We’ve long noted that everyone, from Saudi Arabia to the Green Party, misunderstands the logic of the US onshore oil & gas industry, namely that it (a) is rational; (b) is flexible; (c) understands sunk costs; (d) has ready access to equally flexible and rational finance; and (e) is constantly innovating – in the direction of reducing costs. And thus it defies predictions every time.
This cartoon says it all really.
If you want some words to go with it, there’s always Nick ‘sometimes useless, sometimes not’ Butler blogging in the FT.
[Saudi] strategy has not only failed but has caused serious damage to the Saudis themselves. Prices fell much further than anyone anticipated because other participants in the market did not respond as expected. The Saudi increase in production has not destroyed the US industry – American output has fallen only marginally despite a 70 per cent drop in prices. The kingdom simply underestimated the resilience of the US producers and their ability to cut costs.
Ain’t that the truth.