Oil production issues prompt price changes

Rapid oil production creates temporary price fluctuations until infrastructure can catch up.
by Adam Wilmoth Modified: December 6, 2013 at 10:00 pm •  Published: December 5, 2013

The boom in domestic oil has moved the country toward energy independence, but producers can face a potential downside to increasing output too quickly.

Just ask the country's natural gas producers.

The price of natural gas topped $15 per thousand cubic feet in 2008 before domestic producers released as much natural gas as possible from shale rock throughout the country.

They flooded the market and sent prices tumbling to as low as $1.90 per thousand cubic feet last year.

The price has since recovered somewhat, closing at $4.13 Thursday. But the price is still considered too low in most of the country for producers to target wells that produce only or mostly natural gas.

Oil producers say such a pattern is unlikely to repeat with crude, which is a global commodity.

Oil is more easily shipped throughout the world, and it carries a global price, although that price is adjusted by region.

Still, there are several examples of localized price drops.

Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy Corp. has said some of its Canadian oil from time to time has received as little as half the price of the international rate.

Oklahoma producers have received as much as $30 less than the global rate in recent years as a lack of pipeline capacity caused crude to bottleneck in Cushing.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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