Good News: New upstream projects to double globally in 2017

Final investment decisions (FID) are expected to double globally in 2017 while exploration and production spending will increase for the first time since 2014, according OGJ and Wood Mackenzie Ltd.’s global upstream outlook.

Mackenzie predicts the number of global FIDs will rise to more than 20 in 2017, compared with just 9 in 2016. While it’s still short of the 2010-14 average of 40/year, the new projects are generally smaller and more efficient, with capex per barrel of oil equivalent averaging just $7/bbl, down from $17/bbl for the 2014 projects.

The research and consulting firm sees confidence beginning to return to the industry, with E&P spending up 3% to $450 billion—though still 40% below the 2014 level.

Geographically, the increase in activities will vary greatly as it is expected that the US shale oil production to reap most of the gains due to its relatively low cost and quick development which in some cases come down to only 6 months.

Oil shale was the main driver of the oversupply witnessed recently. According Wood Mackenzie estimates, it is expected that the US shale oil production grows by about 300 thousand barrels per day in 2017 to reach 4 million barrels a day.

As for prices, Mackenzie expects 57 dollars a barrel to be the average oil price in 2017 and then gradually increase to 85 dollars a barrel in 2020 accompanied by low supplies because of falling investments in the past few years. Since 2014 costs decreased 20% and are expected to be less than 5% again this year.

It is expected to increase the number of final investment decisions for projects that increase its resources on 50 million barrels of oil equivalent to more than double in 2017 to reach between 20 and 25 from only 9 in 2016.

However, the acceleration in activity will continue to be insufficient to bridge the growing gap between supply and demand and that McKinsey expects to widen to 20 million barrels per day by 2025 based on current development plans.