OPEC Decision Doesn't Intimidate

OPEC to Keep Oil Production High
OPEC to Keep Oil Production High

OPEC announced last Friday that it will stick with its policy to produce oil at a high rate, a measure that may signal they are underestimating Bakken producers.

Related: OPEC Challenges Bakken Shale Drillers

If the measure by OPEC was meant to intimidate U.S. energy producers, they may want to try again. Despite this tactic to crush competitors, U.S. oil companies have worked to streamline operations an become more efficient. Many now claim they can remain profitable at the lower crude prices for some time.

Lynn Helms, head of North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources says that “OPEC is still is our main competition. But what you’re seeing now is the Bakken becoming the swing producer, something that has happened relatively quickly because of efficiencies in drilling and completion technology.

In response to OPEC’s announcement, oil prices fell on Monday and analysts project this will prolong the supply glut for the rest of the year. But despite forecasted demands and increasing supplies, OPEC said it expected that the world’s oversupply of crude will likely ease over the coming quarters and that U.S. production will decline in the third quarter.

Read more at opec.com

Continental Resource's Harold Hamm on Falling Oil Prices - Videos

Continental Resources, the Bakken's second largest producer, will not change its course on new drilling immediately due to falling oil prices, according to its CEO Harold Hamm. In a Platt's Energy Week interview on Sunday, Hamm said prices would have to fall another 20% before Continental would significantly cut back its operations. Hamm has been making the rounds on TV, also appearing on CNBC, talking about what he believes are some of the reasons behind the drop in oil prices. Hamm points the finger sharply at OPEC, accusing the Saudi's of using rhetoric to dictate price.

Since June of this year, oil prices have been falling, and the reasons why have to do with supply v. demand. The shale oil boom, for instance, has increased the supply of oil worldwide, and demand has gone down in China, the world's second largest oil consumer. But the main reason oil prices have dropped can be traced back to OPEC, which has for all intents and purposes allowed the price of oil to drop, by actively engaging in talks of opposing cuts to production to curb supply.

Hamm doesn't believe the Saudi's have the power to set oil prices, but the fact remains OPEC controls 81% of the world's crude oil reserves. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which cited sources familiar with the matter, OPEC will oppose any cuts to it's oil production ceiling., in its late November meeting in Vienna.

See  Harold Hamm interview:

Platt's Energy Week Interview - 10/26/14