Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Gasoline Demand -- December 18, 2019

Link here.


CLR With Two New Permits; WTI Holds Above $60 -- December 18, 2019

Active rigs:

$60.8812/18/201912/18/201812/18/201712/18/201612/18/2015
Active Rigs5369514064

Three new permits, #37269 - #37271, inclusive:
  • Operator: CLR
  • Field: Big Gulch (Dunn County)
  • Comments: 
    • CLR adds three more Kate permits to the two permits yesterday (one Kate/one Rodney), in section 19-147-96; Big Gulch oil field
And that was all.

Daily Note


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115th US Congress
Fourth 100 Days (second 50 days)
Days 351 - 400

January 18, 2020, day 381: three new polls released; really nothing new.
  • Sanders with 20% of 50% = 10% of the American electorate favor Sanders; and that's where he's been throughout the cycle; but his 20% and 30% from a couple of others, and that's enough to deny Biden 50%+1 and thus a brokered convention;
  • it appears it's all over for Pocahontas; she appeared to implode after the last debate; very un-presidential
  • Buttigieg may benefit from Pocahontas implosion; her fair weather supporters may jump to Buttigieg
January 17, 2020, day 380: new national poll released, The Economist, 1/11 - 1/14. The last debate was held 1/14.
Of note, no one polls 30% or better; Sanders and Pocahontas in a dead tie at 20%/19%; Buttigieg, in fourth, trails badly at 7%. At 5%, the lowest showing for Bloomberg in the most recent five polls. Steyer at 1%. Klobuchar, a legend in her own mind, is at 3% -- where she has been from the beginning. Klobuchar says she needs to finish at least fifth, hopefully fourth, to "stay in the conversation." Right now, in the most recent Iowa poll, she is in fifth, and polling at 8% well behind Pocahontas, #4, who is polling 15%.
January 16, 2020, day 379: impeachment trial begins; US senators sworn in; Justice Roberts sworn in. Adjourned to begin again, 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 21, 2020.

January 15, 2020, day 378: most recent national poll released yesterday.

January 14, 2020, day 377: three new polls at this link. What a difference a day makes.
Yesterday, seeing the polls I suggested that a Bernie-Pocahontas ticket was very, very likely. Not any more. Pocahontas says Bernie told her a woman can't win in a presidential campaign. That ended that. Pocahontas is in fourth place in most polls, almost the polls "are all over the place" and there is not much separation in most of the polls.
January 13, 2020, day 376: all one needs to know about the credibility of liberal medial polls -- compare Monmouth poll with CBS/YouGov poll taken about same time. The latter has Sanders with a near-10-point lead over Pocahontas and Monmouth has them statistically tied.



