Sunday, April 14, 2013

Locking Into A More Expensive Cost Structure

This is insightful, from the April 12, 2013 edition of the Financial Times - More buck, less bang by Sylvia Pfeifer and Guy Chazan:

"The increasing sophistication of Big Oil has made crude more costly.  That, combined with rising oil demand from the emerging economies of Asia, is partly why the price of oil has more than quadrupled over the past 10 years, from about $25 a barrel in 2002 to $110 last year.  That in turn has meant soaring petrol prices that have only exacerbated the economic problems of the past four years.

Yet one of the most alarming elements of the increase in cost and complexity is that the majors have been getting much less of a bang for their buck.  According to Schlumberger, the oil services group, annual capital spending for the industry has more than tripled in the past 10 years , reaching $500 billion in 2011.  But all this expenditure is not delivering.  Last year, Bernstein says, the European majors failed to find enough new oil and gas to replace what they had produced , chalking up a reserve replacement ratio of only 92 per cent.

More alarming still is that oil majors' seeming inability to deliver the new generation of multibillion dollar "megaprojects" on time and on budget.  A recent study by Independent Project Analysis shows the average big exploration and production project is 22 per cent late and 25 per cent over budget."

The Energy-Water Nexus may be producing a similar track for water - - where water is "locking into a more expensive cost structure."  The language of energy and water is increasingly the same - - searching in remote areas, increasing sophistication, cutting edge, new frontiers, nothing new, mature production, loss of control, etc.  It is the language of a different cost structure looking into the future.

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