JPT: Comments-Editor's Column 

Five years since the start of the precipitous oil price drop that led to the industry’s worst recession since the 1980s, the oil market is still struggling with supply/demand balances and price stability. With the shale industry still awash in red ink, and oil prices falling, it may take more consolidation to try to bring some financial stability to the sector. Although the shale sector continues to thrive, the pace of deepwater E&P is now gradually picking up. Natural gas, often hailed as the bridge to an energy future that will include greater demand for alternative energy supplies, may be poised to overtake oil as the globe’s primary fuel source in the next decade. Another industry report issued last month touts the coming gains in US shale, predicting that the country will soon be the largest oil producer and possibly exporter in the world.