Big oil-producing nations have nearly achieved their goal of draining a prolonged oil glut after taking some bitter medicine: cutting the crude production that funds their governments.
But with victory in sight, U.S. drillers are poised to spoil OPEC's plans for the second time in three years.
On Tuesday, the International Energy Agency warned that surging U.S. production could delay OPEC's bid to balance the long-oversupplied oil market. It's another sign that the 14-member cartel will have to adjust to a market whose ups and downs are increasingly influenced by U.S. shale oil.
The IEA's warning came in the latest monthly report from the Paris-based advisor to energy producers — the first it has issued since U.S. government data showed America's oil output topped 10 million barrels a day in November, roughly matching the all-time record set in 1970.