By Joe Martin
On the heels of oil prices tipping over $50 a barrel for the first time since October 2015, BPâ€™s top economist predicted a market stabilization in the second half of 2016, potentially quelling the thousands of job cuts plaguing the energy industry in Houston.
Supply and demand issues played significant roles for oil prices over the past year, Spencer Dale, BP PLCâ€™s group chief economist, told a Greater Houston Partnership group June 17. As companies have lowered the rig count, among other worldwide supply factors, some headway is being made. Dale sees the energy economy stabilizing in the second half of 2016, however, that doesnâ€™t necessarily mean a full turnaround before year end. . . .
“As the market moves into balance, for those in the oil industry it feels like youâ€™ve turned a corner, and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you have a ways to walk until you get to the end of the tunnel because you have that stock overhang to adjust to,” Dale added. . . .
And, for the first time since the data has been recorded, natural gas overtook coal as the dominant fuel in the U.S. power sector, Dale said.
“U.S. shale gas is enormously important for America, but itâ€™s also enormously important for the world in terms of providing a fuel helping shift away from coal as a transition to a lower carbon world,” Dale said.