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Shale’s Caution Means U.S. Oil Output Will Lag as Prices Jump

  • Eagle Ford, Niobrara set to see declines in April: EIA
  • Permian only region to increase output, but just by a little
A pump jack operates just outside of Midland, Texas.

A pump jack operates just outside of Midland, Texas.

Photographer: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg

Shale’s newfound prudence after last year’s crash is putting producers in the unusual situation of reducing oil output just as prices surge.

More focused than ever on keeping spending in check, shale drillers haven’t been boring new wells fast enough to keep up with output declines in older ones. So, next month, their combined production will edge lower by 47,000 barrels a day to about 7.46 million, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That’s despite an oil price jump of more than 30% this year.