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It’s Getting Tougher for Shale Drillers to Impress Investors

  • Cimarex and Rice Energy slump as production disappoints
  • EOG, Marathon Oil, Chesapeake among 3rd-quarter outperformers
Photographer: Mat Nager/Bloomberg
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Wall Street’s oil analysts are getting harder to impress.

After two straight quarters when the U.S. shale industry posted outsized oil production figures that clobbered expectations, explorers are finding it more difficult to be overachievers. Once-innovative engineering tricks such as drilling two-mile long sideways wells and cracking the rocks with mountains of sand are becoming routine, depriving oil companies of methods to deliver shockingly big output numbers.