U.S. shale companies facing a money-losing reality after oil price collapse

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:America’s shale producers already had a profitability problem. It just got a lot worse.At a stroke, Saudi Arabia and Russia and their battle for market share have made almost all U.S. shale drilling unprofitable. Only five companies in two areas of the country have breakeven costs lower than the current oil price, according to data compiled by Rystad Energy, an Oslo-based consultancy.Wells drilled by Exxon Mobil Corp., Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chevron Corp. and Crownquest Operating LLC in the Permian Basin, which stretches across West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, can turn profits at $31 a barrel, Rystad’s data show. Occidental’s wells in the DJ Basin of Colorado are also in the money at that price, which is where oil settled Monday.But that’s not the case for the rest of the shale industry — more than 100 operators in a dozen fields. For them, drilling new wells will almost certainly mean going into the red.Shale projects are heralded for their ability to be quickly ramped up and down. But because output from these wells declines much faster than from their old-school, conventional cousins, companies have to drill more of them just to keep output flat. That has meant sluggish investor returns, one of the main reasons oil and gas represents less than 4% of the S&P 500 Index.At this point, “companies should not be burning capital to be keeping the production base at an unsustainable level,” said Tom Loughrey, a former hedge fund manager who started his own shale-data firm, Friezo Loughrey Oil Well Partners LLC. “This is swing production — and that means you’re going to have to swing down.”“Even the best operators will have to reduce activity,” said Artem Abramov, head of shale research at Rystad. “It’s not only about commerciality of the wells. It’s a lot about corporate cash flow balances. It’s almost impossible to be fully cash flow neutral this year with this price decline.”[Rachel Adams-Heard and Kevin Crowley]More: Shale’s new reality: Almost all wells drilled now lose money U.S. shale companies facing a money-losing reality after oil price collapselast_img read more

USC, NASA send fungi to space for drug research

first_imgResearchers at USC and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab are working toward observing the growth of fungi in space that could help create useful drugs in the future.Clay Wang, a professor of pharmacology, pharmaceutical sciences and chemistry at the USC School of Pharmacy and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, said the team wants to examine how the organisms behave in the new environment.“In this project we’re utilizing the space station to understand how microorganisms, specifically fungi react to space conditions. And we are interested to see whether we can find new drugs from them,” Wang said.According to studies, the vast majority of molecules that fungi can produce remain undiscovered. The study is specifically based on the fungus Aspergillus nidulans. The space station will be used to understand the growth, gene expression and physiological responses of these organisms and compare them to earth. In most cases, the mechanisms to make these drugs are not turned on, and these organisms make drugs only when they have to. The space condition is used to test how the organisms behave under the stressful environment of the International Space Station.Fungi have the potential to produce many substances that could be useful for drugs, such as penicillin, but in most cases they are not produced. There is potential to find new molecules produced by these organisms when they grow on the space station.“We are going study how these microorganisms behave and also its gene expression,” Wang said. “If we can figure out whether they are being made more on the space station and what are the switches to make more, we can repeat that on Earth. Once we know what the genes are, we can genetically modify them on earth so we will be able to make drugs in large amounts and bring down their costs.”This project originated in NASA’s space biology division and NASA provided the grant to USC. This research mission, called Micro-10, examines the effects of space conditions on fungal cells and seeks to understand the changes in the types of molecules that these cells produce as a response to different conditions.Kasthuri Venkateswaran, a scientist at NASA’s JPL, was the main collaborator with Wang in this research. Two members of Wang’s research team, Jillian Rohmsdahl and Adriana Blachowicz are graduate students at USC.Wang stressed how crucial the work of Rohmsdahl and Blachowicz has been to this experiment.“I think it’s important to highlight the graduate students who are the main drivers on this project and the opportunities here at USC to be able to do things,” Wang said. “It is a very exciting point that School of Pharmacy is now doing space research. It was a very good collaboration with NASA and Dr. Venkat because he gave his expertise, but we at USC gave the pharmaceutical science expertise.”The samples of the organisms have been provided to NASA by Wang and his team. The first attempt of the space launch of the samples Friday.last_img read more