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Survey of oil drillers helps explain shale's surge

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has a new survey of oil-and-gas companies in their region that helps explain why U.S. production — especially from shale formations in the Permian Basin — is slated to keep surging.

Data: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Check out the chart above: It shows the range of answers from executives at 65 companies about the price point they need to profitably drill new wells in several regions. WTI is trading in the $64-per-barrel range on Thursday morning. Even with increased shareholder focus on generating returns from shale producers, the survey is more evidence that the boom has staying power.

Quoted: "As the breakeven price doesn't stay the same as acreage is drilled out and costs change, production growth longer-term will be dependent on changes to this breakeven price and the price of crude oil," Kunal Patel, a senior analyst at Dallas Fed, said in an email exchange.

  • "However, the breakeven for the region has been relatively stable ($51 in 2016, $48 in 2017, $50 in 2018), so there can be production growth for many years in the future assuming prices remain at current levels," he added.
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