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Data: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new survey of oil and gas executives offers data points that explain why U.S. oil production won't approach its record pre-pandemic level anytime soon — if ever.

Driving the news: The Dallas Fed's quarterly survey asked 108 companies the U.S. oil price that would really juice new drilling. As you can see from the chart above, it's well above $39.90 where it's at this morning.

  • And 66% of executives surveyed believe U.S. production has peaked, a finding Reuters explored more here.
  • The Dallas Fed took the pulse of firms in the region that includes the prolific Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico.

Why it matters: The report offers the latest look at the pandemic's reshaping of oil markets and ongoing struggles, even though prices have come back from their April nadir.

  • U.S. production was at an all-time record of around 13 million barrels per day, the largest in the world, at the beginning of the year.
  • It's now well under 11 million barrels per day amid the COVID crisis that has greatly lowered global demand.

Yes, but: some "drilled but uncompleted" wells will come back at lower prices than producers generally need for new wells.

  • "Thirty-six percent of executives said they expect a substantial increase in the completion of DUCs if oil prices were $46–$50 per barrel."
  • And just as many respondents signaled interest in growing production as in reducing debt, though "maintain production" was the most popular goal.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Updated Dec 16, 2020 - Economy & Business

Fed pledges to continue buying bonds until economy makes "substantial" progress

Fed chair Jerome Powell. Photo: Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve kept rates unchanged at 0%–0.25% at its latest policy meeting, but changed its statement to include a promise to continue to buy at least $120 billion of bonds each month "until substantial further progress has been made toward the Committee’s maximum employment and price stability goals."

Why it matters: Fed chair Jerome Powell consistently stressed during his press conference that the Fed was nowhere close to reducing its massive bond-buying program, even though its evaluation of the economy had improved and would continue to provide monetary policy support.

54 mins ago - World

HRW: Over 100 former Afghan security members dead or missing under Taliban rule

Members of the Taliban movement patrol Kabul's airport in September. Photo: Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images

The Taliban have "killed or forcibly disappeared" over 100 former members of Afghanistan's security forces since the group took power in August, a Human Rights Watch report published Tuesday found.

Why it matters: It means former military members and officials from the ousted government, activists and other Taliban critics are facing peril amid executions driven by revenge — despite Taliban promises of an "amnesty" with no retributions, notes the New York Times, which first reported the news.

2 hours ago - World

Barbados becomes a republic, replacing U.K. queen with president

Combination images of Dame Sandra Mason, president of Barbados, and Britain's Prince Charles at her swearing-in ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados, late Monday.

Barbados officially became a republic at midnight local time after Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the Caribbean nation's first president in a ceremony attended by the United Kingdom's Prince Charles.

Why it matters: Mason replaced Britain's Queen Elizabeth as head of state Tuesday — removing the country's final remaining colonial tie to the U.K. almost 400 years after the first British ships arrived in Barbados.