U.S. shale players are opting to finish what they’ve started, sending the number of drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs) down to levels not seen since November 2017, data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) show.

The activity has kept frac crews busy in recent months, but a slowdown appears imminent in the months ahead—unless more rigs are added to drill and complete more new wells.

“Indicators of new well drilling in the United States remain subdued,” the EIA said Aug. 25 before referring to the latest Baker Hughes oil rig count of 405 rigs. Though the rig count is nearly double what it was a year ago, the EIA called it “historically low” compared to times of similar oil prices. “If drilling activity doesn’t increase, then well completions and production may be limited as the inventory of DUCs continues to fall.”

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