SECOND TAKE: FT’S LEX
THE LEX COLUMN: Stable oil prices a real juggling act
Critical is Saudi Arabia’s desire to cut production together with other Opec members while at the the same time desiring to keep the US happy
Canada’s province of Alberta should consider joining Opec. Albertan reserves and production rival anything in the cartel. So much oil flows from its fields that pipelines are full and North America is awash. Alberta’s government ordered a mandatory local production cut this week, the first time since 1980. After Brent crude prices tumbled 28% in the past month, onshore US producers will follow suit. Opec decisions may get the headlines this week in Vienna, but North America’s oil spigot turns a lot quicker. Tell that to Schlumberger, the largest US-listed oil services group. This week it noted that its North American fracking business had suffered a fast slowdown. Faster, that is, than six weeks ago when it warned about lower activity in its quarterly results. As one of the largest providers of services to explorers, what Schlumberger says matters. From shale comes about half of America’s oil output, says the US Energy Information Agency, and that has risen quickly. In the year to S...