January 12, 2020, day 375: a new Iowa poll, a DMR/CNN poll (wow, this will be credible -- LOL) -
  • the media will report that Sanders leads but it's a statistical tie for the top four
  • Sanders (20%); Pocahontas (17%); Buttigieg (16%); and Biden (15%)
  • if mainstream media wants to call Sanders "leading" in Iowa, they need to note that Biden is dead last among those actually with any relevance
  • others: Steyer (2%); Klobuchar, a legend in her own mind (6%); Yang (5%); Bloomberg (1%)
January 11, 2020, day 374:
  • Pelosi blinks: will send up articles of impeachment next week despite getting no "quid pro quo" from Mitch McConnell
  • Marianne Williamson suspends her presidential campaign
  • Steyer jumps to double-digit polling in South Carolina / Nevada -- he was the only candidate to spend money on political ads in those two states
January 10, 2020, day 373: wow, wow, wow -- two new polls --
  • a new New Hampshire poll, Monmouth, 1/3 - 1/7:
    • Buttigieg: leads at 20% (statistical tie)
    • Biden, placeholder for Hillary: 19%
    • Sanders: 18%
    • Pocahontas: 15% (flat; has not imploded, but not making any headway)
    • all others irrelevant, but for the record, Steyer at a new high, 4%; Klobuchar, a legend in her own mind, at 6%;
  • Also a new national poll, the Economist -- the only interesting thing about this poll is how much of an outlier the Economist is with regard to Pocahontas. The Economist consistently has Pocahontas in the 20+% range when all others have her in the low teens (with occasional exceptions); others:
    • Biden: below 30%, at 27%
    • Sanders: at 20%
    • Buttigieg: 7% -- doesn't mean a thing except it gives donors pause; money down a rat hole, as they say
January 9, 2020, day 372: a new New Hampshire poll, CBS/YouGov, 12/27 - 1/3:
  • Sanders: 27%
  • Biden: 25%
  • Pocahontas: 18%
  • Buttigieg: 13%
January 8, 2020, day 371: a new national poll, M. Consult, 12/30 - 1/5:
  • Biden, the placeholder for Hillary: 31%, unchanged; exactly where he has been for months;
  • Sanders: 23%, somewhat better than past recent polls; most national polls don't give him 20+ points;
  • Pocahontas: 14% in this poll; plateaued; best recent poll, 18%;
  • Buttigieg: for all the reports that he is surging, the numbers don't bear it out -- 8% in this poll which is exactly where he has been like forever;
  • the others are irrelevant, but for the record: Steyer, 4% (the best he has ever, ever done); Bloomberg, 7%, kind of better but not really; Klobuchar, a legend in her own mind, at 3%, unchanged; Yang, 4%, why do we even bother?
January 7, 2020, day 370: Overnight, Iran launches a dozen ballistic missiles on Iraqi air bases. primaries -- Dates to watch:
  • March 3, 2020: Super Tuesday -- Super Tuesday accounts for about 40 percent of total delegate allocation; at end of the day, March 3, 2020, about 48% of delegates will have been selected. For Hillary, California is the key; other states favorable for Hillary on Super Tuesday and later in March: Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Washington, Arizona. 
  • March 17: Arizona, Florida, Illinois -- if one candidate sweeps these three states, there will be immense pressure on the other candidates to exit the race 
  • April 7: Wisconsin
  • April 28, 2020: New York, CT, DE, MD, PA, RI -- "the NY primaries may be the last big delegate day of the race. if one candidate dominates every state late in the primary, party leaders will likely move to get behind that person and seek to bring the race to an end." -- NY Times

January 6, 2020, day 369: Nancy Pelosi to introduce bill to stymie President Trump in Mideast. Finally, a new Iowa poll, the CBS/YouGov poll, 12/27 - 1/3: Sanders, Buttigieg, and Biden all tied at 23%. If polls hold, all three will claim victory in Iowa, going into New Hampshire. Pocahontas will have to concede Iowa if she comes in fourth. The first three polling at 23% each -- all three tied; Pocahontas at 16%; she was at 18% and 12% in two earlier polls. It does look like the top three will each poll at least 20% going into the final caucus results, and Pocahontas will not hit 20%. Castro, dropping out, says he supports Pocahontas.

January 5, 2020, day 368: after we take out the world's #1 terrorist, the Iraqis want us to pull out our 5,000 troops in Iraq. Obviously, if we do, we close the US Embassy there. My hunch is that the US Embassy in Baghdad has been given marching orders to start destroying everything and prepare for a new assignment, perhaps Kuwait. 

January 4, 2020, day 367: three new national polls.
  • Biden, the placeholder for Hillary, at 30%, unchanged;
  • Sanders, pretty much unchanged at 17% but, if anything, trending town from the 25% he might have had at one time;
  • Pocahontas: The Economist is the real outlier, having Pocahontas at 18% when all other recent polls show her at 11 - 14%
  • Buttigieg: absolutely going nowhere; at 7%;
  • Bloomberg: The Hill is the real outlier here, having Bloomberg at 11%; no other poll has him in double digits; best he does elsewhere is 8% with The Economist
  • the rest are all irrelevant, but for the record: Julian Castro has dropped out; Klobuchar, a legend in her own minds polls at 2% in most polls; does hit 4% in The Economist; Yang, who was said to have surged after the most recent debates, comes in at ... drum roll ... 3%.
January 3, 2020, day 366: waiting for the next Mideast shoe to drop. Dow futures drop 300 points.


