US crude output is ramping up rapidly. At 9.1mn b/d it is already over 500,000 b/d up on September’s low. With US producers set to remain the key beneficiaries of any Opec action to support prices, this leaves the organization with few good options.

Latest output and drilling figures for key US shale formations set out the extent to which the rebound in output is already in full swing. The rebound has its genesis in an uptick in activity on the back of the modest gains in crude prices in the second and third quarters last year, but it received a shot in the arm from the start of December, when prices decisively broke $50/B as Opec announced planned output cuts. (CONTINUED - 1696 WORDS)