Write-downs abound as prices keep oil in the ground

By Ryan Dezember, for Wall Street Journal

Sep 14, 2015

U.S. oil-and-gas producers have written down the value of their drilling fields by more in 2015 than any full year in history, as the rout in commodity prices makes properties across the country not worth drilling.

A group of 66 oil and gas producers have taken impairment charges totaling $59.8 billion through June, according to a tally by energy consultancy IHS Herold Inc. That tops the previous full-year record of $48.5 billion set in 2008, IHS says.

Read more about why some experts predict pricing impairments for at least the next two quarters.

In 2008, oil prices plummeted from above $140 a barrel at midyear to below $37 by year-end as the financial system’s near collapse sent the global economy into recession. The drop was steep but relatively short-lived as growing demand from China and other emerging economies was expected to suck up global supplies.

Now, with China’s economy sputtering and U.S. production at its highest level in decades, prices aren’t expected to return to the $100 level of recent years any time soon.

EXTRA: Read why analyst Stephen Schork sees economic danger signs in currently plunging commodity prices.


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