Media attention to strained Saudi Arabia-US relations belies the underlying tension in the oil industry’s quest to find the right price to encourage spending on projects without stifling the same industry growth.

In terms of broken ties, one thing that stands out for the oil industry is the correlation between investment and prices.

When oil prices last plummeted into triple digits in 2013 and 2014, around 33 and 17 oil projects were sanctioned, respectively…