Whatever OPEC does, U.S. oil companies will keep drilling

Bloomberg has a story about what U.S. drillers will do in response to whatever OPEC does this week at its regular meeting.

OPEC, led by its top producer, Saudi Arabia, will do one of two things: Nothing, which means the cartel’s output will remain unchanged, and crude prices will say flat (or keep sliding). Or it could cut production, which “would lift prices and profits across the board and help finance further U.S. energy innovation,” the Bloomberg story says.

Either way, U.S. producers will have the same response: Drill on.

“The industry is very resilient, as strong as ever in recent history,” Tony Sanchez III, chief executive of Texas producer Sanchez Energy Corp. (SN), said in an interview. “The technological advances we’ve made underpin virtually everything right now.”

A continued price plunge would put more pressure on U.S. companies, but they’re increasingly insulated by OPEC’s actions, the story says.

The swagger of U.S. producers in the face of plunging oil prices shows the confidence they’ve gained from upending OPEC’s six decades of market dominance with technology that wrings oil from dense rock for prices as low as $40 a barrel. The shale boom has placed the U.S. oil industry in its strongest position since OPEC began flexing its pricing power in the early 1970s.

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