NEW YORK, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- The benchmark for U.S. crude oil prices was treading water in early Tuesday trading, one day after a report showed few signs of a slowdown in the shale boom.
West Texas Intermediate for December delivery was still struggling to break the $80 per barrel mark in early trading Tuesday, though prices were relatively stable at $77.44 per barrel. Long-term traded contracts show WTI moving closer to the $78 mark through mid 2015.
Crude oil is in a bear market, shedding about 20 percent of the price per barrel since June. Several energy companies and industry groups have cut their long-term investment forecasts because of the slump in oil prices.
Market observers have said the downward trend is part of an effort by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to slow the growth in the U.S. shale sector, where exploration and production is more expensive. OPEC leaders have been cautious to say the price is a reflection of slow economic recovery and higher oil supplies globally.
A report on drilling activity from the U.S. Energy Information Administration finds activity increasing across several shale basins.
In the seven basins that account for 95 percent of all U.S. oil and natural gas production growth from 2011-13, EIA said it expected 125,000 new barrels of oil per day by December.
Brent, the global benchmark, moved more or less in parallel with WTI, trading down 23 cents per barrel early Tuesday to $82.11.