US light tight oil (LTO) producers make striking cost reductions of 30% in 2015 and 22% in 2016

For their part, US light tight oil (LTO) producers saw striking cost reductions of 30% in 2015 and 22% in 2016. This gives a clear indication that many are capable of positioning themselves to raise production in a lower price environment.

“We are witnessing the start of a second wave of US supply growth, and its size will depend on where prices go,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “But this is no time for complacency. We don’t see a peak in oil demand any time soon. And unless investments globally rebound sharply, a new period of price volatility looms on the horizon.”

The largest contribution to new supplies will come from the United States. The IEA expects US light tight oil (LTO) production to make a strong comeback and grow by 1.4 mb/d by 2022 if prices remain around USD 60/bbl. Expectations for US LTO are higher than last year’s forecast thanks to impressive productivity gains.

In the next few years, oil supply is growing in the United States, Canada, Brazil and elsewhere but this growth could stall by 2020 if the record two-year investment slump of 2015 and 2016 is not reversed. While investments in the US shale play are picking up strongly, early indications of global spending for 2017 are not encouraging.

Global oil and gas upstream investment fell by 25% in 2015 and by another 26% in 2016, affecting the major oil companies and smaller independents alike. In 2017 there are modest signs of recovery led by higher investment in the US light tight oil region. Alongside falling prices, costs have dropped significantly: we estimate that global upstream costs declined by 15% in 2015 and 17% in 2016.

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