Texas oil explorers say predictions of growth contradict dire reality

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Texas wildcatters, after years eye-rolling at shale skeptics, are now saying global analysts are underestimating just how severe the industry’s slowdown is.

What’s ticking folks off these days is how the International Energy Agency in Paris and the Energy Information Administration in Washington still predict robust U.S. production growth next year, despite the dire reality on the ground. The IEA expects an increase of 900,000 barrels a day, while the EIA forecasts 1 million, which would mean practically replicating this year’s expansion.

Those projections don’t jibe with the vibe in Texas, home to about half of U.S. crude output. Capital-hungry producers are being starved of funding, stocks have plunged and there’s been zero appetite for public offerings, making the downturn potentially more enduring than previous price-related busts.

“All I know is, after 47 years, they’re usually wrong.” Frank Lodzinski, an industry veteran of almost five decades who’s chief executive officer at shale explorer Earthstone Energy Inc., said of the forecasts. “I can’t remember another time when oil was $55 and the industry was in such shambles.”

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