Exxon and other oil majors are still giving the green light to a handful of complex and risky but potentially highly profitable projects offshore, while at the same time increasingly shifting more resources into safer, smaller-scale shale drilling.
U.S. independent shale companies are starting to step up their spending plans, eyeing a swift return to the shale patch as oil prices rise. Many have revised their capex upward, added rigs, and hedged production forward.
The Permian has weathered the downturn in prices better than other shale plays, and prospects there are improving even more with prices firming after OPEC's decision to cut output.
While some companies have been able to drill profitable wells with prices at current levels and the Permian remains attractive, the U.S. oil industry is not healthy with oil under $50.
After defying gravity for over a year, every American shale producer and shale play is showing signs of decline.