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Oil Production Vital Statistics April 2016

Most regions experienced production losses in March with the exceptions of Iran (+80,000 bpd) and Europe (+90,000 bpd compared with a year ago). Total liquids were down -260,000 bpd for a loss of -990,000 bpd since the peak last July. The oil price rally has continued with WTI on $44 as I write. While many signs point to the worst of the rout being over, it remains premature to declare that it is over.

Drilling continues to decline across the board with US oil+gas rigs = 420, this is the lowest level of US drilling for over 20 years. Two strongly opposing forces control the near and medium term destiny of the oil market. The collapse in drilling must surely lead to an acceleration of production decline near term. Offset by the ever present risk of shale drillers returning to action on the back of a continued price rally.

The following totals compare March 2016 with February 2016:

  • World Total Liquids down 260,000 bpd
  • USA down 90,000 bpd
  • North America down 220,000 bpd (includes USA)
  • OPEC down 100,000 bpd
  • Saudi Arabia down 40,000 bpd
  • Iran up 80,000 bpd
  • Russia + FSU down 30,000 bpd
  • Europe up 90,000 bpd (YOY)
  • Asia no change.

EIA oil price and Baker Hughes rig count charts are updated to the end of April 2016, the remaining oil production charts are updated to March 2016 using the IEA OMR data.

Figure 1 The oil price rally is losing momentum and may form another head. The day that supply and demand come into balance is drawing ever closer. But there is the overhang of crude oil stocks and the risk that higher prices send frackers back to work.

Figure 2 At this scale, the oil price recovery is brought into perspective. The price needs to break above $50 to be "sure" that the current price crisis is over.

Figure 3 Not updated from last month.

Figure 4 The US oil and gas rig count continues to plunge with relatively little impact upon production.

Figure 5 Stacking the lines from Figure 4 shows that US drilling has now declined below any level seen for over 20 years.

Figure 6 The near-term peak in US production was 13.24 Mbpd in April 2015. The March 2016 figure was 12.57 Mbpd, down 670,000 bpd from that peak and down 90,000 bpd from last month that to large extent reflects data revisions. The decline in the USA represents 68% of the total global decline.

Figure 7 OPEC production has been rock steady for 12 months...