Most of the oil and gas market has exhibited a two-day price rally from the previous month’s carnage in what can be considered a “dead cat bounce”. This is probably in recognition that Talisman’s acquisition implies that the rest of the oil that is stuck in the ground also has similar value despite the commodity price being lower than the cost to get it above the ground.
Some companies have reduced their capital budgets already – Canadian Oil Sands, Penn West, etc., have already announced capital expenditure reductions and dividend cuts.
The question here is how low crude oil will go before it truly bottoms. In 2009, it bottomed out at US$35/barrel, while today it is at around US$55/barrel. My gut instinct here says that we are very, very, very close to the bottom, but if you recall during the era of Bear Stearns’ near-bankruptcy (technically taken over by JP Morgan), it could take a few more months for this to play out to its ultimate bottom.
One thing I do know, however, is that the demand for liquid crude is not going away – airplanes are flying, people are driving their vehicles, and trucks are delivering cargo. The need for energy in the form of transport fuels is not going away anytime soon. A commodity can trade under the marginal cost of extraction for quite some time (this was the case for Silver post-80’s collapse) but continued demand will inevitably result in price rises unless if the extractors are operating as charitable organizations – most of them are currently at US$55/barrel!