It has long been the suspicion of many oil market analysts that the U.S. shale industry was likely too nimble for OPEC to really hammer it into oblivion. That proved to be the case after two years of low prices – shale production came off from peak levels, but held up through 2016. That was long enough to force OPEC’s hand. The deal that OPEC put in place late last year, taking a combined 1.8 million barrels per day (mb/d) off the market, really took the pressure off of shale producers. OPEC decided that it would sacrifice some production in order to boost revenues through higher prices. That threw a lifeline to shale producers, and shale output has made a swift comeback since last year. Now, there is a growing expectation that OPEC can’t keep its cuts going. The OPEC/non-OPEC coalition had hoped that the market would have balanced […]