Current Plunge in Oil Prices Could Create Opportunities for Shell and BP
Ever since reaching a high of near $115 USD a barrel in June of 2014, oil prices have dropped an astounding 76.5% to a recent l2-year low of $27 a barrel. The effect of this drop in crude oil prices has been a series of economic problems for countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia while western consumers have been reaping great benefits from the related drop in gas prices at the pump.
The reason for this massive drop is pretty cut and dry. Supply is outpacing demand at unprecedented levels. As countries such as the United States look to establish more oil independence by tapping into domestic resources, OPEC has done very little to reduce production levels over the past few years. At current production levels, some industry experts are predicting oil prices could drop as far as $20 a barrel before bottoming out.
In recent weeks, Russia has been calling on OPEC members to come together and discuss strategies for cutting production is order to boost prices. While it would certainly be in Russia’s best interest to make this happen, current issues between Iran and Saudi Arabia are creating obstacles to getting anything done in the immediate future.
Some experts have predicted it wouldn’t take much of a change in production levels from OPEC to get the desired effect of turning oil prices around. That and the fact US crude oil production is expected to drop in 2016 by as much as 900,000 barrels a day due to financial issues within the industry is enough to give some analysts hope.
Based on what has transpired in the last year and a half, investors might want to start taking a serious look at the oil sector. As oil prices have dropped, oil company stock prices have taken a tremendous beating all over the globe. In many cases, they have lost as much as 80-90% in equity value.
With any movement upwards in oil prices, the stronger oil companies sure have a lot of room to increase. In the UK, Royal Dutch Shell and British Petroleum (BP) look like strong candidates for a big rebound. With high dividend yields of 8.6% and 7.3%, respectively, these two companies represent great value on the turnaround. Currently, Shell has a NYSE stock price of $42.06 USD per share with a 52-week high of $66.81 USD while BP is priced at $27.64 USD (near 52-week low) with a 52-week high of $43.85 USD on the NYSE.
For investors who are a little more risk adverse, a diversified mutual fund like Amundi ETF MSCI Europe Energy UCITS ETF would certainly increase in value as oil prices rebound. Instead of trying to time an oil price bottom, it would appear most of the pricing risk has already been realized, making now a good time to invest in the oil sector.