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Opus News & Insights

Energy and Oil Price Volatility
Thursday, May 19, 2016

It was not too long ago when it seemed like every day we heard about a new Jed Clampett. From the Eagle Ford in Texas to the Bakken in North Dakota, the shale oil boom was making millionaires of landowners, many of whom probably did not find oil on their land via a misplaced shot at a potential dinner. Instead, it was exploration and production companies (E&Ps) looking for black gold, and writing checks for the right to drillon what heretofore was often thought to be relatively worthless parts of flyover country.

Trucks, drilling rigs, and roughnecks brought a bustle of activity to quiet parts of the country like the plains of North Dakota and the hills of Appalachia. Boom towns emerged (quite literally given the use of high explosives in the hydraulic fracturing process), and U.S. oil production hit heights not seen since around 1970. Not only was the oil flowing, but so were the dollars, with oil prices around $115 per barrel as of June 2014. As Neil Diamond croons in one of his hits from around the last peak in oil, “good times never seemed so good”.

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