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Bakken Monitor – December 2018 LTO Producers Expected to Hold Capex Firm After OPEC Meets

North Dakota's September oil production set a fresh high at 1.359 million b/d (+68,000 b/d m-o-m), ahead of our forecast of 1.332 million b/d (+41,000 b/d m-o-m). For October, we see production breaching 1.4 million b/d for the first time, at 1.412 million b/d (+53,000 b/d). LTO producers have held off firm capex commitments awaiting the outcome of OPEC’s production cut meeting of 5th-7th December. In our view, the fresh deal – aided by an enforced production cut for the oil sands in Alberta, Canada – should set a floor under prices and support LTO growth in 2019. LTO breakevens are back in the media, with the Wall Street Journal supporting our earlier analysis that company breakevens often exclude important costs such as land, overheads and interest payments. Given this, President Trump’s persistent talking down of the price may be more damaging to the LTO industry than to OPEC....

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