The last barrel ///

Last month, this column stated that we are in a “new reality,” with regard to oil and gas prices. Furthermore, in the four weeks between that writing and this effort, additional events have taken place, suggesting that, at a minimum, there will be a downturn of at least a year, maybe more. One of these events is the chopping-back of 2015 capital budgets by dozens of operators. Also, service firms and operators, most based in Houston, had announced personnel reductions of more than 30,000 people by early February, although some of that figure will be outside the U.S. Additionally, since the Jan. 23 passing of Saudi Arabian King Abdullah and the ascension of his half-brother, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, there has been no signal that the Kingdom will change its attitude on OPEC and global oil production levels anytime soon.

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