NEW YORK — OPEC and lower global oil prices delivered a one-two punch to the drillers in North Dakota and Texas who brought the United States one of the biggest booms in the history of the global oil industry.
Now they are fighting back.
Companies are leaning on new techniques and technology to get more oil out of every well they drill, and they are furiously cutting costs in an effort to keep U.S. oil competitive with much lower-cost oil flowing out of the Middle East, Russia and elsewhere.
“Everybody gets a little more imaginative because they need to,” said Hans-Christian Freitag, vice president of technology for the drilling services company Baker Hughes.
Spurred by rising global oil prices, American drillers learned to tap crude trapped in shale starting in the middle of last decade and brought about a surprising boom that made the United States the biggest oil and gas producer in the world. The increase alone in daily U.S. production since 2008 — nearly 4.5 million barrels per day — is more than any OPEC country produces other than Saudi Arabia.
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