OPEC took a swing at U.S. shale and knocked down Canada.
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The rumblings of revolt against Saudi Arabia and the OPEC Gulf states are growing louder as half a trillion dollars goes up in smoke, and each month fails to bring about the long-awaited killer blow against U.S. shale.
Threatened by surging production from North America, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has been pumping above its quota for 17 months as it seeks to take market share from higher-cost regions. The resulting 60 per cent price crash is hitting Alberta harder than Texas.
Canadian producers are struggling to cut the cost of extracting bitumen from the oilsands, and their other wells are failing to match the efficiency gains of U.S. rivals, a Bloomberg Intelligence analysis shows. While output keeps rising in the Permian Basin, the largest U.S. shale play, companies are slowing output from wells in Alberta and have shelved 18 oilsands projects during the downturn, according to ARC Financial Corp.
“OPEC wants to hinder shale from its strong growth trajectory but there are higher-cost producers, such as in the oil sands of Canada, that are in the line of fire,” said Peter Pulikkan, an analyst at BI in New York. “Shale will eventually be impacted but it’s not the first on the list.”