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$60 oil poses no problem for 70% of future energy projects: Report

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Seventy percent of future oil developments are commercially viable with Brent crude at $60 per barrel, up from 50 percent a year ago, natural resources consultancy Wood Mackenzie said on Wednesday.

The collapse in energy prices in 2014 and 2015 left many oil projects commercially unviable. However, two years on the energy industry has started to adapt.

“All of the industry is having to adapt its business model to survive. We have seen a lot of cost cuts; we have also seen a lot of capital taken off the table,” Simon Flowers, chief analyst at Wood Mackenzie, told CNBC.

A total of 13 million barrels per day (b/d) of new oil supply could be developed by 2025, of which nine million would be commercially viable with Brent at $60, Wood Mackenzie said.

“This is more than at any point since 2009 and 1.5 million b/d more than a year ago. Most of the nine million barrels per day is U.S. tight oil, with productivity improvements and cost deflation in the key growth plays making more tight oil economically viable,” Wood Mackenzie said in a report.

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It said “big winners” from this were incumbent operators in the U.S.’s mid-continent and Permian Basin oil fields, including Continental, Apache, ExxonMobil and Chevron.

“The place where the action is taking place is in the U.S. in these tight oil plays and they have made tremendous productivity gains there,” Flowers told CNBC.

“The U.S. industry has done a really great job, but we are only at the beginning stages of starting to see conventional players in the North Sea and elsewhere really getting to grips with costs and how they develop fields,” he added.

The consultancy warned though that many conventional oil projects were at risk of deferral or cancellation if prices remained at around $50 per barrel.

Both Brent and WTI crude oil are currently trading below $50.

“We are still in a difficult place, where there has been too much supply over the last couple of years and some of the macro factors like Brexit … are putting a bit of a dampener on the oil price,” Flowers told CNBC.

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