January 2, 2020, day 365: First trading day of the year, Dow jumps 330 points. AAPL hits $300.50 -- all-time high. Trump takes out top Iranian general/terrorist. Articles of impeachment not yet sent over to US Senate.

January 1, 2020, day 364: new national poll is released, the Economist; unremarkable --
  • Biden, the placeholder for Hillary, 29%
  • Bernie: 19% -- if accurate, coming from most liberal pollster, has be concerning
  • Pocahontas: 18%; admits that her 4Q19 fundraising is a bust; will lag that of Buttigieg
  • Buttigieg: 8%; absolutely unchanged; for all the press he gets, nationally he is not polling well at all
  • the others are irrelevant but for the record:
    • Klobuchar, a legend in her own mind: 4%; lots of press how she is surging; ready to take on Trump
    • Bloomberg: $150 million spent so far? polling at 3% in the Economist's most recent poll; deadly;
    • Steyer: 2%, behind Gabbard (3%) who has as much said she's done
  • if you add "them" all up, comes to 92%; meaning 8% unaccounted for
  • Rove: "get ready for contested convention"; super-delegates/DNC ready to nominate HRC by acclamation; they will talk to Michelle (behind closed doors) one more time
  • again, national polls don't mean a thing
  • I don't think Iowa, New Hampshire will even mean much -- except possibly to derail Pocahontas; they will all remain in the race through Super Tuesday; if not, they hand it to Biden; if Pocahontas does not last to Super Tuesday, Biden will get the nomination on the first ballot; Buttigieg won't poll 15% in enough states to get any delegates
December 31, 2019, day 363: the year ends with no "Christmas present" from North Korea; NY Times reports that President Trump is golfing; in fact, he is not; monitoring Iraq; 

December 30, 2019, day 362: US Embassy in Iraq stormed by Iran-backed militia; NY Times refers to them as mourners; Trump responds: this won't be another Beghazi; reinforcements sent in;

December 29, 2019, day 361

December 28, 2019, day 360

December 27, 2019, day 359:


At the link:
Broadcast saw a shakeup in the Nielsen rankings this autumn, with Fox poised to grab its first fall TV ratings win among the all-important adults 18-49 demographic in a decade, and NBC set to snap CBS’ 18-year total viewers winning streak.
Fox is also going to claim its first-ever fall ratings victory among the key demo when counting entertainment shows only — so excluding the ratings it gets for sports programs like “Thursday Night Football” — thanks mainly to “The Masked Singer,” which premiered its second season in September, and the strong ratings for Season 3 of Ryan Murphy’s first-responder drama “9-1-1.”
Meanwhile, NBC’s first fall win in total viewers in 20 years is thanks to the continued success of “Sunday Night Football” (the highest-rated and most-watched primetime program), “This Is Us” and “The Voice.” The viewership for Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” dramas doesn’t hurt either.  
December 26, 2019, Day 358: the most recent debate was December 20, 2019. We have two new national polls since then: a) M Consult; and, b) The Economist (the most liberal and least reliable). The two new polls suggest, at best, the top three would split delegates, no one having majority of delegates on first vote at DNC convention:
  • Biden, the placeholder for Hillary: unchanged at 30 - 31%;
  • Sanders: clearly down, at 21% at M Consult and 17% at The Economist (remember: The Economist, most liberal of the pollsters has Sanders at only 17%);
  • Pocahontas: steady at 15% at M Consult and 19% at The Economist;
  • Buttigieg: unchanged at 9% and 7%:
  • the others remain irrelevant but for the record, Bloomberg, having spent $120 million of his own money, is polling at 5%, exactly where he has been for twelve polls; Steyer, at 2%, what a joke; Klobuchar (a legend in her mind) continues to surge -- no! Flat at 4%. By the way, Castro, at 1%, who is probably spending no money, is tied with Steyer, at 1%, in The Economist poll;
December 25, 2019, Day 357: quiet.

