This article was originally published by John Hamilton here.
Production flows from a given oil field naturally decline over time, but we keep trying harder and technology keeps improving. Which force is winning the race?
An oil reservoir is a pool of hydrocarbons embedded and trapped under pressure in porous rock. As oil is taken out, the pressure decreases and the annual rate of flow necessarily declines. A recent study of every well drilled in Texas over 1990-2007 by Anderson, Kellogg, and Salant (2014) documents very clearly that production flows from existing wells fall at a very predictable rate that is quite unresponsive to any incentives based on fluctuations in oil prices.
Average monthly production from Texas wells drilled in indicated period as a function of months since well completion. Source: Anderson, Kellogg, and Salant (2014).
If you want to produce more oil, you have to drill a
(click to enlarge)The chart above helps to illustrate the significance of America’s shale oil and gas boom by showing the combined domestic output of US oil and gas (in quadrillion BTUs, EIA data here). After production of conventional oil and gas peaked around 1970 at almost 45 quadrillion BTUs, there was a gradual, steady decline that continued until about 2005, when combined production had dropped to a 43-year low of 31.85 quadrillion BTUs, the lowest level since 1962. If that trend had continued, the US would now be producing only about 30 quadrillion BTUs of oil and gas (or less), which would have put us back to the production level of the late 1950s.
But then on the way to an era of increasing energy scarcity, a fortuitous series of technological drilling and extraction technologies emerged, thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of American “petropreneurs,” and
By Tim Melvin
Have you read the book There's Always Something to Do by Christopher Russo-Gill?
If not, it should move right to the top of your summer reading list. It is the accumulated reflections of Peter Cundill. A Canadian value investor, Cundill used the Graham Deep Value Approach to return a little more than 15 percent, on average annually, to investors for almost 30 years.
Cundill once described his approach as looking to buy dollars for $0.40, and he focused almost entirely on the balance sheet. He once commented that he did liquidation analysis and liquidation analysis only. He wanted to buy stocks in companies that traded below where he estimated they could be profitably liquidated.
1. Things To Do
Cundill looked all over the world for ideas, and felt that most of the time he could find enough bargain issues to get his funds invested in such bargain