Hess told an investor conference in Miami that he sees U.S. oil production reaching ~13M bbl/day in the next few years before leveling off, as shale output is ticking lower due to inventory depletion, inflation and investor pressure to focus on returns over growth.
"Shale was thought of as a swing producer... the Saudis and the OPEC have waited this out. Now, really OPEC is back in the driver's seat where they are the swing producer," Hess said, even as OPEC lacks spare capacity to easily increase its production.
The CEO expects U.S. oil output will rise by ~500K bbl/day this year and next, but many companies "have already hit the wall" with only about a decade of life remaining.
Hess (HES) said his company's future decline in shale will be more than compensated by growth in Guyana, where the Exxon-led consortium expects to triple current production to 1.2M bbl/day by 2027.
OPEC agreed last month to cut oil production by a surprisingly large 2M bbl/day, a cut Hess said Thursday was as much a political jab at President Biden as it was an economic move.