September 30, 2015

Shell, oil prices, drilling, #txlege and budgeting

First, it looks like my poll for the quarter ending today was way wrong, though no more wrong than paid oil analysts, on average. Averaging votes, you and I said oil would be around $58-59 a barrel at the end of the month. And, we were off by, oh, only about $15 a barrel, per the latest numbers from Oil-Price.net.

Meanwhile, that same slump has caused Shell to pull back from Arctic drilling. Shed no tears, though; the oil giant will be back when oil gets above ... $70 a barrel, venturing on them holding on for a little while before premature withdrawal.

It's also caused greed machine Chesapeake to finally face the need for layoffs.

As for what's ahead for the coming quarter? Your guess is as good as mine, so I'll have a new poll up for those guesses. Let's just say that price points will be about $5 lower.

Meanwhile, our state's urban Jethro Controller, Glenn Hegar, is probably still masturbating his rosy scenario on the Texas budget, even as the falloff could be staggering — 13 percent in the Eagle Ford, 7 percent in the Permian. That much less drilling means fewer double cab pickups sold; fewer new houses bought; fewer remodelings; fewer fancy restaurant dinners; etc., etc. And, all of that means fewer sales tax dollars for Hegar's state treasury. Since the state has lost nearly 30,000 oil jobs this year, this continued slump in sales taxes is not an unrealistic scenario.

As for when things will pick up? Chris Tomlinson refers to U.S. oilmen who say the price needs not to get above $60, but above $70, or higher yet, for major investment in the American oil patch to pick up again. Per his piece, if $80 is really the threshold, that means waiting until the next decade.

Is our urban Jethro listening?

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