American shale-oil producers are on a roll

May 10, 2018

JUST over a year ago Harold Hamm, billionaire boss of Continental Resources, one of the biggest shale-oil producers in America, issued a stern warning to his fellow frackers. Drill with restraint or we will “kill the market”, he said. This month the 72-year-old Mr Hamm, son of an Oklahoma cotton sharecropper who went on to become one of the founding fathers of the shale revolution, had a different message. Restraint is working.

The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the light, “sweet” (or low-sulphur) crude that is a benchmark for American producers, rose to $71 a barrel on May 9th, its highest level since November 2014. OPEC, which Mr Hamm once called a “toothless tiger”, is successfully leading efforts to balance the market. Oil prices are partly rallying because President Donald Trump this week pulled America out of the nuclear deal with Iran and said he would reimpose sanctions on a big oil producer. Meanwhile a free fall in Venezuelan production may be further exacerbated by the...Continue reading

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