Our supposed allies at OPEC have it in for our oil industry, just like they have for the last 40 years, says oil-industry star Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources.
"That's just the way the game is played with them," he told CNBC. "They try to wipe out U.S. production."
Oil prices have plunged 54 percent since late June, with U.S. crude trading at $49.05 a barrel Friday morning.
Saudi Arabia has resisted requests by other OPEC members to buoy prices by cutting production and has reduced its own prices to some customers. That's a way to drive U.S. producers out of the market, Hamm and others contend.
"Sometimes they're successful. This time we hope they're not," he said.
But Continental Resources will cope. "In this type of environment, all you can do is conserve cash and cut back and wait until prices come back," Hamm said. "It will adjust. Production levels adjust and so do prices. It's just a matter of time."
As for consumers, they had plenty to cheer about a month ago, when regular gasoline prices averaged $2.04 a gallon nationally, hitting five-year lows.
Now they have a little less to cheer about, with the price at $2.37, up 16 percent over the past month. To be sure, that level still represents a 31 percent drop from $3.44 a year ago.
The price has rebounded as refineries have shut down for maintenance. "There’s a huge mountain of crude oil sitting out there ... but it’s not getting to the refineries," says Aaron Task of Yahoo Finance.
That would suggest gas prices may fall back down after the maintenance is completed, although the approach of the summer driving season could serve to boost prices.
Meanwhile, the sluggish demand that has helped push oil prices to 5 ½-year lows shows that all's not well with the global economy, says Stephen Schork, editor of The Schork Report newsletter.
"When you have such a sharp fall in commodity prices, that's because of economic demand. And I think that's a very worrisome telltale," he told CNBC.
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