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“A decade ago, capital investment was leaving the U.S.,” he said. “Now it’s coming home in a very big way.”. The Permian is expected to generate 5.4 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2023 - more than any single member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) other than Saudi Arabia, according to IHS Markit. Production this month, at about 4 million bpd, will about double that of two years ago. Exxon, Chevron, Shell and BP now hold about 4.5 million acres in the Permian Basin, according to Drillinginfo. Chevron and Exxon are poised to become the biggest producers in the field, leapfrogging independent producers such as Pioneer Natural Resources.

Pioneer recently dropped a pledge to hit 1 million bpd by 2026 amid pressure from investors to boost returns, It shifted its emphasis to generating cash flow and replaced its chief executive after posting fourth quarter profit that missed Wall Street earnings targets by 36 cents a share, Shell, silver knot cufflinks meanwhile, is considering a multi-billion dollar deal to purchase independent producer Endeavor Energy Resources, according to people familiar with the talks, Shell declined to comment and Endeavor did not respond to a request..

Chevron said it would produce 900,000 bpd by 2023, while Exxon forecast pumping 1 million barrels per day by about 2024. That would give the two companies one-third of Permian production within five years. At first, the rise of the Permian was driven largely by nimble explorers that pioneered new technology for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling to unlock oil from shale rock, slashing production costs. The advances by smaller companies initially left the majors behind. Now, those technologies are easily copied and widely available from service firms.

Surging Permian production has overwhelmed pipelines and forced producers to sell crude at a deep discount, sapping cash and profits of independents who, unlike the majors, don’t own their own pipeline networks, Even as the majors have ramped up operations, the total number of drilling rigs at work in the Permian has dropped to 464, from 493 in November, as independent producers have slowed production, according to oilfield services provider Baker Hughes, Shell, by contrast, plans to silver knot cufflinks keep expanding even if prices fall further, said Amir Gerges, Shell’s Permian general manager..

“We have a bit more resilience” than the independents, Gerges said. In west Texas, the firm drills four to six wells at a time next to one another, a process called cube development that targets multiple layers of shale as deep as 8,000 feet. Cube development is expensive and can take months, making it an option only for the majors and the largest independent producers. Shell has used the tactic to double production in two years, to 145,000 bpd. The largest oil firms can also take advantage of their volume-buying power even if service companies raise prices for supplies or drilling and fracking crews, said Andrew Dittmar, a Drillinginfo analyst.

“It’s like buying at Costco versus a neighborhood market,” Dittmar said, The majors’ rush into the market means smaller companies are going to struggle to compete for service contracts and pay higher prices, said Roy Martin, analyst with energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, “When you’re sitting across the negotiating table from the majors, the chips are stacked on their side,” he said, The revival of interest in the Permian marks a reversal from the late 1990s, when production had been falling for two silver knot cufflinks decades..

“All the majors and all the companies with names you’ve heard left with their employees,” said Karr Ingham, an oil and gas economist. “Conventional wisdom was this place was going to dry up.”. Chevron was the only major that stayed in the Permian. It holds 2.3 million acres and owns most of its mineral rights, too, but until recently left drilling to others. But this month, Chief Executive Mike Wirth called the Permian its best bet for delivering profits “north of 30 percent at low oil prices.”.

“There’s nothing we can invest in that delivers higher rates of return,” Wirth said this month at its annual investor meeting in New York, Matt Gallagher, CEO of Parsley Energy Inc, calls the majors’ investments “the best form of flattery” for independents operating here, Parsley holds 192,000 Permian acres - most of which was snatched up on the cheap during oil busts - and sees its smaller size as an advantage in shale, “We’re not finished yet,” Gallagher said, “We can move very silver knot cufflinks quickly.”..



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