Commodity prices will only rise from this point forward. That is the only conclusion that the bureaucrats can be operating from. They feel giddy and are set to continue with their personal goals based on the steady uninterrupted cash flow from their jobs. I guess shale too has been eliminated from the scene as it was the precursor to the price declines. They may feel as if they have the upper hand at this time, however, nothing has been resolved and the same old issues are ever present.
We need to remember that these bureaucrats exist in the private business environment. They are not government bureaucrats who are established for life. They are subjected to the forces of the market. Although the bureaucrats may think they have the upper hand, that can only be maintained if they are the lowest cost producer. Which maybe they are? And if so they will remain established for as long as they feel the need and are comfortable. We should all aspire to be oil and gas bureaucrats. Do nothing and get paid well for it.
Creative destruction is going to wipe these people from their perches very quickly. At $200 / barrel in terms of the current producers cost of production. These values are obtained when we add in the cost of capital to produce with the cost of operations, royalties and overhead we come in at around $100 / barrel. Then we need to include, not so much a cost but a commitment to the past legacy of spending and ignoring that spending like it didn’t matter. These costs which are represented in the large balances of bank and bond debt obligations. And also in terms of the huge number of outstanding shares. Add up to make the producer firm very distasteful to any prospective banker or investor. Bureaucrats can’t hide their financial statements from prospective investors.
As we indicated yesterday our good friends the bureaucrats will try to live with a somewhat quasi informal administration by their banks. Bank’s will keep a tight reign on the producer ensuring that all surplus cash is put against any of their outstanding loans. The key though is that the payroll will be paid, and that is the only concern to the fat and happy bureaucrats. When your revenue is $50 and your costs are $200 you're not viable but that’s the bank's problem. Bureaucrats get paid first!
What’s that saying about the best laid plans of mice and men? The false narrative has been that the producers are profitable at $48 / barrel. We are closing out the second quarter with the financial reports due out in the next two months. We’ll see who can stick by those claims. Anyone heard of any financing lately? I wonder why the investors aren’t biting? Maybe it’s like I said all along. You can’t go on for decades kidding yourself that your investors investment is a sunk cost. And expect the investors and bankers not to notice. What generally happens, eventually, is that the investors and bankers see the bureaucrats as a sunk cost.
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