Oct 30, 2017

Cost of shale projects drops significantly from 2013

The World Bank released their big commodity markets outlook late last week, which shows how the average per-barrel cost for U.S. shale projects to be economic has come down a lot.

Data: World Bank, Commodity Markets Outlook, October 2017, Rystad Energy NASWellCube Premium; Note: Breakeven price is based on wellhead costs and does not include test activity; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

The lower break-even costs stem from a suite of factors, like technological improvements to how much service companies charge, which fell when oil prices tumbled.

Why it matters: That steep downward slope is one reason why U.S. drillers, especially in the Permian Basin, has become a persistently strong competitor to Saudi Arabia and other big producers.

  • In addition, the attractive economics of shale could sap industry interest in developing Arctic offshore and onshore regions that the Trump administration wants to make available — regions with potentially vast resources but that also require lots of capital to explore and develop.

Yes, but: "While shale companies are expected to continue to achieve efficiency gains, they are starting to face cost inflation for some inputs, especially skilled labor," the World Bank notes.

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World Bank changes hiring rules after asking Taiwanese staff to get Chinese passports

World Bank President David Malpass. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The World Bank has revised its staff rules after Axios reported in December that the bank had asked Taiwanese employees to obtain Chinese passports.

Why it matters: The revised rule, issued on Dec. 19, states that the World Bank gives hiring preference to nationals from member states, but does not prohibit hiring non-member state nationals. China has sought to squeeze out Taiwanese nationals from international institutions. The World Bank's new rules represent a compromise position.

Go deeperArrowJan 9, 2020

Eurozone producer prices sink again

Data: FactSet; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The continued decline in prices paid by manufacturers could be a major impediment to European policymakers' desire for higher inflation in the eurozone, and data released Monday shows things are not improving.

What happened: The producer price index for the eurozone fell for the fourth straight month in November.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020

The decade's biggest unexpected boom

Shale dominated the 2010s, even more than the iPhone or cloud computing. That's the claim made by blogger and investment adviser Josh Brown, who sees the U.S. shale boom causing a collapse in energy prices that had enormous economic and geopolitical consequences.

By the numbers: The U.S. currently produces roughly 12.7 million barrels of oil per day. That's an all-time high, and is more than double the 6.1 million expected 1o years ago.

Go deeperArrowJan 2, 2020