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Reproduced from Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new Dallas Fed survey of energy executives and the upswing in COVID-19 cases together signal the near- and long-term problems facing domestic oil producers.

Why it matters: It's another window onto something we wrote about earlier this week: The once-booming shale patch may never achieve its former output, and if it does, it'll be reshaped as some financially weaker players face insolvency and potential acquisition.

Driving the news: The Dallas Fed's quarterly look at the oil-and-gas sector in its region has a revealing look at how the industry sees the future.

  • Many industry executives surveyed don't see drilling operations returning to former levels for at least a year.
  • 39% of the executives say it will be at least 2022, while another 16% say it won't ever happen.
  • Output from shale wells declines very fast, so the absence of lots of new drilling shows why regaining the previous nationwide production peak of almost 13 million barrels per day is such a heavy lift.

Yes, but: The survey of executives from oil-and-gas producers also has some promising signs for the industry. It notes that most producers expect to revive output from idled existing wells in the next few months (with substantial amounts brought back this month).

What they're saying: A Bloomberg feature yesterday explores how analysts see the sector's future.

Their survey of projections by the International Energy Agency and four consulting and data firms shows that on average, they see production 18 months down 16% from its pre-COVID peak.

But that average mixes bullish and bearish outlooks — two of the firms project that output in early December of 2022 will be under 10 million barrels per day.

Where it stands: The crude oil price recovery has gone into reverse over the last week amid sobering news on the spread of COVID-19.

Prices this morning for the U.S. benchmark WTI are $37.24, a retreat from the $40-per-barrel range earlier in the month that has marked the first return to $40 since early March.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 2, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Oil lobby launches swing-state ad push in final stretch to Election Day

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The American Petroleum Institute is launching a digital ad barrage in the closing weeks of the election that promotes natural gas and industry access to drilling in areas Joe Biden would place off-limits.

Why it matters: API is the industry's most powerful lobbying group. The seven-figure buy shows how the industry sees the threat from Democratic climate proposals — including a ban on new oil-and-gas leases on federal lands.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 2, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Supreme Court to review climate change lawsuit venue

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Supreme Court said Friday that it will review a petition from Big Oil companies — including BP, Exxon and Chevron — that argues that mounting climate lawsuits against them should be kept out of state courts.

Why it matters: "The high court’s interest in the issue is good news for oil and gas companies, which have tried for years to push climate liability cases to federal courts, and ultimately defeat them," Bloomberg Law reports.

Anti-abortion activists' Supreme Court dreams are coming true

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

This is the moment the conservative legal movement has been building toward for decades: The solidly conservative Supreme Court is about to hear two major abortion cases within a month of each other.

Why it matters: All of this is likely to end with significant new restrictions on abortion and a clear path for Republican-led states to win the next big abortion cases, too — the culmination of a long and bitter fight for control of the judiciary.