Houston, TX, November 30, 2016 – When OPEC members, led by Saudi Arabia, decided in 2014 to keep oil production high despite a global glut, it sent prices into a tailspin. It’s widely thought the move was intended more than anything to drive as many U.S. shale producers as possible out of business.
But the surprise was on OPEC: while American oil and gas companies have sweated out the past two years, cutting jobs and idling rigs – with a few firms leaving the market entirely — for the most part, they have proven to be exceptionally resilient. The same spirit of innovation that led to fracking – the technique that opened the shale plays to development in the first place – helped domestic producers shave costs and improve per-rig productivity. Those achievements are reflected in numbers from the U.S. Energy Department, which suggest that in 2017 domestic crude output will reach 8.7 million barrels a day in 2017, some 100,000 barrels a day higher than the previous estimate.