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The Pandemic Has Broken Shale and Left Oil Markets in OPEC Hands

The contraction of the U.S. oil industry this year means the cartel probably won’t need to worry too much about losing market share for some time. 

Oil rigs stand in the Permian Basin area of Odessa, Texas.

Oil rigs stand in the Permian Basin area of Odessa, Texas.

Photographer: Sergio Flores/Bloomberg

OPEC’s oil ministers have a few challenges to consider at a crucial summit next week, but for the first time in years the shale boom won’t be at the top of the list.

A devastating global pandemic and a reckoning with Wall Street appear to have broken the resolve of the shale wildcatters who turned the U.S. into the world’s biggest oil producer. Years of breakneck growth, at the expense of crude kingpins in the Middle East and Russia, have come to an end. If there was ever any doubt, it’s now abundantly clear who has the upper hand in the global oil market.