In The Shadow Of Oil And Gas Giants

There goes the neighborhood? In early spring 2019, Exxon Mobil announced it would turn its Permian Basin position into a kind of dreadnought, raising questions about how it will coexist with its neighbors.

In The Shadow Of Oil And Gas Giants

As the U.S. rig count has plummeted, Exxon Mobil and XTO have continued to ramp up their drilling program in the Permian to 55 rigs with at least another 20 rigs in other basins. (Source: Exxon Mobil Corp.)

The desert city of Midland, Texas, is generally a poor barometer by which to measure booms, busts or even the passing of seasons. Year-round, the landscape alternates between the rugged chaparral brush and the 11 evergreen golf courses catering to the city. But something has caught in the air in Midland, like ragweed or discontent.

Grumbles from Uber drivers notwithstanding, it’s difficult to divine any outward sign of either good or bad times in the oil business. As it has for decades, the West Texas metropolis of 140,000 souls faithfully orbits the industry, the source of its life, regardless.

“There’s a slowdown going on in the Permian,” Pioneer Natural Resources Co. CEO Scott Sheffield told Oil and Gas Investor, “while oil majors are increasing production.”

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Darren Barbee

Darren Barbee is senior editor for Oil and Gas Investor magazine.