$1 Trillion of Zombie Investments Stranded in the Oil Fields

$1 Trillion of Zombie Investments Stranded in the Oil Fields

In mid-December, Goldman Sachs released a report with news that they had calculated the impacts from the large drop in the price of oil, which at that time had dropped 49 percent in less than six months: a stunning $1 trillion in at risk future oil projects.

The projects — oil field investment “zombies” — were deemed all but dead with the price of oil at $70 a barrel.  Now the price of oil has fallen even further, to below $50. These zombie projects are haunting the more expensive development regions, particularly Arctic oil, deepwater-drilling regions and controversial tar sands pits from Canada to Venezuela.

Goldman Sachs looked at 400 of the world’s largest new oil and gas fields — excluding U.S. shale — and found projects representing over $930 billion in future investment that are no longer profitable with Brent crude at $70. With prices falling below $50, the U.S. shale-oil party is also starting to get crashed by zombies.

The above chart shows the break-even points for the top 400 new fields and how much future oil production they represent. Less than a third of projects are still profitable with oil at $70. Even more of these projects will be scuttled over the coming year if the price continues to remain at or below $50.

[To read the original story as reported by Bloomberg News, click “Bankers See $1 Trillion of Zombie Investments Stranded in the Oil Fields.

About the Author:

Valerie Gardner
Ms. Gardner earned a JD/MBA and was a co-founder, CFO and General Counsel of two high tech companies. Ms. Gardner co-founded Tiemann Investment Advisors, LLC with Dr. Tiemann and KIT Ventures in 2006, to pursue investing, advisory work, personal projects and advocacy around the issue of climate change and clean energy. Ms. Gardner has worked to develop methodologies for managing and reducing the carbon risks of client public and private equity portfolios.

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