The decision by OPEC on Thursday not to cut oil production, despite a price decline of over 30% since June, means U.S. shale-oil producers may soon find business to be unprofitable.Hydraulic fracturing is far more expensive than simply pumping from oil wells that tap into huge reserves close to the surface. That is why Saudi Arabia is perfectly willing to let oil prices fall even further as it defends its market share. That country has another clear advantage: The kingdom at any time can easily raise or lower its production.For U.S.-shale companies, long-term expansion plans may have to be severely curtailed, especially if OPEC and major non-OPEC oil producers, including Mexico and Russia, continue on their current path.The S&P 500 Index SPX, -0.37% was little changed Friday, but among 186 U.S. oil stocks with market values of more than $50 million, 56 were showing double-digit declines in early trading.
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