Most major conventional oil projects at risk at $50 oil price: WoodMac

oil projects

A number of proposed deepwater oil projects offshore west Africa and in non-OPEC countries won’t make any money at current oil prices. Sonangol photo.

Spending on oil projects exploration down over $1 trillion since beginning of slump

LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) – Most major conventional oil projects are at risk of cancellation or deferral if global prices remain at $50 a barrel, consultancy Wood Mackenzie said in a report on Wednesday.

Global upstream and exploration spending has already dropped by more than $1 trillion since the start of the oil price slump in mid-2014, the consultancy previously found, as cash-strapped oilcompanies tightened their purses.

Wood Mackenzie, which publishes regular assessments of the economics of the world’s oil and gas fields, said especially deepwater projects offshore west Africa and in non-OPEC nations won’t make any money at the current market price of $50 a barrel.

“In conventional oil projects, deepwater west Africa is a tough place to be. A number of projects in Angola and in Nigeria have been pushed out of our analysis,” Simon Flowers, Wood Mackenzie’s chief analyst, told Reuters.

Angola’s state oil company Sonangol has suspended all talks relating to assets sales and in Nigeria, the government has warned about using funds set aside for oil projects to fill budget shortfalls.

Nevertheless Wood Mackenzie’s analysis showed that aggressive cost cutting had increased the percentage of projects viable below $60 a barrel to 70 percent, up from 50 percent a year ago.

Reductions of around 15 percent in global oil service costs, including payments for drilling rigs or personnel, have helped boost some project economics, especially in the U.S. tight oil market, the report said.

As much as 9 million barrels per day (b/d) of potential fresh oil supply is currently commercially viable at an oil price of $60 a barrel, compared with 7 million b/d in the previous study.

“You will begin to see more FIDs (final investment decisions) come through by the end of this year and early 2017,” said Flowers, adding that U.S. tight oil and near field projects will be targeted as they are cheaper to bring on stream.

(Reporting by Karolin Schaps, editing by David Evans)

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