The shale formations that have grown to account for a record 70% of US crude output (9.0mn b/d of March’s record 12.9mn b/d) require constant drilling to maintain production. And drilling has collapsed since late March as oil prices collapsed.

The US oil rig count fell below the May 2016 nadir (316) in the first week of May, and it has kept falling. The latest figure of 237 as of 22 May is the lowest since July 2009. The year-on-year fall is a record 70.3% and down 64% over the last two months alone, though the weekly decline has slowed to 21 from a peak of 60 in mid-April (MEES, 1 May). (CONTINUED - 2388 WORDS)