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The Relationship Between Oil Price and Costs in the Oil Industry

Abstract:
We propose a simple structural model of the upstream sector in the oil industry to study the determinants of costs with a focus on its relationship with the price of oil. We use the real oil price, data on global drilling activity and real cost of drilling to estimate a three-dimensional VAR model. We use short run restrictions to decompose the variation in the data into three structural shocks. We estimate the dynamic effects of these shocks on drilling activity, costs of drilling and the real price of oil. Our main results suggest that (i) a 10% increase (decrease) in the oil price increases (decreases) global drilling activity by 4% and costs of drilling by 3% with a lag of 4 and 6 quarters respectively; (ii) positive shocks to drilling activity affect the oil price negatively within a year; (iii) shocks to cost of drilling have a relatively small and statistically insignificant effect on the price of oil.

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Keywords: Natural Resource Extraction, Crude Oil Price, Upstream Cost

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.36.SI1.gtoe

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Published in Volume 36, Adelman Special Issue of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.