When Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries last month rejected calls for a production cut by Opec, the oil cartel, they put the responsibility for stabilising plummeting crude prices on to the US shale industry.

Suhail al-Mazroui, energy minister for the United Arab Emirates, said US shale companies and other producers who had created an oil glut should “respect the needs of the market”. Less diplomatically, Scott Sheffield, chief executive of Pioneer Natural Resources, one of the leading shale oil producers, said Opec had “declared war” on the US industry.

Two weeks on from that Opec decision — and against a backdrop of a 40 per cent fall in the oil price since June — evidence of its negative impact on US producers is starting to emerge.


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