North American drilling: We wuz wrong (sort of) ///

Most of you will recognize the famous title from The Economist, when it confessed that its forecast of impending doom in oil supply “wuz wrong.” This midyear update of World Oil’s January forecast (published in the February issue) would seem to indicate that we were way too optimistic then, when we called for a 20% drop in US drilling, to 43,926 wells. Rigs were in freefall at the time, so we had to guess at where the bottom lay. We believe that we’ve now seen the worse. If this revised forecast holds, then US drilling will fall off to 37,966 wells, about 30% down from 2008. And even this may be too optimistic, as it is predicated on the bottom of a V-shaped recovery having already occurred and rig counts improving in the second half. Indeed, this revised forecast calls for the second half having 15% more wells drilled than the first half—which is entirely dependent on oil prices stabilizing at July’s levels, and gas prices gaining ground.

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