shale oil



Devastating Shale Oil Losses

Coming soon to a bank near you
Monday, October 19, 2015, 3:12 PM

Sometimes it helps to examine one narrow slice of the pie as a means to understanding the entire pie. In the case of the shale oil Ponzi scheme, we can both wrap our minds around the scale of the predicament and also answer the question of who the losses will be foisted on.

Once we’ve done that, you should be able to simply apply the same logic and learning to other sectors of the financial universe.  Learn one sub-bubble, learn them all; like a fractal foam of misadventure. » Read more


Markus Gann/Shutterstock

Mauldin Makes A Very Basic Error on Shale Oil

Beware 'analysis' based more on faith than facts
Monday, August 17, 2015, 2:58 PM

There’s really nothing much more important than knowing where we are in the oil story…but if you follow the hypesters from Wall Street or the technology lovers, you're likely to be misled.  A particularly wrong piece of analysis was recently released by John Mauldin, who has both bought into the hype and loves technology.

He even singled out our friend James Howard Kunstler for being wrong, yet then goes on to be spectacularly wrong himself. » Read more



The Shocking Data Proving Shale Oil Is Massively Over-hyped

It's time for America to focus on the facts
Saturday, December 13, 2014, 7:03 PM

Hooray, oil is suddenly much cheaper than it used to be. That's great news, right?

Not so fast. For certain it's not good news for those counting on a continued rise in US oil production from the "shale miracle". Many drillers were challenged to operate profitably when oil was above $70 per barrel. Very few will remain solvent with oil in the $50s (as it is as of this writing).

So, expect US oil production to suffer from these lower prices if they persist. But even if oil prices rise and rise soon, there's new data that indicates the total amount of extractable oil from America's shale plays is less -- much less -- than what we're being told (or better put, "sold"). » Read more


Peak Prosperity

Energy & The Economy - Crash Course Chapter 22

Why society will be forced to become less complex
Friday, November 21, 2014, 8:17 PM

In the past few chapters on Energy EconomicsPeak Cheap Oil, and the false promise of Shale Oil, we've gone into great detail to show how our economic growth is deeply dependent on our energy systems.

Understanding the known facts behind this story, as well as each of the stated risks is what The Crash Course is about: assessing those risks and deciding what, if anything, a prudent adult should do about adapting to these realities and facing these risks. 


Peak Prosperity

Shale Oil - Crash Course Chapter 21

Expensive. Over-hyped. And short-lived.
Friday, November 14, 2014, 6:38 PM

If you've watch the previous video chapter on Peak Cheap Oil, you may be wondering how any of that could be still be true given all the positive recent stories about shale oil and shale gas , many of which have proclaimed that “Peak Oil is dead”.

The only problem with this story is that it is misleading in some very important ways. And entirely false in others. » Read more


Peak Prosperity

Peak Cheap Oil - Crash Course Chapter 20

Still a very big, very real, threat to our way of life
Friday, November 7, 2014, 6:31 PM

Energy is the lifeblood of any economy.  But when an economy is based on an exponential debt-based money system and that is based on exponentially increasing energy supplies, the supply of that energy therefore deserves our very highest attention.

What’s clearly at work here is that we’re finding more oil, but it’s expensive. Yet total global demand for oil will climb as developing countries expand their economies and world population continues to grow. Competition for hydrocarbons will become more fierce than it has ever been. » Read more


Calin Tatu/Shutterstock

About that Shale Oil 'Miracle'…

Unpacking the propaganda
Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 7:16 AM

It's been said that humans are rationalizing -- not 'rational' -- animals. The deep truth in that statement is that we humans have strongly-held beliefs that color the information we take in an accept. We're often guilty of recognizing only the data that supports those beliefs while rejecting the rest.

For example, today most people place a great deal of faith in the potential for technology to fix whatever predicaments society may face in the future. And they support that view with cherry-picked data, while conveniently overlooking evidence suggesting technology is instead a sword with two edges. » Read more



The Hard Facts About Shale Oil

Its impact wil be short-lived. Much shorter at these prices.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014, 7:15 AM

Executive Summary

  • Why prices under $100 per barrel just aren't cash flow positive for shale oil producers
  • VIDEO: all you need to know about the shale oil industry
  • Why the Boom/Bust cycle is swinging to 'Bust' for shale companies
  • Why a prolonged 'Bust' in oil prices will create massive economic shockwaves

If you have not yet read Part 1: About That Shale 'Miracle'... available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

The Shale Reality

Now, let me build on the case that not only are shale companies not profitable at $50 per barrel oil, but they are often not profitable at prices nearly 100% higher than that.

I’m not about to make the case that all shale operators are unprofitable or about to go bust on the plays, but I am going to make the case that any sweeping statements like “technology will bring us Shale 2.0” are utterly adrift from the evidence at our disposal.

Let’s go back to September 2014, before any oil price weakness had crept into the picture.  At that point in time, according the WSJ author, the shale operators should have been swimming in cash.

Well, that’s just not the case. And some of them were losing their shirts:

Sumitomo’s US shale oil foray turns sour

Sept 29, 2014

Sumitomo Corp of Japan has drawn a line under its disastrous two-year foray into shale oil in the US, with writedowns connected to the project almost completely erasing its full-year earnings.

On Monday, Sumitomo, the fourth biggest of Japan’s trading companies by market capitalisation, said that an impairment loss of Y170bn ($1.6bn) on a “tight oil” project in west Texas would form the bulk of Y240bn of charges for the fiscal year to March 2015.


Hmmmm. I guess Sumitomo just failed to use enough smart technology or something, because otherwise how is it possible to lose $1.6 billion at a time when oil was solidly priced in the $100 range?

Sarcasm aside, the truth is that it’s all too easy to lose money in the shale plays, something I believe is already completely indicated by the negative free cash flows of the industry. 

In fact, that negative free cash flow evidence tells me that... » Read more


Peak Prosperity

Energy Economics - Crash Course Chapter 19

THE reason why growth will be more scarce in the future
Friday, October 24, 2014, 6:45 PM

The central point to this latest video is this: as we’ve shown in previous chapters of the Crash Course, our global economy depends on continual growth to function. And not just any kind of growth; but exponential growth.

But in order to grow, it must receive an ever-increasing input supply of affordable energy and resources from the natural world. What I’m about to show you is a preponderance of data that indicates those inputs will just not be there in the volumes needed to supply the growth that the world economy is counting on. » Read more

Featured Discussion

VIDEO: Chris on Falling Oil Prices

VIDEO: Chris on Falling Oil Prices

What will their impact be? And how long will they last?