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Oil Price Correction Triggers Shale Meltdown

Oil Price Correction Triggers Shale Meltdown

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It was a rough week for the U.S. shale industry.

A series of earnings reports came out in recent days, and while some drillers beat expectations, there were some huge misses as well.

Concho Resources, for instance, saw its share price tumble 22 percent when it disclosedseveral problems at once. Profits fell by 25 percent despite production increases. Concho conceded that it would slash spending and slow the pace of drilling in the second half of the year.

It also said that one of its projects where it tried to densely pack wells together, which it called “Dominator,” the results were not as good as they had hoped. The project had 23 wells, but production disappointed. The “30 and 60 day production rates were consistent with our other projects in that area, but the performance has declined,” Leach said. So, the company will abandon the densely packed well strategy and move forward with wider spacing.

In the second quarter the company had 26 rigs in operation, but that has since fallen to 18. At the start of the year, the company had 33 active rigs.

“We made the decision to adjust our drilling and completion schedule in the second half of the year to slow down and not chase incremental production at the expense of capital discipline,” Concho’s CEO Tim Leach told analysts on an earnings call. He said the company’s aiming for “a free cash flow inflection in 2020.”

The company reported a net loss of $792 million for the first six months of 2019. As Liam Denning put it in Bloomberg Opinion: “It’s sobering to think that Concho, valued at more than $23 billion in the spring of 2018 and having since absorbed the $7.6 billion purchase of RSP Permian Inc., now sports a market cap of less than $16 billion.”

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