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Why America's Oil Output Refuses to Collapse

  • Hydraulic-fracking drillers find more sand means more oil
  • A super-size experiment in the Eagle Ford shale formation
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Floors, Ceilings and the Terminal Value of Oil

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Somewhere amid the maze of wells that Murphy Oil Corp. has scattered across Texas’s sprawling Eagle Ford shale formation, Brett Pennington is carrying out a little experiment.

What will happen, the exploration chief wants to know, when he jams huge quantities of sand down the narrow mouth of one of these wells. Will more crude seep out? Or, rather, will he smother the opening and choke off the flow?