The turnaround in oil and gas production appears to create a tailwind to drive further economic growth as seen in vehicle and housing sales. Recent advances in technology such as Seismic imaging with companies such as Dawson Geophysical (DWSN) and horizontal drilling with industry leaders like Schlumberger Limited (SLB) (through its acquisitions of Smith International and SII’s acquisition of W-H Energy Services) have dramatically change the economics of oil and gas extraction and subsequently, the energy picture in the US.
Recent data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), EIA the improving production levels for oil and natural gas suggest the energy headwind driven by high oil prices may lead to a tailwind. Advances in technology Seismic imaging, hydraulic fracturing, and horizontal drilling have enabled production of shale oil to be more economically attractive.
Figure 1 US Oil Production
High-energy prices have had a negative impact on the US economy. With improvements in oil and natural gas production, the economy should experience a more favorable outlook. Recent data from the housing sector and vehicle sales suggests the level of activity is improving.
Figure 2 US Vehicle Sales
Since the Great Recession starting in 2008, vehicle sales in the US have remained substantially below 15 million units on a seasonally adjusted annual rate until 2012. According to data from Motor Intelligence Autodata the level of vehicle sales has maintained sales above the 15 million units through January 2014 indicating positive economic improvement in the car and truck industries.
Figure 3 US Housing Inventory
The US housing market has been a drag on the economy since the financial crisis and now housing is beginning to show signs of improvement. Latest information from Association of Realtors shows the existing inventory of houses on the market remains at an acceptable level consistent with the inventory levels before the financial crisis began.
While efforts to expand renewable energy require further support, the positive effects of less reliance on foreign oil are deemed positive.