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Liam Denning

Today's Fracking Bust Puts 2015 to Shame

Eighteen months into a down-cycle, the gentle slope has morphed into a cliff.

You can say that again.

You can say that again.

Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

As President Donald Trump tries to talk up the oil market and his counterparts in Moscow and Riyadh talk past each other, America’s frackers are taking action — by downing tools, mostly.

The number of horizontal rigs, the main type used in shale basins, fell by 60 last week, or almost one-in-10. That’s the steepest weekly drop in almost 16 years, according to data compiled by Baker Hughes Inc., outstripping the downturn that began in mid-2014. Indeed, comparing this crash with the last one reveals some sobering differences.