The greater Permian Basin accounts for nearly 40 percent of all oil production in the United States and nearly 15 percent of its natural gas production. However, the pandemic hit the region hard, in September 2020, the Permian was only producing at oil at 4.2 mmbd 12% below their March 2020 output. Natural gas production didn't far much better. Production for the commodity dropped 14% from March 2020 to May 2020 producing only 14.8 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd). The good news is, these lows were all hit over a year ago.
Since the drop in production, the region's oil producers have recovered and continue to improve. Production in the Permian Basin is forecasted to steadily rise and reach more than 4,900 thousand barrels per day (mbd) and 18,000 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) of crude oil and natural gas production, respectively, by mid-2022.
Looking into companies benefitting from this recovery, you would naturally look at the household names.
Oil producers like Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY), and XTO Energy (a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM)) and Permian natural gas giants Diamondback (NASDAQ:FANG), Cimarex (NYSE:XEC), Apache (NASDAQ:APA) and EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG) are also set to benefit from the region's recovery.
However, did you know the largest oil producer in the region is actually an independent? Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) became the region's top producer in early 2021.
The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis released a study recently that shows independent oil and gas producers were leading the Permian in production. The study analyzed data from 2018 to 2020, when oil and gas operations in the Permian saw record growth credited to the expanded use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, finding smaller producers hold the most productive wells in the region.
"Both Chevron and ExxonMobil see the Permian as the future of their domestic upstream growth," Trey Cowan, oil and gas analyst at the Institute, commented, "But the reality is that they are not likely to overtake independent producers at their current pace."
Another independent producer in the region using cutting-edge mining techniques to quickly bring their wells to production is Allied Energy Corp. (OTCMKTS:AGYP).
Since the spring of 2021, AGYP has brought 5 wells online. The company has several projects in the region and is focused on reworking proven wells, which helps the company move quicker than most upstream companies.
Independents like AGYP and PXD may be the best bets for investors looking to benefit from the Permian Basin's recovery.
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