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Oil Producers Cramming Wells in Risky Push to Extend Boom

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U.S. shale producers are cramming more wells into the juiciest spots of their oilfields in a move that may help keep the drilling boom going as prices plunge.

The technique known as downspacing aims to pull more oil at less cost from each field, allowing companies to boost profit, attract more investment and arrange needed loans to continue drilling. Energy companies see closely-packed wells as their best chance to add billions more barrels of oil to U.S. production that’s already the highest in a quarter century.