It may have been the best of times for US oil and gas producers in the past couple of years, where a new oil rush has boosted indigenous US production to their highest level in 25 years. Yet the euphoria was somewhat dented this past week when the statistical arm of the US Department of Energy, the Energy Information Agency (EIA), published a report that dramatically downgraded estimates of US recoverable shale oil reserves.

The news could not have come at a better time for OPEC as ministers prepare to meet in Vienna on June 11. The heat seems to be off for the producers’ club, which had been staring a loss of market share in the face from the US boom, and predictions of a spreading tight oil and gas contagion across the globe that would further erode its power in the medium term. (CONTINUED - 1278 WORDS)