Analyst doubts low oil prices will hamper U.S. production

Whenever a petroleum analyst writes a sentence that begins: “I can still recall when prices collapsed in 1986 …” you know he’s seen just about everything in the global oil market. Michael Lynch has some sage words for those who are predicting slashed U.S. production (and accompanying job losses) owing to the rapidly falling price of crude oil.

Writing in Forbes, Lynch opines (emphasis added):

“Various arguments are being made now about how expensive oil has become to produce and the manner in which this will support prices, but this is much more valid in the long-term. … It is hard to imagine that a multi-billion dollar deepwater platform would be abandoned because of a six-month price drop.

“Other factors will prevent a decline in production from lower oil prices. Companies with contracts renting rigs won’t just cancel them, laying off employees is a near-last resort, and leases must often be drilled in a certain period to hold them. Abandoning wells also has a cost, and oil price drops that are thought to be brief won’t cause many companies to do that.”