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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.

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.