The success has come in the face of efforts by Saudi Arabia and its oil allies to undercut the shale drilling spree in the United States. Those strategies backfired and ultimately ended up benefiting the oil industry.
Overcoming three years of slumping prices proved the resiliency of the shale boom. Energy companies and their financial backers were able to weather market turmoil — and the maneuvers of the global oil cartel — by adjusting exploration and extraction techniques.
After a painful shakeout in the industry that included scores of bankruptcies and a significant loss of jobs, a steadier shale-drilling industry is arising, anchored by better-financed companies.
With the price of West Texas intermediate crude above $65 a barrel, a level not seen in almost three years, the United States is becoming a dominant producer. It is able to outflank competitors in supplying growing global markets, particularly China and India, while slashing imports from the Middle East and North Africa.
This year, the United States is expected to surpass Saudi Arabia and to rival Russia as the world’s leader, with record output of over 10 million barrels a day, according to the International Energy Agency.