WILLISTON, N.D., Feb 19 (Reuters) - One of the strongest leaders of the U.S. shale revolution has been humbled by plunging oil prices.
EOG Resources Inc slashed its 2015 budget on Wednesday amid cheap crude prices and said its output will not grow this year, mere months after confidently saying it was strong enough to weather the downturn without cutbacks. Its shares tumbled more than 7 percent late Wednesday.
The move offers the clearest example to date of how the roughly 50 percent drop in oil prices since last June is roiling the U.S. energy industry, forcing once-confident players to make choices unimaginable just 12 months ago.
EOG's scaled-back outlook would mark the first time in years its crude and natural gas output does not jump more than 10 percent.
EOG is not alone. Last week Apache Corp posted a multibillion-dollar net loss and slashed its 2015 budget while saying its output would be flat from last year. On Thursday, the number of rigs drilling in North Dakota fell below 130 for the first time in years, a level the state's top official said is necessary to prevent output from falling.
ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum Corp , among many others, have taken similar steps.
Many oil industry and market analysts have been waiting anxiously for the update from EOG, regarded as a bellwether for the shale patch. The company's stock, for instance, is down only 10 percent the past six months, versus a 33 percent drop for Apache and 19 percent for Occidental.
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