Now, IEA warns that history might be repeating itself.
The U.S. shale oil revolution — fueled by new technology that allows drillers to squeeze oil and gas from shale rock — was a major contributor to the 2014 oil price collapse.
OPEC, led by top exporter Saudi Arabia, initially responded to the downturn by refusing to cut production, a strategy that it historically used to drain oversupply. The Saudis wagered that low oil prices would flush high-cost U.S. drillers out of the market, setting up a recovery as the shale revolution ground to a halt.
While dozens of American energy companies filed for bankruptcy, OPEC’s new policy didn’t break the industry. U.S. shale producers survived by drilling more efficiently, securing discounts from service companies and slashing headcounts.
Ultimately, many shale drillers proved they could keep pumping with oil prices below $50 a barrel, forcing OPEC to reach a deal with Russia and other producers at the end of 2016 to cut output. They twice extended the agreement, which is set to expire at the end of this year.
On Monday, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo told CNBC the cartel is seeking to institutionalize the agreement and continue coordinating policy even after it achieves its goal. He also said he had assurances from President Vladimir Putin that Russia will stick to the deal.
Market-watchers are wary of Russia’s commitment, especially as U.S. crude oil exports have surged to record highs, threatening to erode Moscow’s grip on key demand centers like China.