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Shale Drillers Risk Relapse Into Rampant Oil Output at $30 Crude

  • U.S. explorers signaling austerity measures may be short-lived
  • Return of profligate American production would swell supplies
Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Shale drillers are signaling they’ll throw off restraints on oil production if crude reaches $30 a barrel, an ominous portent for a global industry still drowning in a supply glut.

The about-face is stunning for a sector scorched by the once-unthinkable twin disasters of a worldwide pandemic that slashed demand and negative crude prices. The historic market collapse prompted production shut-ins globally, but the retrenchment has been particularly acute in the U.S. as storage tanks approach full capacity and refiners scale back oil processing.