With the cost of crude hovering just lower than $55 per barrel, drilling activity has recently increased across the United States.  Shale companies have added more than 90 drilling rigs since November 2016.

 

The downturn of the past several years hit service companies particularly hard.  However, the costs to hire experience drilling crews and supplies (e.g., sand for fracking and other industry drilling equipment) has jumped in price 10-20% through the winter months.

 

Drilling in shale areas (i.e., principally Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and North Dakota) has proven profitable when oil trades at $55 per barrel or higher.  But the price increases noted above could affect the break-even point for shale drilling.