The logo of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is pictured at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, August 21, 2015. REUTERS/HEINZ-PETER BADER
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For leading U.S. shale oil producers, $40 is the new $70 . Less than a year ago major shale firms were saying they needed oil above $60 a barrel to produce more; now some say they will settle for far less in deciding whether to crank up output after the worst oil price crash in a generation.Continental Resources Inc, led by billionaire wildcatter Harold Hamm, is prepared to increase capital spending if U.S. crude CLc1 reaches the low- to mid-$40s range, allowing it to boost 2017 production by more than 10 percent, chief financial official John Hart said last week.For example, Hess Corp., which pumps one of every 15 barrels of North Dakota crude, cut the cost of a new Bakken oil well by 28 percent last year.Apache Corp forecasts its output will drop by as much as 11 percent this year, but said it would probably manage to match 2015 North American production if oil averaged $45 this year.In fact, John Hess, chief executive of Hess Corp last week took issue with labeling U.S. shale oil as a "swing producer".
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