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Listen: Global spare capacity: Should idled US shale oil wells count?

It's Brian Scheid v. Herman Wang on Platts Capitol Crude Court this week, as the co-hosts duel over the notion of idled US shale oil wells contributing to global spare capacity. Brian argues that drilled and uncompleted wells and laid-down rigs represent a de facto source of spare capacity, since shale production is nimble and wells can come back online in a hurry. But Herman says there's no way idled shale oil wells fit the technical definition of spare capacity, since they're controlled by independent companies operating in a market environment, not a government entity managing supply.

With OPEC abandoning its traditional role of balancing the market and US shale producers now acting as swing producers, how does that factor in to spare capacity and what are the implications for price forecasts going forward? Platts editor Keiron Greenhalgh wields the gavel, and after listening to their arguments, will announce his decision.

Check back every Monday for the latest analysis of US oil policy news from leading Platts editors covering the Capitol. E-mail the editors at and

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