From around 2005 to early 2014, the revolution in North American oil and gas production, spurred by the development of long reach horizontal drilling and massive hydraulic fracturing technologies, attracted billions of dollars in new capital to the space – fueling huge growth in drilling activity, oil and gas production, and in the numbers and size of oil and gas producers operating in the space. However, with the sudden collapse of oil prices (beginning in the third quarter of 2014, which saw the value of crude decline by more than 50% from its high in July of that year), the inflow of capital has shrunk, and with it, the expansive growth in the producer market. While the collapse in the oil markets has had far reaching impacts across the global economy, nowhere are the consequences more greatly felt than in the North American oil and gas fields.
With this low price environment extending for almost a year now, US and Canadian producers have slashed drilling and exploration budgets and are cutting costs to preserve cash in order to ensure their survival. Companies that had principally relied on debt financing to support their drilling activities have been particularly impacted and many are struggling to meet debt payments, forcing liquidation of assets as bankruptcies loom. The upstream market is seeing the beginning of a wave of mergers and acquisitions as the stronger producers, those that funded their activities through generated cash or retained earnings, are now looking for bargains amongst the weaker.
Read the document online or download it from the CTRM Center Addressing the Decline – Finding the Silver Lining for Producers