Pioneer Natural Resources Co. surprised many on April 1 with the announcement of its second big purchase in the past year, continuing the trend of consolidation in the oil patch that analysts say should help alleviate concerns of a shale drilling binge.

As the shale industry continues to embark into this new era of capital discipline, rising oil prices have caused some to worry that some in the sector will not be able to hold the line. In particular, privately backed operators—which account for about 30% of shale production—are feared to drive extra drilling activity.

“There have been concerns about the rate that private companies are increasing drilling and its potential to lead to an oversupplied market,” Andrew Dittmar, senior M&A analyst with Enverus, said in an emailed statement on April 2.

Yet, Dittmar added that the acquisition of privately held companies by mature operators, like Pioneer’s agreement on April 1 to acquire DoublePoint Energy, should help.

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