Trump’s quest to drive down oil prices turns the screws on American drillers

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The sell-off is pushing U.S. crude prices to levels that may impact drillers’ spending plans and their ability to return cash to shareholders.

Many frackers can now break even on new wells with crude prices below $50 a barrel. But with U.S. crude falling towards $50 on Friday, the comfort zone is shrinking.

In the Permian basin, the nation’s most productive shale oil field underlying Texas and New Mexico, companies typically need oil prices in the upper-$40s to lower-$50s to cover the full costs of developing new oil fields, according to Muhammed Ghulam, the senior research associate at Raymond James.

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