The first nationwide strike of US refinery workers since 1980 is in its early days since beginning in the wee hours of 1 February. That’s when negotiators with the United Steelworkers (USW) union gave the word that they had been unable to reach an agreement with lead refining negotiator Shell, and told its members not to report to their facilities, where many of them work 12-hour shifts.
The theoretical land of Cowboyistan, which comprises the crude production of three major US shale fields, could drive about 70pc of US crude output growth in 2015, according to Continental Resources chief executive Harold Hamm. So decisions that US producers in those fields (Eagle Ford, Bakken and Permian basin) make in coming months to shut production or not will be key to global crude prices, which are down about 60pc since June.
“This decline may begin sooner than anyone is anticipating,” perhaps in the first half of 2015, predicted Hamm, whose company is the biggest Bakken producer, speaking at the Argus Americas Crude Summit in Houston yesterday. Production from those three key fields could peak in March and begin to decline in June, Hamm told Argus on the sidelines of the conference.