U.S. crude oil prices have risen above $60 per barrel which should accelerate shale drilling and production in the next few months, provided the price increase is sustained. U.S. crude futures are trading over $60 for all delivery months between February and August 2018, an increase of about 40 percent since the middle of 2017. And the futures strip for 2019, the benchmark against which U.S. shale producers can execute hedges for next year’s output, is trading over $56, up almost 20 percent on the last six months. Harold Hamm, chief executive of Continental Resources, one of the largest producers in North Dakota and Oklahoma, said last year that prices needed to be above $50 to be sustainable. Analysis of earnings statements and drilling behavior of the shale firms confirmed most were not breaking when futures prices were below $50. Breakeven prices for shale vary tremendously […]