And So It Goes…#510


I just love it when the acolytes and gurus of Global Monopoly Capitalism talk dirty. It saves having to wade through the voluminous amount of nonsense spouted by elected governments and their imbecile Ministers. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard from this morning’s Daily,we really know what’s happening Telegraph summarises the systems impending existential crisis succinctly.

The world’s leading oil and gas companies are taking on debt and selling assets on an unprecedented scale to cover a shortfall in cash, calling into question the long-term viability of large parts of the industry.
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said a review of 127 companies across the globe found that they had increased net debt by $106bn in the year to March, in order to cover the surging costs of machinery and exploration, while still paying generous dividends at the same time. They also sold off a net $73bn of assets.
This is a major departure from historical trends. Such a shortfall typically happens only in or just after recessions. For it to occur five years into an economic expansion points to a deep structural malaise.
The EIA said revenues from oil and gas sales have reached a plateau since 2011, stagnating at $568bn over the last year as oil hovers near $100 a barrel. Yet costs have continued to rise relentlessly. Companies have exhausted the low-hanging fruit and are being forced to explore fields in ever more difficult regions.

The International Energy Agency in Paris says global investment in fossil fuel supply rose from $400bn to $900bn during the boom from 2000 and 2008, doubling in real terms. It has since levelled off, reaching $950bn last year. The returns have been meagre. Not a single large oil project has come on stream at a break-even cost below $80 a barrel for almost three years.

A study by Carbon Tracker said companies are committing $1.1 trillion over the next decade to projects requiring prices above $95 to make money. Some of the Arctic and deepwater projects have a break-even cost near $120. “The oil majors like Shell are having to replace cheap legacy reserves with new barrels from much more difficult places,” said Mark Lewis from Kepler Cheuvreux.

Schadenfreude just got better !

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