$5T Permian Basin boom threatened by falling crude prices

|By:, SA News Editor

The Permian Basin is all the rage on Wall Street, but oil prices need to stay high enough to support the current rate of exploratory drilling - and prices for West Texas crude have dropped below $100/bbl for a third straight weekly decline.

The Permian remains the largest U.S. oil producer, with output averaging ~1.3M bbl/day and rising, but it's also the most expensive U.S. shale formation in which to drill - meaning the boom could become a bust if crude moves near $70/bbl, as some analysts predict.

If oil drops to $80, wells in some parts of the Permian will become money-losers; wells drilled in the Cline Shale and Northern Mississippian Lime layers of the Permian need $96 oil to break even.

Among top Permian producers: PXD, FANG, CXO, APA, ATHL, OXY, XOM, EOG, XEC, APC, CVX, COP, CWEI.

Oil ETFs: OIL, USO, DBO, OLO, USL, CRUD, UCO, DTO, SCO, SZO, DNO, UWTI, DWTI.