If you see a fracker, be sure to thank him: IEA Sees Significant Gains in U.S. Shale Oil as Prices Rise Oil-price gains will trigger a “significant” increase in U.S. shale output as OPEC and other producers rein in supply, according to the head of the International Energy Agency. ... The oil industry is becoming more cost-efficient and a “big chunk” of global output is now profitable at $50 to $55 a barrel, Birol said in a later interview, citing Brazil, Mexico and China as countries that will also boost production. There’ll be “lots more” supply in late 2017 or early 2018, he said. “This will make it more difficult for OPEC to achieve its goal of restoring the balance on the oil market by means of production cuts,” said analysts at Commerzbank AG led by Eugen Weinberg in Frankfurt. In the first week of January, U.S. crude production rose to 8.95 million barrels a day, the highest level since April. Oil-rig use expanded to 529 in the prior week, a 67 percent increase from the 2016 low of 316. .