December 24, 2019, Day 356: quiet.

December 23, 2019, Day 355:



December 22, 2019, Day 354: my hunch is that Pocahontas polling will drop out after the most recent debate in which she inadvisedly brought up "wine cave" donors. For the record, the most recent debate was December 20, 2019.

December 21, 2019, Day 353 (posted December 20, 2019): apparently the US House will get a chance for a do-over. Since the articles of impeachment have not been sent up to the US Senate, the US House can continue to add more articles when they come back to work (and I use the word loosely) in January. In fact, even after they send up these articles, they can continue to add more articles of impeachment pending testimony from more witnesses. Meanwhile, the polls continue to trend in favor of Trump. Quid pro quo: I have no idea what Schiff/Nadler were promised, but it's clear that the Trump impeachment was all Hillary's doing, as payback. The whistleblower was set up / managed by the same team that masterminded the Russian FISA warrants. One can tell from the words and the body language that Nancy Pelosi wanted no part of this but couldn't stop the train. Not only did she not want to trivialize the US House but she knew Trump would ultimately win, both the case and politically. The fact that within hours after the impeachment she invited Trump to give the State of the Union address on February 4, 2020, speaks volumes. Mitch McConnell has said the trial will be over by January 31, 2020.

December 20, 2019, Day 352 (posted December 19, 2019): Dow hits all-time high: Comes on day after US Congress fails to pass bipartisan articles of impeachment of the president. The articles passed were supported only by Democrats and at least two Democrats switched to become Republicans. And now, the US House may delay sending the articles to the US Senate. LOL. The US Senate has the prerogative to simply dismiss the articles coming up to the US Senate requiring only a simple majority, 51 - 49, which it could easily do. Trump says he does not want that, but my hunch is that the longer Nancy Pelosi delays sending the articles up to the US Senate the more likely Mitch McConnell will do this. He doesn't want to tie up the Senate for months. And, no, Pelosi won't be setting the ground rules for the US Senate. Senator Schumer, meanwhile, has already said that the US House failed to complete the investigation. On another note, Democrat debate last night: I did not watch. Drudge poll shows Yang won by a landslide, took 45% of the votes. Apparently Biden didn't speak. Headline: Pocahontas won't build any nuclear plants. Like that is something Americans are talking about. 

December 19, 2019, Day 351: I'm not sure folks quite understand this yet. If in any given state, Biden takes 30% of the votes, but no one else takes 14% or better, Biden gets all the delegates. No matter how many votes one gets, one gets no delegates if one does not get at least 15% of the overall vote. Based on the national poll, if one does the math, Biden would get 40% of the delegates; Sanders would get 30% of the delegates; and, Pocahontas would get 30% of the delegates. The result? A brokered convention. A brokered convention: the nominee will be selected by the super-delegates. Michelle won't run and she won't accept which leaves Hillary in the wings.

Tonight is the fourth (?) Democrat debate. Since the last polls were published, two new national polls have been posted:
  • CNN, 12/12 - 12/15; and,
  • NBC/WSJ, 12/14 - 1/17.
  • Results of these two:
    • Placeholder for Hillary: 26% and 28% -- note that both are below 30%;
    • Sanders: 20% and 21%; at the high end of his polling
    • Pocahontas: 16% and 18%; has stemmed the bleeding; now says "Medicare for All" is an option; folks can "opt out";
    • Buttigieg: at 8% and 9%, irrelevant; won't even make the ticket as VP nominee; but will get a seven-figure job as DC lobbyist when it's all over;
    • all others are even more irrelevant, but for the record: Bloomberg, if anything, losing traction, at 5% and 4%, respectively; Klobuchar, a legend in her own mind, actually hits 5% in the NBC/WSJ; Steyer, 1% in both polls;
Also, today, a new Iowa poll has just been released, an Iowa State poll:
  • Buttigieg: leads at 24%; absolutely incredible; has to scare Biden;
  • Sanders: steady at 21%, and a statistical tie with Biden, the placeholder for Hillary;
  • Pocahontas: at 18%, stemmed the bleeding; 
  • Placeholder for Hillary: in fourth place at 15%; at best he will go into New Hampshire in fourth place;
  • all the rest are irrelevant, but for the record: Bloomberg, 0%; Steyer, 2%; Klobuchar, darling of the Midwest, 4%;

