Oil Prices Top $100, Yet Some Big U.S. Frackers Let Their Production Fall



Oil prices are at their highest in years and politicians want companies to pump more. But most large American frackers are standing pat, or even letting production decline, and instead are handing investors cash.

Much of the U.S. shale industry recently reported higher profits than in the same quarter a year earlier, but companies aren’t reinvesting more in production—indeed, some have let U.S. output slip as they focus on paying investors. Nine of the largest U.S. oil producers this week said they shelled out a combined $9.4 billion to shareholders via dividends and share repurchases in the first quarter, about 54% more than they invested in new oil developments.



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