But some wildcatters pack up their drill bits as the exploration rush has cooled.
If prices keep dropping, the next president may find it harder to ease the US off foreign oil.
The world's biggest suppliers will meet in Moscow on Nov. 18 to finalize plans for a cartel to control gas prices.
In an emergency meeting Friday, OPEC tries to prop up oil prices as a looming global recession dampens demand.
With oil prices down by half since July, the Venezuelan leader's largess may dry up.