US Shale Producers Prepare To Adjust Amid Volatility, Coronavirus

Continued fears about the coronavirus, demand uncertainty and OPEC moves are adding to a growing list of challenges for U.S. shale players.

Recent commodity price volatility led Permian Basin shale players Diamondback Energy Inc. and Parsley Energy Inc. to scale back drilling.(Source: Shutterstock.com)

Recent commodity price volatility led Permian Basin shale players Diamondback Energy Inc. and Parsley Energy Inc. to scale back drilling.(Source: Shutterstock.com)

Already under investor pressure to deliver higher returns and free cash flow, most oil and gas companies are in a “wait-and-see” mode, sticking to lower spending and drilling programs in place as they await price rebounds and higher oil demand, analysts said on a recent webinar.

A couple, however, have already made moves.

“Everybody has come out and said that if a prolonged period of low prices exists, they will take that into consideration and they will decrease activity,” Sar Ozkan, director of energy analytics and crude market efforts for Enverus, said on a joint webinar with RS Energy Group on March 5. “They’re not afraid to decline. That’s just the world that we live in now—where free cash flow is king.”

An oil price rebound and higher oil demand remained elusive on March 9 as the market endured one of its worst days in recent history.

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Velda Addison

Velda Addison is the senior editor of digital media for Hart Energy’s editorial team. She covers energy with a focus on renewables.