What: Shares of Seadrill (NYSE:SDRL) slumped more than 10% by 11:30 a.m. ET on Monday. The renewed slump in the price of oil is what's fueling today's sell-off.
So what: The price of crude slumped nearly 3% by the mid-morning today to right around the $30-a-barrel mark. Aside from persistent oversupply, the primary weight on the price of crude today is the outcome from a meeting between Saudi Arabia and Venezuela over the weekend. Venezuela had hoped to convince Saudi Arabia to lead an OPEC effort to cut supplies, but that meeting ended without such an agreement.
With no one willing to shut down their oil pumps, it basically leaves the oil market to fix the situation itself. That is going to take some time. Not only does the industry need to see a meaningful production decline due to lack of investment in legacy oil fields to rebalance supply with demand, but it then needs to overcome its significant inventory overhang. Furthermore, even when balance has returned to the market and the price of oil rises to support new investments, it will be another 12 to 18 months before the offshore market will begin to recover, according to Seadrill CEO Per Wulff. In fact, he recently told Bloomberg that "we're likely to be at the end of 2017 before this starts being fun again."
The problem for Seadrill and others in the industry to overcome is surviving until that time. Seadrill's main obstacle is a very steep funding gap estimated by analysts to be $2.5 billion through 2018. There are no easy options to overcoming that gap, which is only going to become more of a burden the longer oil prices stay lower because of the impact that will have on credit availability within the sector.
Now what: Given the lag between the recovery in the oil price and the recovery in the offshore drilling market, every day oil goes down only pushes the recovery further into the future. That's a big concern, what with Seadrill having a pretty big funding wall to climb in the near term. Because of this, Seadrill's stock will likely remain very volatile until there are clear signs that a recovery is on the horizon.
Matt DiLallo owns shares of Seadrill. The Motley Fool recommends Seadrill. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.