The slump reflects a huge readjustment for the U.S. oil industry. Having ridden to a position of global preeminence on the back of the shale boom, the U.S. reemerged as a major exporter rivaling Saudi Arabia and Russia, but the pandemic hit hard and forced producers to make painful cost cuts. Domestic output is ending the year steady but about 16%, or 2.1 million barrels a day, below its pre-pandemic peak, a level where it’s widely expected to stay absent a dramatic price spike. In the meantime, OPEC has managed to regain its former position as the dominant player in the global market.

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