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U.S. companies remain nervous about oil prices. Spending has been cut as prices fail to rebound significantly, and further price drops could quickly lead to more shrinkage in the rig count.
Monthly average crude oil prices continued to fall in January. The average domestic crude oil first purchase price declined $11.76 (21.4 percent), to $43.10 per barrel. The average free-on-board (f.o.b.) cost of imported crude oil dropped $9.77 (19.5 percent), to $40.29 per barrel. The average landed cost of foreign crude oil fell $11.26 (20.5 percent), to $43.75 per barrel.
Preliminary dry gas production for January 2015 was 2,287 billion cubic feet (Bcf), or 73.8 Bcf/day, down from last month's record high of 74.8 Bcf/day. January's production was a 6 Bcf/day increase from 67.8 Bcf/day in January 2014, an 8.8% rise from year to year.
The decline in crude oil prices since last summer has had a direct impact on oil producers' sales revenue, but hedging strategies have lessened the effects of lower prices on some producers' total revenue. Oil producers who adopt hedging strategies can reduce their price risk and generate smoother financial outcomes in unstable markets. A common hedging practice is to sell futures and swaps to lock in desired prices for future production, a practice that can shield producers' revenue from decreasing prices.
Iraq boosted crude shipments in March to the highest level in more than three decades, adding to a global supply glut that has helped push down oil prices by 46% in the last year.
Despite a 50 percent slide in crude prices since last summer, U.S. shale oil producers are enjoying remarkably easy access to capital markets and this will allow them to avoid getting squeezed when banks reset their loans in April.
U.S. crude oil production (including lease condensate) increased during 2014 by 1.2 million barrels per day (bbl/d) to 8.7 million bbl/d, the largest volume increase since recordkeeping began in 1900. On a percentage basis, output in 2014 increased by 16.2%, the highest growth rate since 1940. Most of the increase during 2014 came from tight oil plays in North Dakota, Texas, and New Mexico where hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling were used to produce oil from shale formations.
The U.S. should immediately begin a push to exploit its enormous trove of oil in the Arctic waters off of Alaska, or risk a renewed reliance on imported oil in the future, an Energy Department advisory council says in a study submitted Friday.
The US drilling rig count dropped just 21 units to settle at 1,048 rigs working during the week ended Mar. 27, representing the smallest decline in 15 weeks.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Commerce Department said Wednesday a unit of Paris-based Schlumberger Ltd. has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $232.7 million penalty for conspiracy to violate trade sanctions with Iran and Sudan.