[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the February 2019 edition of Oil and Gas Investor. Subscribe to the magazine here.]
For the most part, 2018 was a good year for producers.
Oil was on a steady rise and most plays were in the money. Natural gas prices remained capped for much of the year as production increased, but new demand seemed to be available as needed. As the industry approached year-end, oil swooned and gas excelled.
Producers scratched their heads, however, over the apathy on Wall Street toward oil and gas stocks. Despite robust economics in the oil patch, investors only wanted evidence of cash flows that resulted in shareholder returns, and, even then, weren’t overly enthused. Public investors’ shunning of E&P equities trickled down to the private-operator world, which struggled to find an exit in the markets.
And it wasn’t just the commodity markets and the financial markets exhibiting volatility—the industry’s trust of President Trump championing hydrocarbons took a hit when trade wars and tariffs took a bite out of their profits. And, with product flowing from re-activated plays, anti-hydrocarbon activists took aim at the industry by blocking pipelines at the regulatory level and blaming climate change on producers at the court level.
Here, Oil and Gas Investor chronicles the highlights of the year in energy.