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Hotelling Under Pressure


  • Soren T. Anderson
  • Ryan Kellogg
  • Stephen W. Salant


We show that oil production from existing wells in Texas does not respond to price incentives. Drilling activity and costs, however, do respond strongly to prices. To explain these facts, we reformulate Hotelling's (1931) classic model of exhaustible resource extraction as a drilling problem: firms choose when to drill, but production from existing wells is constrained by reservoir pressure, which decays as oil is extracted. The model implies a modified Hotelling rule for drilling revenues net of costs and explains why production is typically constrained. It also rationalizes regional production peaks and observed patterns of price expectations following demand shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Soren T. Anderson & Ryan Kellogg & Stephen W. Salant, 2014. "Hotelling Under Pressure," NBER Working Papers 20280, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20280
    Note: EEE IO

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. van den Bremer, Ton & van der Ploeg, Frederick & Wills, Samuel, 2016. "The Elephant In The Ground: Managing Oil And Sovereign Wealth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 113-131.
    2. Gerhard Toews & Alexander Naumov, 2015. "The Relationship Between Oil Price and Costs in the Oil and Gas Industry," OxCarre Working Papers 152, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
    3. Brown, Jason P. & Fitzgerald, Timothy & Weber, Jeremy G., 2016. "Capturing rents from natural resource abundance: Private royalties from U.S. onshore oil & gas production," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 23-38.
    4. repec:eee:eecrev:v:101:y:2018:i:c:p:157-180 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Tumen, Semih & Unalmis, Deren & Unalmis, Ibrahim & Unsal, D. Filiz, 2016. "Taxing fossil fuels under speculative storage," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 64-75.
    6. van den Bremer, Ton S. & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2016. "Saving Alberta's resource revenues: Role of intergenerational and liquidity funds," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 132-146.
    7. Niko Jaakkola & Daniel Spiro, 2016. "Finders, Keepers?," Working Papers id:11118, eSocialSciences.
    8. Weichenrieder, Alfons, 2017. "Should the Global Community Welcome or Mourn New Oil Discoveries?," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168089, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Christiane Baumeister & Lutz Kilian, 2016. "Understanding the Decline in the Price of Oil since June 2014," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 131-158.
    10. Güntner, Jochen H.F., 2014. "How do oil producers respond to oil demand shocks?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 1-13.
    11. Pete Maniloff & Dale T. Manning, 2015. "Division of Nonrenewable Resource Rents: A Model of Asymmetric Nash Competition with State Control of Heterogeneous Resources," Working Papers 2015-08, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
    12. Antoniou, Fabio & Fiocco, Raffaele & Guo, Dongyu, 2017. "Asymmetric price adjustments: A supply side approach," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 335-360.
    13. Casey, Gregory, 2017. "Energy Efficiency and Directed Technical Change: Implications for Climate Change Mitigation," MPRA Paper 76416, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Hilde C. Bjørnland & Frode Martin Nordvik & Maximilian Rohrer, 2017. "Supply Flexibility in the Shale Patch: Evidence from North Dakota," Working Paper 2017/9, Norges Bank.
    15. Okullo, Samuel & Reynes, F. & Hofkes, M., 2016. "Biofuel Mandating and the Green Paradox," Discussion Paper 2016-024, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    16. Lutz Kilian, 2016. "The Impact of the Shale Oil Revolution on U.S. Oil and Gasoline Prices," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(2), pages 185-205.
    17. repec:eee:eneeco:v:63:y:2017:i:c:p:213-226 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Catherine Hausman & Ryan Kellogg, 2015. "Welfare and Distributional Implications of Shale Gas," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(1 (Spring), pages 71-139.
    19. Majah-Leah Ravago & James Roumasset, 2016. "The Public Economics of Electricity Policy with Philippine Applications," Working Papers 201613, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    20. repec:eee:enepol:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:512-523 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Gronwald, Marc, 2016. "Explosive oil prices," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 1-5.
    22. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2016. "The Impact of Removing Tax Preferences for U.S. Oil and Natural Gas Production: Measuring Tax Subsidies by an Equivalent Price Impact Approach," NBER Working Papers 22537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy

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