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Archives

Daily note archives here

Notes From All Over, Part 3 -- December 18, 2019

First things first: best burger in America. Link here.
Kincaid’s Hamburgers, a 75-year Ft Worth, Texas, landmark, was once named “Best Burger in America” and was the topic of a book, “The Perfect Hamburger.”

Long before chefs made veggie “burgers” or added brie or truffles, Kincaid’s butcher O.R. Gentry was simply grinding fresh beef trimmings and making thick, hand-packed hamburgers the old Texas homestyle way — with lettuce, tomato, pickle, mustard and optional American cheese.

It was Gentry who came up with the idea of selling burgers in 1964, just as a meat-market sideline for the long-established Kincaid’s Grocery, 4901 Camp Bowie Blvd, Ft Worth, TX.

Kincaid’s quickly took hold and went on to become an all-time Fort Worth legend, along with Angelo’s Barbecue (1958) and Joe T. Garcia’s Mexican Dishes (1935).

In the 1960s, Kincaid’s was named one of America’s two best hamburgers by Life Magazine (along with Cassell’s in Los Angeles) and again in a 1980s chefs’ poll (along with Perry’s in San Francisco). In the 1970s, when both Texas Monthly and the Star-Telegram launched best-burger polls, Kincaid’s came out on top.

The burgers are as good as ever. They start with hormone-free and antibiotic-free beef, freshly ground in-house and patted onto the flat-top griddle behind what used to be the grocery store meat counter.

Let's do it again:

Let's Do It Again, Brian Wilson

Whiting's Ogden Wells In The Sanish

The wells:
  • 36391, SI/NC, Whiting, Ogden 12-3-3H, Sanish, no production data,
  • 36390, PNC, Whiting, Ogden 12-3TFH, Sanish,
  • 36389, SI/NC, Whiting, Ogden 12-3XH, Sanish, no production data,
  • 36388, SI/NC, Whiting, Ogden 11-3HU, Alger, no production data,
  • 36387, PNC, Whiting, Ogden 11-3-2TFH, Sanish,
  • 35744, conf, Whiting, Ogden 41-9TFHU, Sanish, producing, best month: 16K;
  • 35743, SI/NC, Whiting, Ogden 14-3XH, Sanish, no production data,
  • 35742, conf, Whiting, Ogden 41-9HU, Sanish, producing, best month: 40K;
  • 24557, IA/890, Whiting, Ogden 12-3-2H, Sanish, t4/13; cum 216K 7/19; off line as of 7/19; remains off line 10/19;
  • 21934, IA/248, Whiting, Ogden 14-3TFX, Sanish, t5/12; cum164K 12/18; off line 12/18; remains off line 10/19;
  • 21773, 733,, Whiting, Ogden 13TFX, Sanish, t4/12; cum 180K 10/19;
  • 18928, IA/1,890, Whiting, Ogden 12-3H, Sanish, t8/10; cum 451K 8/19; off line 8/19; remains off line 10/19;
  • 18233, IA/1,329, Whiting, Ogden 11-3TFH, Sanish, t11/09; cum 277K 7/19; off line 7/19; remains off line 10/19;

Notes From All Over, Part 2 -- December 18, 2019

Fox Business News: I took the advice of a reader to forego CNBC on television and switch over to Fox Business News. I have watched FBN instead of CNBC for the past two days and I'm sold. FBN is so much snappier, and much more eclectic. And unlike CNBC, FBN seems to have no relationship with The New York Times. What a breath of fresh air. I've also bookmarked FBN on the internet and it's so much better than CNBC.

