Today's post comes from a new report from Plastics News Research department: "Shale Gas Industry Review and Outlook 2015."
Reversing a trend that has lasted more than half a century, the federal government predicts the U.S. will become a net energy exporter within 15 years, as the shale boom increases the production of crude oil and natural gas.
Despite the optimism, there are many industry leaders who question whether the U.S. shale boom will last. The recent decline in oil prices has left more questioning whether it can be sustained.
Through the first half of 2015, companies have been deactivating rigs across the country. The number of active rigs fell from 1,609 in October to 1,223 in January and some experts predict fewer than 1,000 will remain by the end of the year.
More than six months of declining oil prices, along with low prices for the Utica shale's natural gas, have turned things around — and turned the almost daily shale news from good to bad.
“There hasn't been a shortage of bad news for about the last two months now,” said Shawn Bennett, executive vice president and spokesman for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association.
Or, as another industry insider put it, anonymously: “This is really starting to suck.”
John White, a senior research analyst at Roth Capital Partners, said: “All the economics for shale exploration are being reset. There is going to be a much lower level of drilling activity.