customized pickups and million-dollar homes. With work drying up, the bill has come due.Read More: Drowning in Debt, Freaked-Out Canadians Brace for a ReckoningConsumer insolvency filings in the Fort McMurray district climbed 39% in 2018, the largest percentage increase in Canada, federal data show. Claims against property, the first step in the foreclosure process, surged almost tenfold over the past three years, according to court records. The city’s 90-day delinquency rate on non-mortgage loans climbed to 1.75% in the second quarter, compared with 1.12% nationally, according to Equifax Canada.The five-year slump that’s cut oil prices in half since 2014 has been a driver in the bust. What piled on the pain was a crippling shortage of pipelines out of the McMurray Formation, a massive reserve of crude-laden oil sands. Plans for new lines have been squelched or stalled by court challenges from an array of opponents, including U.S. activists who view the oil sands as a “carbon bomb” that will one day unleash a climate catastrophe.Stewardship of the energy industry has become a central issue of Canada’s federal election later this month. The Conservative Party has portrayed itself as a champion of the sector and pledges to remove regulations Prime Minister Justin Trudeau implemented. The Liberals, meanwhile, are trying to strike a balance between developing Alberta’s energy resources and making Canada a leader in combating climate change.Video: Fort McMurray, Once Booming Oil Town, Is Now the Insolvency CapitalIn May, after five years at Suncor Energy Inc.’s Fort Hills oil-sands mine, Steve Richardson was let go, like many others in the industry.Richardson earned around six figures most years as a heavy equipment operator. For about 10 months, he commuted from Vancouver Island in British Columbia, with Suncor paying for most of his flights and putting him up in a camp near the work site. He’d dig trenches for 14 days, then go home for seven.After the travel reimbursements stopped, he moved his family to a small town about a seven-hour drive from Fort Mac, so he could keep the job. Now he’s doing short-term work and making economies where he can, such as canceling his family’s cable subscription. “I spend a lot of time wondering what the next job is going to be,” Richardson, 42, said. He’s thankful he resisted buying boats or taking vacations on credit, as many of his friends did. “I never got into all the toys. I’m kind of fortunate that way, that I didn’t have to sell everything off like some other people. I’ve seen a lot of that. It’s like a fire sale.”The energy business has long been core to the local economy. Commercial production got off the ground in the 1940s, but the oil was always a devil to recover. It’s mired in a sludge that has to be tediously pumped out or strip-mined in open pits. Either way, the process is technologically challenging.The potential, though, is staggering. With 165.4 billion barrels, these oil sands are the world’s third-largest proven reserve, trailing only those in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. As oil prices were climbing from 2004 to 2014, the industry invested C$210.1 billion ($157.7 billion), more than last year’s combined total capital spending by all of the companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.Over those 10 years, oil-sands output more than doubled, to 2.2 million barrels a day. Canada shot up from the world’s eighth-largest oil-producing nation to the fifth-largest, overtaking Iran, Mexico and Norway.It was a heady time.Tax revenue and corporate sponsorships paid for a revamp of the Fort McMurray International Airport, improvements to schools, top-notch hockey facilities and a gleaming new recreation center, where Carrie Underwood was a recent headliner.The city’s population doubled as workers crowded in from around the country, sending rents and home prices surging and prompting a cascade of typical boomtown challenges, from crazy traffic to crowded schools. Companies, desperate for labor, threw six-figure salaries at low-skill jobs and covered commuting costs for roughnecks and people from as far away as Canada’s Atlantic Coast. Median annual household incomes more than doubled from 2001 to 2011, to about C$181,000. Then oil prices tanked. The pipeline plans stalled. International giants, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc, ConocoPhillips and Total SA sold off their major oil-sands assets. Capital investments are on track to decline for a fifth straight year to an estimated C$12 billion this year, about one-third of the 2014 level, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.Several operators—Suncor, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Cenovus Energy Inc. and a few others—are still active and generally profitable. But they’ve managed that by cutting costs, including, of course, that of labor.“People aren’t getting the overtime that they used to get, or they’re not getting any overtime at all,” said Sandra Landry, an insolvency trustee at MNP Ltd.If things weren’t bad enough when oil bottomed around $26 a barrel in early 2016, the largest wildfire in recent history swept through the Fort Mac area that May. It forced the evacuation of more than 80,000 people, destroyed almost 2,000 homes and caused about C$3.7 billion in insured losses, making it the country’s costliest natural disaster.“The housing market is down, there’s the economic downturn and there’s still the recovery from the fire,” said Don Scott, mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray. Home prices remain 44% below the recent peak.Sean O’Byrne moved to Fort Mac from Grande Prairie, Alberta, after the fire to open a branch of a friend’s siding business to repair damaged houses. That work dried up in November. Now he’s selling cars, making far less than the C$1,000 a day he could rake in with the siding business; customers at the General Motors dealership are no longer trading in for new models every two years. He and his wife have cut back on travel and moved to a cheaper apartment closer to their children’s school, saving C$900 in rent, he said while sipping coffee in a Tim Hortons doughnut shop facing a forested area, where charred trees stick out among new growth.“People aren’t spending money like they used to,” he said.They likely won’t be in the near future. There are only a few projects on the horizon that would create many new jobs. Teck Resources Ltd.’s proposed C$20 billion Frontier mine is in the early stages of the regulatory-approval process. Imperial Oil Ltd., a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp., has put its long-planned C$2.6 billion Aspen mine on hold, waiting to see if the pipeline situation improves.There aren’t many bets being laid that it will. More than a few folks would rather it not. Since the frenzy died down, traffic has returned to normal, in part because the oil money helped build a new bridge, over the Athabasca river. The unemployment rate, which skyrocketed to around 10% in 2016, has settled down to 6.3%, mostly a function of workers decamping for more promising prospects.“That massive boom and gold-rush mentality that took place—I would rather not relive that,” said Alex Pourbaix, chief executive officer of Cenovus, adding the entire industry has learned the benefits of measured growth.These days, the company will only consider expansion projects that will be profitable with the benchmark U.S. oil price at $45 a barrel, about $10 less than the current level. Some oil-sands projects undertaken a decade ago required $100 a barrel to break even.John Hickey is also content with the slowdown. A mechanic who works on used oil-industry vehicles, he lost his house in the wildfire. Two years ago, a builder quoted him C$500,000. The offers keep moving down, and he’s waiting for one to get to $200,000 or so before going ahead.In the meantime, he’s sharing a one-bedroom condo with a friend, sleeping in a tent in the living room to give himself a bit of privacy. He still has work and has always lived within his means, a lesson for places like Fort Mac that can see the money go as quickly as it came, he said.Too many, he said, “made a lifestyle based on an economy that wasn’t sustainable.” To contact the authors of this story: Kevin Orland in Calgary at firstname.lastname@example.orgChris Fournier in Ottawa at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scanlan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Simon CaseyAnne ReifenbergJacqueline ThorpeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
HP stock dropped around 2% on Thursday after Goldman Sachs turned bearish on it. Among the 17 analysts covering HP, only one analyst gave it a “buy” rating.
All three major U.S. indexes jumped Thursday on the back of some positive U.S.-China trade war news. Even if a deal isn't reached anytime soon the semiconductor industry seems sure to be a solid long-term play...
On Monday, AMD launched its lower-end, Navi-based, 7nm RX 5500 GPU. Intel (INTC) has given hints about its highly anticipated Xe GPU with ray tracing.