Hydrogen: I don't know if CNBC has the hydrogen-powered semi-truck business story but I saw it on FBN. This should really be a wake-up call for Tesla.

Hulu: prices rise $10 today, making it the costliest streaming service out there.

Huge: Mega Millions ticket worth $373 million (before taxes) was sold in Mentor, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. The winner let the machine choose the number.

Ouch: the Mormons will yank 400,000 kids out of struggling "Boy" Scouts.

Weatherford: emerges from Chapter 11.

Quick: name the Secretary of Energy. I cannnot. 

Notes From All Over, Part 1 -- December 18, 2019

Biggest business news of the past two days, without question: Amazon. Relentless. On top of everything else that has been reported about Amazon in the past 48 hours now this: it's own shipment company. LOL. That's been obvious for quite some time that Amazon would develop its own shipment company. We've discussed it before. But now it's official with the announcement that Amazon is partnering with a "real" airline to ship packages.

Wow. And once they get that experience, Amazon will buy its own jets -- later next yearm (2020), US airlines will have hundreds, if not thousands of passenger-carrying jets ready for immediate conversion to cargo jets. By August, 2020, prices for used jets will plummet. Or, the alternative, Boeing will be looking at a way to unload the 737 MAX as a cargo plane.


The second biggest story of the past 48 hours, the US housing market is taking off. Recession is right around the corner, they say. I don't recall the last time a recession occurred just as the US housing market took off but nothing surprises me any more.

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Market

Pre-market trading, 6:20 a.m. Central Time, December 18, 2019.

This is almost impossible to believe: all three indices are in the green --- again. Not only has the Santa Claus rally been percentage-wise and raw-number high, it's been unremitting. What is this? The fifth day of this rally. And if the market opens higher, new all-time records will be set and the president will be impeached.

Let's see what some companies are doing pre-market:
  • AAPL: down 0.16%; down 46 cents on a $280/share company; profit taking
  • UNP: absolutely flat; 0.00
  • MU: up 15 cents; up 0.28%
  • T: up 7 cents; up 0.18% -- and it recently announced an increase in its dividend and stock buyback program
  • And then look at this: FedEx is down $12.45, down 7.63%, trading at $151
  • AMZN: up almost $5; up 0.26%; at $1,790/share a lot of us are going to have to open Robinhood accounts to buy fractional shares in this company
  • Bed Bath & Beyond: down 0.77% but pays 4.44%
Disclaimer: this is not an investment site.  Do not make any investment, financial, career, travel, job, or relationship decisions based on what you read here or think you may have read here.

Only Two Wells Coming Off The Confidential List Today -- December 18, 2019

Later today, we'll get another "surprise" report from the API -- either a "surprise" build or a "surprise" draw. Whatever it is, it's always a surprise. LOL. I'm off by a day. The API report was out yesterday afternoon and there it is ... LOL ... the oilprice breaking news headline: "oil prices fall as API reports a surprise crude build. So, what was it?
  • consensus forecast: a 1.288-million-bbl draw
  • actual: a whopping 4.7-million-bbl build

And this is after all those rigs have been laid down, and all that talk about cutting back on production. We'll see the EIA numbers later this morning. [Later: I posted the data; somehow it got deleted; not worth the effort of re-posting. It was incredibly unremarkable.]

