Fracking Is Uneconomical When Oil Prices Fall

  • Friday, 10 October 2014 00:00

The oil industry would have you believe that fracking is the way to cheaper gas prices. Not so, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal.

With crude oil prices tumbling, fracking projects are starting to become uneconomical, WSJ said citing a report by Goldman Sachs. And that happens when oil falls to $90 per barrel and below.

"While fracking costs run the gamut, producers often break even at $80 to $85 a barrel," the report said. It also quoted energy economist Phillip K. Verleger as saying oil companies will slow down fracking operations as oil prices fall.

The idea that oil companies would reduce output as supply increases is not exactly a new phenomenon. The same report states that OPEC tends to cut crude oil output to prop up the price of crude oil. And from a business perspective it makes perfect sense as profit remains the ultimate goal.

But that doesn't help the rest of us. It means that oil companies will do what they can to keep the price of crude profitable. It also means that the idea that the fracking boom in the Bakken would reduce gas prices is a notion that's not rooted in reality.