U.S. oil prices have dropped below $50 a barrel in recent weeks, in part because traders worry shale drillers will pump a lot more crude than the world needs this year.
But analysts believe even if the price falls to $40 a barrel, crude production across the continental United States will keep growing. In a report this week, Rystad Energy said the nation, excluding the Gulf of Mexico, could still bring 145,000 barrels a day into production at that lower price.
“A drastic downward shift in the market conditions will not lead to a rapid collapse of the U.S. oil production,” Rystad said in its report. At $30 a barrel, U.S. Lower 48 production would only drop by 500,000 barrels a day from about 7 million, the group estimates.
If oil clings to the $50 mark, daily output could jump by 390,000 barrels from May to December, on top of the 430,000 barrels added since last December.