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Back to the Bakken

Active rigs:

$60.4412/18/201912/18/201812/18/201712/18/201612/18/2015
Active Rigs5269514064

Two wells coming off the confidential list today -- Wednesday, December 18, 2019: 54 for the month; 259 for the quarter:
  • 36168, SI/NC, XTO, Lavern 42X-14AXD, Capa, no production data,
  • 35742, conf, Whiting, Ogden 41-9HU, Sanish, a huge well, the Ogden wells are tracked here;
    DateOil RunsMCF Sold
    10-20193364433307
    9-20192618817759
    8-2019221660
    7-2019396960
    6-201942860
RBN Energy: 2020 E&P CAPEX set to plunge as producers prioritize cash flow.
There has always been an aura of excitement, adventure and risk surrounding the quest to unlock natural resources, from the California Gold Rush to the early days of Texas oil wildcatting. Today’s exploration and production leaders may be just as passionate as their predecessors, but the “riverboat gambler”-type days of reckless spending in pursuit of growth now seem like a distant memory.
In the brutal aftermath of the oil price crash in late 2014, producers have been forced to follow their heads instead of their hearts, adopting a far more careful approach to investment that prioritizes portfolio rationalization over expansion, and cash flow above growth. E&P companies in 2019 slashed capital investment, and, according to early guidance, they will again in 2020. [Despite slashing CAPEX in 2019, production across the US set new all-time records. Rig counts don't matter.]
Underscoring this more conservative attitude is the release of the 2019 Securities and Exchange Commission price deck, which impacts the economics of booking oil and gas reserves. It showed the WTI oil price for SEC reporting purposes declined about $10/bbl, or 15%, to $55.69/bbl in 2019, while the Henry Hub SEC price declined by 17%, to $2.58/MMBtu.
Today, we examine a representative group of U.S. E&Ps’ spending plans for 2020, which reflect the impacts of a lower-price environment.

The oil and gas industry slashed investments by more than 70% after the price of benchmark West Texas Intermediate plummeted below $30/bbl in early 2016 (Saudi's trillion-dollar mistake), but a near doubling of prices by the end of that year resulted in an average 42% increase in capital expenditures in 2017.
Despite price volatility in the first half of 2017, producers stuck with their early guidance and were rewarded by a second-half recovery that generated substantial profits after two years of massive losses.
Oil prices ended 2017 about 20% higher than a year earlier, but E&P companies only budgeted a cautious 4% increase in exploration and development costs for 2018 and left those budgets largely unchanged even as oil prices increased nearly 25% in the first nine months of last year. The wisdom of that conservative approach was apparent when WTI nosedived from $75/bbl in early October 2018, to $45/bbl in December 2018. That price shock then contributed to an average 11% reduction in capital spending in 2019, again a prudent move as pre-tax operating profits steadily declined from more than $10 per barrel of oil equivalent (boe) produced in the first quarter of 2019 to $5/boe produced in the third quarter of 2019.

We have gathered early guidance on 2020 capital spending for 15 companies spanning the Oil-Weighted, Diversified and Gas-Weighted E&P peer groups, a sampling that represents about one-third of the 47 companies we track. This preliminary data indicates that 2020 capital expenditures for the 15 would be $28.6 billion, down 13% from 2019. Extrapolating this decline out to the full universe of the 47 companies would indicate a $9 billion decline in capital outlays, to $61 billion for next year. Twelve of the 15 companies issuing guidance are forecasting lower outlays, while three are expecting increased investment.

The largest declines are expected from the Oil-Weighted E&Ps, down 17% year-on-year, and the Gas-Weighted E&Ps, down 25% year-on-year. The early guidance from the four Diversified E&Ps who have reported thus far indicates a 1% increase in capex. However, this is heavily influenced by a $600 million, or 10%, increase in investment by ConocoPhillips. Excluding Conoco, guidance is down 11% among this peer group. Guidance from three of the four Oil-Weighted E&Ps has been impacted by rationalization after major merger-and-acquisition activity as well as lower oil prices, while the Diversified and Gas-Weighted E&Ps are facing generally poor natural gas pricing.

Production growth has continued to slow after a nearly 6% rise in 2018. Overall, oil and gas production is expected to increase just 1% (orange cell), with the Oil-Weighted E&Ps leading the pack with a 3% gain (purple cell) despite the big capex decline. The Gas-Weighted E&Ps are also guiding to a small gain in production despite slashing capex.