Still drilling at four-decade highs, the U.S. oil industry could help drive another price collapse in crude this spring.
OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem el-Badri told a conference this past weekend that the cartel's policy has hurt the U.S. shale oil industry and triggered a global reduction in capital spending that could ultimately lead to a shortage—and higher prices.
The U.S. industry, however, has not slowed its high levels of oil production, despite OPEC's best efforts to curb drilling with lower prices. The U.S. has pumped more than 9 million barrels a day since early November, and last week it produced a multidecade high of 9.32 million barrels. Industry output has not been at such a level on a sustained basis since the 1970s.