North American shale producers far outspent their revenue in the second quarter despite making deep spending cuts to survive the worst oil price crash in decades.

Operators idled rigs, sacked workers and even stopped producing oil as the coronavirus pandemic hit global energy demand and sent U.S. crude prices below zero in April—but it was all “too little, too late,” analysts at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said Sept. 15.

The 34 shale oil and gas producers in the IEEFA study spent $3.3 billion more on drilling and other projects during the second quarter than they earned by selling oil and gas, the sector’s worst performance in years, the institute said in a report.

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