Shale producers survive OPEC predatory pricing and now prosper

NY Times:

Oil Boom Gives the U.S. a New Edge in Energy and Diplomacy

  • Having survived a slump, shale drilling is surging as prices recover, limiting market upheaval and providing Washington with strategic leeway.
  • The success has come in the face of efforts by Saudi Arabia and its oil allies to undercut a U.S. drilling spree.
One of the biggest mistakes in OPEC history was their attempt to kill off the shale producers by engaging in predatory pricing.  Instead of folding teh US producers got lean and more efficient and by the time OPEC backed off, the shale producers break even was actually lower than most of the OPEC countries.  The shale producers continue to refine their methods to cut cost.

The biggest mistake the US has made since the shale revolution is its failure to gear its refinery capacity to match the light crude being produced in teh shale fields.  That is the main reason the US is still importing heavy crude and export much of its light crude.  It the refineries converted to light crude, the US would be pretty close to energy independent.

No one underestimated the shale producers more than President Obama, who went around giving speeches that the US could not drill its way to lower gas prices.  I suspect that was just wishful thinking on his part because he wanted to move the US toward inefficient alternative energy and electric cars.  The current technology in both areas is still inadequate despite all the money he wasted on it.

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