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As U.S. oil production ramps up, major players look to increase drilling

Ed Schipul
Creative Commons

U.S. oil production is on the rise once again, opening the door for another showdown with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

As The Denver Post reports, in just over nine months, the number of U.S. drilling rigs has grown 91 percent to 602. Meanwhile, production has gained more than 550,000 barrels a day since the summer, rising above 9 million barrels a day for the first time since April.

And as shale returns with a vengeance, ExxonMobil and other major oil groups are joining the rush. It’s a new reality that OPEC and Russia – the main forces behind production cuts approved last year as a solution to re-balance the global market – are starting to acknowledge.

Exxon agreed to pay as much $6.6 billion in an acquisition designed to more than double the company’s footprint in the Permian basin of west Texas and New Mexico.

And more powerful fracking techniques are yielding more barrels than ever. The average Permian well now gushes 668 barrels per day, compared to just 98 barrels four years ago, according to government data.