North American shale oil producers find themselves in the spotlight. Before 2015, much focus was placed on the miraculous growth of U.S. crude production, which ramped up by 1 million barrels per day (MMBbl/d) every year for five consecutive years, a phenomenon often characterized as the "shale boom". But, heading into 2015, these same producers were hit particularly hard by the sharp and rapid decline in crude oil prices. In an attempt to better understand how North American production has reacted to the fall of oil prices, this paper begins with a high-level overview of the key value drivers behind the shale boom. It aims to explain how past drilling activities, ongoing rig count changes and drilled but uncompleted wells influence current and future shale oil production. Although the dynamics of crude supply and demand are highly unpredictable, this paper identifies underlying themes in the North American oil and gas industry that continue to prevail during a highly volatile market.

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