Shale oil could help rebalance global commodity prices as the sector looks to shrug off a tough couple of years, the chief executive of one the industry's leading services companies has told CNBC.
"The market will come back but the big challenge we all have is knowing when that will happen," Keith Cochrane, the chief executive of Weir Group, an engineering company based in Scotland that supplies services to the oil and gas industry, told CNBC on Wednesday.
"The days of $100 a barrel oil have gone for a long, long time but it's back to the simple maths around supply and demand," Cochrane added.
"We have a depleting resource, we have production being reduced, we have demand growing and there needs to be a price in the market to support ongoing investment and the reality is that shale will, be almost that lever that comes into play because it can react quickly, it's relatively inexpensive given the cost reduction and that will cap prices."
He added that shale had "substantially" reduced its cost break-even point so had become more competitive: "Therefore it has a part to play in that rebalancing but exactly when we reach that balancing point, who knows."