U.S. shale oil producers are running out of tricks to pump more with less in the face of crashing prices.
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Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips and Hess Corp. have all either delayed or abandoned projects that range from the deep seas of the Gulf of Mexico to Canada's oil sands and the U.S. Arctic. At the same time, Exxon and Chevron both announced plans to substantially increase U.S. crude production, largely as a result of their shale operations.One example: An equipment failure forced Chevron to put its $5.1 billion Big Foot development, a deepwater Gulf of Mexico project that was supposed to begin pumping crude this year, on hold until at least 2018 .International producers are failing to deliver 80 percent of megaprojects on time and on budget, compared with about 50 percent in 2005, said Neeraj Nandurdikar, oil and gas director at Independent Project Analysis Inc.Exxon plans to double U.S. shale production in the next three years.For Chevron, shale wells are forecast to contribute the equivalent of 160,000 barrels of daily oil output in the next two years, the company said in a March presentation to analysts.
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