US is now ‘world’s marginal producer’

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As oil exports from the United States reach record highs, Mark Siegel, the executive chairman of Patterson-UTI Energy, told CNBC that the trend shouldn’t worry commodity-watchers.

“I think everybody starts to think that there’s an abundance whenever somebody’s starting to do well,” Siegel told “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer in an exclusive interview on Thursday. “The United States has become the marginal producer in the world and so we’re very excited about our prospects.”

The oil patch has been a highly contested area of the market as crude prices hover in the $50 range. Some experts worry about oversupply while others hold their breath ahead of anticipated production cuts by OPEC in November.

The high number of oil and gas exploration rigs in the United States has also been a source of worry, but Siegel said that companies like his are combating that by doing more with less.

“Quite frankly, we think that that’s a very positive trend because it allows for very great efficiency on the part of our customers and that efficiency allows them to be productive,” the chairman said. “Our rig count has stayed very, very flat and that’s all about the fact that people can make money now with these kinds of energy prices.”

And as the conversation about sustainability grows louder amid loosening regulations for methane emissions, Siegel highlighted the industry’s wholesale shift to natural gas production.

“It’s interesting, a lot of the natural gas is being used for manufacturing and for particular uses where it’s already set in motion or for electrical generation. And so there’s quite a market for us,” Siegel told Cramer. “Natural gas has displaced coal this year, and that’s really a long term trend, we think, in the United States. It’s environmentally sound and it’s cheaper.”



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