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Over the past five years, technology has improved the productivity of the typical oil or gas rig on America’s shale fields between 200 and 300 percent. Globally, the average cost to find and yield a new barrel has increased from $6 in 1998 to $27 a barrel today. But in America’s oil shale fields it’s now dropped to the $7 to $15 range. American oil production will soon surpass Saudi Arabia's output, according to the International Energy Agency. The end result: U.S. drilling success rates have risen from an average of barely 50 percent in 1972 to over 85 percent today.