Many have been sceptical of the true extent of the shale revolution’s impact on the U.S. economy, beyond localised effects like lowering mid-continent crude prices and reducing costs for industrial petroleum product manufacturing.
But in a new note, Standard and Poor RatingsDirect’s Peter Rigby says it’s actually given the U.S. a tremendous amount of political leverage.
Specifically, it can impose sanctions on Iran without the ricochet effect of spiking crude oil prices.
The Boston Company has made a similar argument — that U.S. crude production may not be causing prices to go down, but has dampened market volatility.
In a follow-up email to Business Insider, Rigby elaborated on his point:
…as Iranian supply came off the global market, new US supply was coming on line to contribute to meeting global demand.
So even though US supply, for all practical purposes, does not go onto the global market, it contributes to global supplies. The price is still global, which the US pays, adjusted, of course, for transportation and crude quality differentials.
So, all else being equal, had the embargo gone into effect without that new 1 million barrels per day from the US, there would have been upwards price pressure on crude.
One million barrels is not an insignificant amount, as evidenced by the changing crude oil shipping patterns that are emerging.
Rigby cautioned that the Saudis still hold all the cards.
But it looks like the U.S. is finally getting some leverage.