Let’s go straight to the tape. Rig count may now fall precipitously in a post-COVID-19/OPEC+ world, but the hidden narrative in the land drilling market, and for the Permian Basin, in particular, involves Exxon Mobil Corp.

Exxon Mobil had been the nation’s leading rig employer at 69 units on average year-to-date 2020, double the tally for EOG Resources Inc., the nation’s second most active rig employer.

In the Permian, a majority of E&Ps are bunched in the 5% to 6% share of regional rig employment and have been since early 2018. In contrast, Exxon Mobil has persistently added rigs and grown regional market share beginning with a 6% share of Permian rig activity in first-quarter 2018, moving to a 9% share by first-quarter 2019, and currently holding 14% share year-to-date 2020.

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