Analysts say today's agreement to curb oil production will elevate prices through at least H1 2017, and the first to pounce on higher prices by expanding drilling will be U.S. shale explorers.
In shale fields across the U.S., production costs have been cut roughly in half since 2014, when Saudi Arabia raised output in an attempt to drive higher-cost shale producers out of the market, but instead of killing the U.S. shale industry, the ensuing price war made shale a leaner and meaner rival.
As an example, Concho Resources (NYSE:CXO) CEO Tim Leach says his company is on track to raise production 5% by year’s end, even though it is spending 7% less than originally budgeted for 2016.
Continental Resources' (NYSE:CLR) Harold Hamm says U.S. oil production will rise in the wake of OPEC’s cut, and rising prices could unlock some of the thousands of drilled but uncompleted wells in the U.S.; some of CLR's ~175 uncompleted wells now will be completed in light of OPEC’s decision and the improved price outlook but the company will not add rigs.
“As you move up the price curve and you get more confident of the outlook for future pricing, we’ll be able to add activity as cash flows grow," says Newfield Exploration (NYSE:NFX) CEO Lee Boothby.