U.S. oil and gas producers are demonstrating industry fundamentals that the Department of Energy should watch closely. In its pursuit of a national energy strategy, DOE cannot ignore recent oil production declines. Any effective response to those declines must involve improvements to fundamentals within the government's control. The production slide seems irreversible to some observers. Output has fallen by more than 1 million b/d since 1985; last year it averaged 7.6 million b/d, lowest in 26 years. Pessimists blame the numbers on resource depletion and say there's no point trying to slow the decline with policy changes. DOE must not fall i...

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