10. March 2020 | 11:40 CET
Baytex Energy, Husky Energy, Saturn Oil & Gas - why Canadian oil now?
The oil industry around the globe had an unexpected start to the week, marked by a collapse in the price of oil. Last Friday, WTI was still trading at over USD 41.00 per barrel and at the start of the week the price fell briefly to below USD 28.00 per barrel. This was preceded by the announcement that Saudi Arabia will increase its production volume because Russia will not participate in a joint cutback. The defiant reaction of Saudi Arabia sent the oil price and the stock markets around the globe into a downward spiral.
time to read: 2 minutes by Mario Hose
World economy as a plaything
There is much room for speculation about the motives and reasons why Russia and Saudi Arabia have not come up with a common ground to curb the amount of oil. The reason for the talks was the decline in demand for oil in connection with the Corona crisis. One possible common reason was that they wanted to slow down the USA, now the largest oil producer. A large part of US production is obtained through cost-intensive fracking, and a low oil price makes the development of new fields uneconomic.
OPEC and Russia miss profits
However, this type of predatory pricing is not cheap. After all, the OPEC countries hold around 80% of global reserves. Since 1960, the population of these countries has risen from less than 100 million people to over 500 million. In countries with a diversified economy, the price of oil plays a more subordinate role than in the producing countries, which are still dependent on the price of 'black gold'.
In 2018, the USA produced around 11.0 million barrels of oil per day. Russia produced around 10.5 million barrels per day in the same period and Saudi Arabia around 10.3 million barrels per day. Of these three countries the economy of the USA is the most broadly based and therefore Russia and Saudi Arabia are currently hurting themselves and the OPEC countries substantially with the lost profit.
Hedging protects the oil market
On the Canadian stock markets, oil producers came under enormous pressure. The market value of Baytex Energy collapsed by 40% to CAD 353 million and Husky Energy fell by over 30% to CAD 3.5 billion. The value of Saturn Oil & Gas declined by 21.7% to CAD 21 million - an amount that is probably not far from the total revenue in 2019. Given that oil producers usually hedge their future production volumes in connection with credit financing at an already agreed price, the price collapse on Monday will hardly be felt in the short term. For investors who assume that the low oil price will only be temporary, the price declines are an excellent entry opportunity.
Importance of the producing countries will increase
In view of the fact that Canada is in a much better position than most OPEC countries when it comes to protecting human rights and the environment, it will only be a matter of time before one or the other oil-producing country is frowned upon by society. Then also the import of OPEC oil to Canada for the mentioned reasons should find an end. Anyone who wants to position themselves in the oil sector with shares will find attractive opportunities in Canada under ethical and moral aspects in the current environment.